Staff Motivation in Small Business can Make Huge Difference
Maintaining staff motivation in a small business can be difficult. Every successful business operation relies on having a motivated, loyal and productive workforce. And, contrary to popular belief, it’s not all about the money. More often than not, keeping your employees motivated is about the little things – lots of them.
Small businesses have the advantage here. Not tied down by a ton of corporate policies and processes, you can be more personal and flexible in how you interact with your staff. From formal team building initiatives to simply showing that you value your team, take a look at these five ways to improve staff motivation, reduce staff turnover and, hopefully, work together as one big happy family.
1. Consider flexible working
Flexible working has made many businesses re-evaluate how, where and when their staff work. Is the 9-5 really necessary for the business model, or practical in this day and age? Could people work flexible hours, or from home?
Many companies are harnessing the benefits of advanced digital technology through superfast broadband, video conferencing and smartphones to manage human resources. What about using online rostering software and democratic shift swapping methods to allow staff to decide between themselves who will be on duty at any given time? There are few constraints nowadays to accommodating all sorts of flexible staff arrangements.
Giving your employees a degree of control over their own work-life balance sends the signal that you don’t just see them as workers; you respect their need for a private life too. Staff motivation can be greatly increased when employees are given the power to power to affect their work schedule.
2. Friendly Conversation
Manners maketh man, they used to say. Being nice to people doesn’t cost anything – on the contrary, in terms of staff motivation it will reap real rewards. Get into the habit of saying ‘good morning’ to people individually, asking how their day is going or whether they enjoyed their recent day off/evening out/holiday.
Taking an interest in your employees as individuals beyond the daily grind and stopping for a chat now and again can make a huge difference in terms of staff motivation. Getting to know you on a more personal level helps your employees form a stronger psychological attachment to their work as well as the company overall. Not a bad return for a few nice words now and again.
3. Listen, Appreciate, Nurture
Everybody wants to be appreciated for the contribution they make in the workplace. If your staff doesn’t feel valued, they’re not going to be motivated to perform to their full ability, or stick around for long. Research has shown that happy workers are 12% more productive – which is a tangible financial reward for your company. It literally pays to show your appreciation for your team’s hard work and achievements.
This approach goes for the individual as well as your team as a whole. It’s important to recognize individual achievements, being receptive to particular needs or circumstances and respond with flexibility, so that everyone has the opportunity to shine. You can support this by offering incentives for reaching performance targets and the opportunity for career development and progression within the business.
4. Be Inclusive
Where possible, involve your workforce in company decisions, at least on a consultative level. Take on board input and suggestions for projects such as office relocations, new team structures or product development to make everyone feel valued as part of the team. You’ll find that sometimes the best ideas come from the most unlikely quarters.
Have an open door policy and be approachable to your staff if they need a friendly ear. If anyone has any concerns, what can you do to help? Tackle the problem before it spills over to other staff and demotivates the team.
5. Build a Team Environment
Working as a team is beneficial in so many ways. From sharing a sense of purpose and belonging to building friendships and trusting relationships with the people you work with, a great team can move mountains.
Invest in team building opportunities whenever they present themselves. Take it outside of the workspace and arrange for staff lunches, Friday drinks, a corporate away day or team building activities. The trick is to strengthen the bond that you have at work and foster an environment that isn’t all work and no play. That way, everyone has the motivation to be part of the team and give 100%.