As a small business owner, you a re not just a service provider, but also a manager of people. Your employees are the engine that keeps your business chugging along, and their accomplishments are very much tied to the accomplishments of your business. So how do you ensure that as their boss you are doing all you can to facilitate their success? Here are a few tips on how to energize your employees and motivate them to strive for greatness.
1. Create a Great Work Environment
The habitat in which your employees work can have a substantial effect on the quality of their work. This includes the actual physical place that they work, as well as your company culture. If either of these elements are sub-standard, you are going to have a hard time getting your employees to take pride in their work. On the other hand, if you provide both an exceptional, organized workspace, and your business’s culture is well defined and well implemented, then you can bet that any employee worth having will be more than happy to go beyond the call and reach for the stars. It’s all about leading by example. Show your employees what the standard is as far as presentation and creative drive if you want them to follow suit.
2. Foster teamwork.
Everyone wants a purpose, a directive, and not just some mundane task list. Make sure to show your employees how whatever they are doing fits in to the grand scheme of things. Establish an overall goal for your entire team, so that everyone feels like they are working together for a shared cause. This kind of big picture thinking will help foster teamwork, and will give each person more incentive to get the tasks they we’re assigned done quickly and well, as they will feel the added pressure of the rest of their team depending on them. Think of your business like an army, and you are the general. Everyone occupies their respective posts, but everyone is fighting for the same cause and the same glory.
3. Reward Hard Work
To paraphrase the book “The Art of War”, its really imperative that you show your employees some love when they deserve it, and I don’t mean just a little pat on the back. Giving an employee who has done exemplary work a solid bonus is a great way to show that employee that you value their efforts, while also dangling a perpetual carrot in front your other employees showing them what they could have if they step up their game a bit. While money is a powerful incentive, you can also think of more creative, personalized ways to reward an over-achiever. Perhaps you know they have a rather hectic schedule and would appreciate some more flexible hours. Or maybe they have they’ve been looking to advance within the company, but need some technical training, which you could provide to them for free. Whatever you think up, just make sure that they feel compensated and appreciated. You want this great performance to be a repeat performance, so don’t hesitate to make it known that your happy with them.
4. Provide learning and growth opportunities.
You want your employees to be excited, to be ambitious, and to be challenged. If they aren’t they tend to get bored, and that boredom will be easily identifiable by both you, and your customers. So make sure to not hesitate to change things up once in awhile. When you interview employees for a job, take time to ask about areas of interest. Like in Mad Men, when Don saw something in his receptionist Peggy and gave her the opportunity to become a copywriter, you should look for ways employees an chance to learn new skills and develop their special interests. It may just turn out one of the most effective things you can do to motivate them, and employees learning new skills can’t be too bad for the bottom line.
Hope this helps! Until next time!