How to Motivate Your Small Business Employees

Small business owners are constantly striving to grow their business and make customers happy. There's another key element to boosting your business - employee motivation.

As a small business owner, you should treat your employees as well as your customers. Whatever the strategy, small business owners will get an ROI when customers encounter your happy and motivated staff. Here are some easy ways to start motivating.

Define and share your small business culture

What is small business culture? It can mean many things like your defined “brand,” a motto, values, behaviors or even uniforms. Culture is a set of attitudes, beliefs, behaviors and customs that are ingrained in the members of your team. Small business culture will determine what kinds of customers are attracted to your business and the level of service provided. Prepare a document that outlines these areas and share it with new employees. Plan a presentation at least once a year to go over the culture and ask all employees for feedback. 

Be a cheerleader

Encouraging high performance can be as simple as rewarding it. Programs like employee-of-the-month, catered lunches or other initiatives that reward and recognize make workers feel more satisfied. A traveling trophy for high-performers can encourage employees to have fun while working harder and smarter.

Turn on your ears

Listening to your employees and increasing communication is a no-cost motivation program available to every small business employer. Many small business owners have little money earmarked for formal incentive programs. However, simply upping face time can make employees feel more comfortable approaching with workplace issues. In addition to increasing job satisfaction, an open line of communication can cut down on errors.

Invest in training

Use a combination of in-house training and outside seminars to improve your employee’s skill set and enhance workplace performance. Supervisors and employees who have advanced knowledge in key areas can be tapped to mentor and train others. One-on-one coaching and outside training provides a stimulating break for a small business team. Training is a win-win for everyone involved and can foster loyalty and retention.

Provide a pleasant work environment

A clean, calm office that's freshly painted, has pretty plants and uses thoughtful decoration provides an environment where an employee will feel comfortable. Ergonomics are important too. Make sure there are comfortable chairs and plenty of desk space. Temperature should be regulated so employees don't have to wear a parka or bring their own fans to work. A casual dress day can also boost morale. If you're lucky enough to have an appropriate space, allowing employees to bring their pets to work can increase happiness all around.

Respond to feedback

Even the most resourceful employee may sometimes feel that their business know-how is unheard or unappreciated. Encourage feedback and act on their suggestions. This has two valuable effects: you'll have more motivated employees and the ability to leverage feedback in ways that can improve your business.

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