Happy workers are productive workers. But how do you motivate a group of employees to work hard and help your business grow? Luckily, motivating your employees doesn't take a lot of flare or even a lot of resources. In fact, it could require you to just schedule a few minutes on your schedule to say "hi."
As a small business owner, you need to maximize revenue and increase productivity, which means you need your staff to work as efficiently as possible. To get you off to a good start, follow these top ways to motivate your employees.
1. Communicate Better
If you're nothing more than a face on a newsletter or a name on an email, what motivation will your employees have to meet your goals? The importance of employee communications is often overlooked. You should communicate with them frequently, and actually speak with them face-to-face. Your staff needs to know they are valued, and communicating in person with them is the best way to show your appreciation for their hard work.
2. Be An Example
You can't expect your employees to work hard or behave the way you want them to if you don't lead by example. If you show your excitement about the company's goals, your employees will get on-board and work to achieve those goals. Good moods are always infectious -- especially in the workplace.
3. Empower Them
Give your employees more of a say in how they do their job. Ask for their input and get suggestions on how they can improve their performance. Most employees have ideas about how they can be more efficient, but they may not share them with you unless you specifically ask them. Use regular employee reviews to discuss these improvements, but don't just ask. If you really want to empower and motivate your employees, you need to take their advice and implement it. You should also give them the authority to make their own decisions, such as providing service for a client up to a certain point without needing to get prior approval.
4. Offer Opportunities For Advancement
Your employees are more motivated when they know they're working towards something. If they think there's no opportunity for advancement, they don't have much to work for. Nobody wants to work a dead-end job. Motivate your employees by offering training that gives them the skills they need to climb their career ladder. Grooming young employees to move on to better opportunities is valuable to you as well because it enables you to build your company's reputation as a great place to work.
5. Provide Incentives
Incentives are always motivation boosters -- and they don't have to be expensive. You can offer incentives like an extra paid day off, gift cards, tickets to the movies, or other low-cost ways to show your appreciation. Of course, cash rewards are always good incentives as well.
Motivation plays a key role in keeping your best employees, too. If you don't consistently motivate your employees, you're sure to experience a higher amount of turnover. Learn more about what you can do to motivate and retain your employees by getting a copy of Practical Tools to Manage Costly Employee Turnover.
Margaret Jacoby, SPHR, is the founder and president of MJ Management Solutions,a human resources consulting firm that provides small businesses with a wide range of virtual and onsite HR solutions to meet their immediate and long-term needs. From ensuring legal compliance to writing customized employee handbooks to conducting sexual harassment training, businesses depend on our expertise and cost-effective human resources services to help them thrive. This article first appeared on the MJ Management Solutions blog.