Keeping employees motivated in a small business environment can sometimes be challenging. Small businesses don’t have the big budgets that larger firms have to spend on incentives and team-building exercises. In addition, employees in a small business are often required to fulfill more than just one role. This is because small businesses cannot afford separate employees for various areas of expertise. They need employees to be able to multi-task in order to remain efficient in their operations. These things therefore create a whole new set of challenges for employers in terms of keeping employees motivated. Here are some ideas that you can implement in your small business.
- Clearly Define Your Expectations
When employing new team members, brief them properly on the business and how you operate. Clarifying your expectations up front can help employees from feeling disillusioned further down the line. Let them know what their core role will be but also discuss other areas of the business that they may be required to help out in from time to time. Share some of your passion for the business as well as the vision that you have for its growth and how they fit into that. When you make employees feel that they have an important role to play in the business, they will feel more valued. When they buy into the vision you have for the business, they will feel self-motivated to do the best they can to help the business grow. Rather than just seeing themselves as an employee, they can see themselves as part of an exciting project and business opportunity.
- Be Reasonable in Terms of Working Hours
Even though working hours are regulated by law, many corporate companies have a culture that if you don’t work overtime, you won’t get ahead. Often the overtime is not rewarded financially so the employees never really benefit. You will have happier and more productive employees if you stick to reasonable working hours. When employees do work overtime for special projects, take the time to acknowledge their efforts and thank them. If the business can’t afford to reward them financially, offer them a day off or be flexible when they need time off to attend to family matters. Letting employees know that you understand their needs and appreciate their efforts will go a long way to keeping them motivated.
- Simplify the Work Process
Nobody likes to get bogged down under paperwork and administration. Today, with the many software systems available, it is possible to run an almost paperless office. Put systems in place that help employees fulfill their tasks and responsibilities more efficiently. You may have an automated pricing system that can help them get quotes out more efficiently. You could have a customer relationship management system that helps everyone in the company keep on top of sales and client management. Another system that helps to improve office efficiency is online faxing. Online faxing works off a fax server and allows faxes to be sent directly from the employer’s personal computer. This saves time for the person sending the fax and saves money for the business owner. The online faxing system can also help you improve your customer service levels.
- Reward Work Efforts
Salaries and wages are often expected by employees and therefore not really seen as reward for their work. Unfortunately, many employers feel that a paycheck is thanks enough and that they do not need to acknowledge work efforts in any other way. However, often affirmation or a simple word of appreciation can go much further in terms of motivating employees. It doesn’t have to be a huge award ceremony but something that acknowledges their efforts publicly will make employees feel that they are achieving a level of success. Not everyone has the aspirations to be a business owner or top management but many people want to feel that they are doing well at their job. When employees feel successful, they tend to put more effort into their work and are more motivated to do well.
- Provide Employees with Opportunities to Grow
Sending employees on training courses benefits both your employees and the business. You will be empowering your employees and at the same time bringing new skills and knowledge into the workplace. When you train employees, you are saying that you see potential in them that is worth developing. This can help to keep them motivated in the workplace and always on the lookout for opportunities to learn.