Small Business Mythbusters: How to Motivate Employees
Myth 1: Money is the only effective way to motivate employees to improve performance.
Raises and bonuses certainly are ways businesses can motivate employees to work harder and better. But, cash isn’t the only way to encourage workers to improve their performance. Some studies have shown it is not even the best way. Helping employees feel satisfied can create a more fulfilled and productive workforce, while also saving money.
Challenge and Train Them
Bored workers are less effective workers. A business owner or supervisor can motivate staffers by giving them a variety of tasks that allow them to learn new skills. Employees can also take on “stretch assignments,” in which high goals are set. Coaching and cross-training programs can be effective, too. The more employees learn while they are in one job, the better-prepared they will be to take on higher positions within the company. This, of course, benefits both the worker and the business.
Make Them Feel Appreciated
If an employee is doing a particularly good job, verbal or written recognition can lead to continued strong performance. Something as simple as a “Thank You” email or note, or perhaps an announcement in a company meeting, can make an employee feel appreciated.
Give Them Some Autonomy
An employee who feels micromanaged may also be less motivated. Everyone wants to think they are trusted to do their jobs well. While it’s important they understand their goals, workers should be allowed to reach them in their own way (within reason). Their methods may even turn out to be better than long-established company ways of doing things.
Create Winning Teams
As much as employees can feel motivated by self-sufficiency, they also may thrive by working on strong teams. Assigning team projects or arranging group activities can help foster a collaborative spirit that energizes the workforce.
Align Their Goals with the Company’s
Workers want to feel they are a key part of their company’s success. If they understand how their individual goals are tied to the business’s overall performance, they are more likely to feel like important players.
Talk to Them
Employees don’t want to work in a vacuum. Holding regular company meetings where issues affecting the business (both good and bad) are discussed can help them understand how the company is performing and which goals are—and are not—being met.
An employee suggestion program lets them know their input is valued. Employee satisfaction surveys also allow workers to have a voice, while giving business owners insight into company morale.
Life circumstances and family responsibilities can make it difficult for some employees to work a 9-5 schedule. Some workers may also require a remote working situation. Whenever possible, a business should allow for flexibility so employees can enjoy a healthy work-life balance.
Give Them Time Off
Businesses should consider paid time off a necessity, not a luxury. Burnt-out employees are not beneficial to any company. Businesses should develop time-off programs that allow workers to recharge, both physically and mentally.
Employees should feel they are being treated fairly compared to their coworkers. All supervisors should be trained to apply company policies with consistency.
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