Happy Employees = A Happy Brand: Keeping Your Employees Motivated
If you’re a small business owner that plans on making it to the big time, you’ll need a staff beneath to support you…a staff that is consistently motivated and dedicated to your business and your brand. Of course, in order to get these characteristics out of your staff, you need to be able to keep your employees happy.
This is more than just paying them well. This comes down to the way they are treated and the way they perceive your business and goals. It also has a lot to do with your own behaviors. If your employees don’t see much joy or hope in the way you approach your business, they are going to reflect that in their personality and their performance.
So, aside from grandiose pay raises, what are some of the other ways to make sure your employees remain happy and loyal to your business and brand? Glad you asked. Consider these seven tips the next time you sit down to analyze the ways in which you can improve the working environment and practices of your employees.
Remain Friendly at All Times: Some articles may tell you to be friends first when it comes to employees. This may be a mistake though. Don’t let your employees confuse a working relationship with an everyday friendship; if this happens, you may have problems establishing a leadership role in the office.
But what you can do as a business owner and boss is to make sure your employees know that you value them as more than just production units. You can do this in multiple ways:
- Give them new roles to test out other skills. This shows them that you want to see what other things they are good at. It also lets them know that advancement within your company is always possible and that they will not be stuck with the same tasks and jobs day in and day out.
- Organize activities for you and your employees. Maybe everyone in the office clocks out early one day to go bowling or to grab an early dinner. Even just getting out of the office to chat over a cup of coffee can do wonders for keeping your employees motivated.
- Include them in your social life. If your family is having a Christmas party, make sure to invite your employees. Let them know that you value them enough to let them in on your personal life.
Don’t Hover: Let your employees know that you trust them. When you give them instructions, do it only once. Do not hammer points home over and over again—this tends to make them feel inferior and not competent. Nothing makes an adult feel more like a child that being constantly reminded over and over again about the most trivial of things.
What this means is that you need to trust your employees. This, of course, can be difficult with a new hire. But you have to keep in mind that most people perform better when there isn’t always someone looking over their shoulder. Treat your employees with respect and let them know that you trust them. Give them a task to do and don’t bother them about it again until they have completed it (unless, of course, there is a looming deadline).
Keep Them Included in Off-Site Business Matters: The worth that an employee feels about themselves can usually be seen in the level of work they produce. In order to let your employees clearly see that their contributions are vital to the success of your business, try including them in business affairs that may happen off-site. Some ideas:
Take one or two of your employees with you the next time you are scheduled to meet with a potential client in an off-site meeting. This keeps them in the loop on possible new clients as well as lets them know that you see them as a vital cog in the way your business is run.
Include them in trips to conferences and conventions. This is not only a great way to make them feel involved and an important part of the team, but it can also help them learn more about your industry that they may not have learned in the office.
Give Challenges and Rewards: Everyone likes to be tested every now and then. When it comes to your employees, set goals and deadlines for certain accomplishments. For instance, “If we can wrap up this marketing project by Thursday afternoon, we’re taking Friday off.” Or maybe something like, “Whoever can bring in the most new clients next month gets a $200 bonus.”
These challenges can range from fun and exciting to overly competitive. Whatever you do, try to make the challenges and goals obtainable. No matter how fun a challenge might be, if the end result is next to impossible, you are instilling a sense of failure in your employees.
Keep them challenged and happy, but most of all let them know that you appreciate their hard work by offering rewards.
Give Recognition on a Consistent Basis: Some businesses give out end-of-year awards to employees that have performed well. This all fine and good, but hard working employees deserve special attention more than once a year.
As a business owner, it is your responsibility to let your workers know that you have noticed their hard work and great attitude. Even if it’s something as simple as an e-mail that acknowledges their hard work, take the time to recognize them. Nothing will drive an employee to work harder and remain happy within your business than consistent recognition from the source of his paycheck.
Get Creative With Bonuses: While you’ll be hard pressed to find an employee that is unhappy with cash bonuses, try to think outside of the box. Try doling out rewards and bonuses throughout the year in some small way. This is an area where you can get creative and customize rewards to an employee’s interests.
If you have an employee that likes baseball that has been kicking butt and taking names for the last few weeks, why not reward him with tickets to a baseball game? Or if you have a female employee that has drastically improved over the past few weeks, why not give her a gift certificate to the local spa?
When it comes to these sorts of bonuses, never plan them or schedule them. The element of surprise and unexpected recognition is all part of the motivation process—and is something that your employees won’t soon forget.
Don’t Brag: Never present yourself as being superior to your employees. If money is tight and you can’t afford the bonuses or little extras that your employees deserve, don’t come into work with new clothes all of the time. Also, if your business is in this situation, your employees probably don’t want to hear about your weekend on the lake in your new speedboat.
Don’t get us wrong…you have worked hard for the rewards and achievements your business has afforded you, but that does not give you the right to flaunt those riches in front of your employees…not if you want them to remain motivated and happy under your wing, that is.
Keeping employees isn’t very hard, so long as you take the time to recognize the work that they do and reward them for it when you can. More than that, you need to treaty your employees as equals and not some pompous tyrant. All too often, business owners get caught up in how their business has gotten successful and overlook the contributions of their employees.
Don’t be that guy.
Always be sure to let your employees know that their hard work and determination is just as important as your responsibilities when it comes to running a successful business.