You built your company from the ground up and it’s a major part of your life. But to your employees it can be, “just a job”. How do you help your employees feel a commitment to your company?
They may never be as vested in the company as you are, but there are things you can do to encourage your employees to take an active not a passive role in the success of your business.
Here are a few ideas to help motivate your staff:
1. Remember to say “Good Job”. Notice when you’re employees do something well and tell them specifically what you appreciate about what they’ve done. Don’t say it randomly for no reason or it losses it’s value. Knowing they’re appreciated can make a big difference in how a person feels about their work.
2. Offer promotions when they’re earned. It you don’t value your employees they’ll find other employers that will. When you have someone who produces well for your company hold on to them with promotions and earned raises.
3. Give bonuses when you’ve had a profitable year. This is the best incentive for your employees to increase their productivity. They’re not going to work harder just so the CEO can have a better vacation or retirement plan. Show them how they’ll personally benefit from the company’s growth.
4. When money is tight and monetary awards can’t be given, offer an extra day off for outstanding performance.
5. Send your employees to training conferences and seminars. It shows you’re willing to invest in them and their future with your company.
6. Hold an awards show and hand out awards to employees who’ve produced well or come up with innovative ideas.
7. Help your employees plan their goals so they can see a future with your company. When they’re proven their worth in one area, train them in new responsibilities. This helps prevent boredom and presents new challenges.
8. Offer the best benefits possible. With today’s rising insurance costs it’s hard for small businesses to pay for health insurance. But an employee can be wiped out financially if they don’t have insurance when they or a family member have a health issue. Shop around every year and find the best coverage you can afford. Check into government subsidies for small businesses.
9. Offer clear incentives for meeting sales goals or bringing in new customers. Don’t make vague “possible bonus” offers. Tell them if they add a certain amount in sales they’ll receive a certain amount for a bonus. Be concrete in your offer and follow through.
10. A small company can’t compete with a large corporation in health benefits and 401Ks. So try to compete by being more family oriented. Let your employees take a personal day to go see their child play in the little league playoffs. Though you can’t have everyone coming and going at will, you can be more flexible than a large company. You might even consider letting employees work from home a few days a week. This is a big incentive for many parents.
Remember, treat your employees the way you would want to be treated. Listen to their ideas, encourage their creative plans to improve the company, and resist the urge to micro-manage every small detail.