Now that the holidays have come and gone, it’s time to get back to work and start focusing on the new year’s challenges and opportunities. One such challenge (and opportunity) that you may be facing as a small business owner is how you will keep your employees motivated and putting in an above average performance throughout the year- especially if you can not afford to throw a generous benefits package their way.
1. Hire the right people. Having motivated employees really starts here. While skills and experience are certainly important, you want to be as certain as you can be that this person has the personality and passions necessary to work in your business. Keep in mind that you are really trying to build a team. If someone really isn’t a good fit for your business, even if he or she has a resume full of amazing qualifications, then let this person go. It’s not worth it. Even the time and money-consuming task of having to recruit and hire a new person, is a small price to pay to get the right team working for you.
2. Create a clear and compelling vision. But the right team by itself won’t be enough. You need to rally them around a clear and compelling purpose and mission. When everyone is unified around a common goal, big things happen.
3. Give your employees some space. The more authority, wiggle room, and autonomy you can comfortably give your employees, the better. The more they are allowed to make the decisions and take the actions that are needed to get the job done in the best way, the more you will see them rise to the occasion.
4. Provide opportunities for advancement. Static jobs and roles are not only boring, but they are unfulfilling as well. Give your employees opportunities to advance themselves, their skills, and their careers through cross training, continuing educational opportunities, coaching, and feedback. They will be both more well-rounded and more motivated to do their jobs.
5. Randomly recognize achievement. There is a big difference between rewards versus recognition when it comes to motivating your employees. The problem with sticking to a rewards program is that the goal becomes getting the reward itself, while the bigger picture of doing a good job gets lost. A better strategy is the randomly recognize and reward outstanding performance. This keeps your employees focused where it counts while offering come recognition of their efforts.
In short, motivating the employees in your small business is not just about money and rewards. There are a bunch of other factors that can make all the difference between employee motivation being an opportunity instead of a challenge.