It’s currently challenging for small businesses to compete in a world that’s becoming increasingly corporatized and globalized. One of the most critical keys to small business profitability is hiring good employees and keeping them employed for the long term. The best way to do that is to keep your employees feeling motivated and inspired to come to work every day – but how do you do it?
1. Be Proactive About Soliciting Employees’ Opinions on Matters of Importance
Everyone likes to feel as if they have a say in the important day-to-day matters that affect them at work. Don’t ever just make changes or dictate new policies to your people without getting their feedback first.
2. Don’t Overwork Your Employees
Labor shortages are an unfortunate reality in the current environment. It can be tempting to require your employees to work overtime day after day as you try to get everything on your to-do list done. However, this is a recipe for employee burnout. You can’t expect people to work all day, every day for months on end. The more you do this, the lower employee morale will dive.
There may be some employees who need the cash and want to work overtime. If employees are telling you they want the work, it’s okay up to a point to give it to them. However, you also need to recognize that people need days off and personal time. Work-life balance must be a high priority if you hope to retain your employees in the long term.
3. Pay Well, and Be Generous With Benefits
When employees are underpaid and overworked, looking for a new job is going to be a high-priority item on their to-do list. On the other hand, people are rarely in a hurry to leave a good job where they feel they’re being compensated fairly.
4. Invest in Your Employees
You’re likely to find that your better employees will be eager to take on more responsibility and a better job title. It’s therefore prudent to make an effort to invest in your employees and train them to take on more important roles. From an employee engagement perspective, whenever possible, it’s ideal to promote employees from within the company rather than bringing in management talent from other companies.
One of the key advantages of franchise businesses is that many of them offer management training programs and a clear, set-in-stone path for employees to follow if they want to earn promotions. Even if your business isn’t a franchise, you can copy this strategy so your employees can have clear expectations on how to get promoted within your organization.
5. Be Proactive About Giving Credit Where It Is Due
Have you made an effort to figure out what motivates your top performers to strive for achieving success? If you examine the things that motivate them, you’re likely to find that they’re driven by more than just the paycheck you’re offering. Many successful employees are also motivated by status and recognition. If you are proactive about acknowledging their achievements, they are far likelier to stay motivated and keep performing at a high level.
6. Separate Troublemakers from Other Team Members
In some cases, a single employee or a small group of employees may be damaging morale at a small business. One toxic employee can habitually bring down morale through rudeness or negativity to colleagues. In cases like these, it can be effective to assign the toxic employees to work in a capacity where they have less contact with colleagues.
7. Don’t Micromanage Your Employees
Nobody wants a micromanager standing over them while they work. If you delegate a task to an employee, give them the space they need to get it done. You only need to step in if you follow up later and find that tasks you assign aren’t getting done as expected.