As a business owner, it’s not just my responsibility to make budget decisions, sign paychecks, improve production and increase sales. It is also my job to motivate my employees. I’m tasked to push them to succeed in their individual projects, which drives the success of the business.
The way I see it, the more my employees are able to achieve in a day, the better off the entire business is; which is beneficial to everyone’s bottom line.
How to motivate your employees
Motivating your employees is nearly as important (possibly more) than knowing how to run a business. As long as you have the right people in place and motivate them to do their jobs properly, your business will soar.
So how do you motivate people? Here are a few of my most successful secrets.
1. Communicate and listen
The most important aspect of any relationship is communication. This principle doesn’t change once you step into the office. If you want people to do something for you, ensure to communicate the task properly. Unfortunately, many leaders tend to voice demands without realizing people react more favorably to requests and suggestions. Your employees want to feel as though their opinions and ideas matter. As the old saying goes, “Two heads are better than one.”
2. Take time to train employees
Motivation isn’t just about being a cheerleader for your employees. It’s also about making sure your team understands the demands of their jobs and are given the necessary resources to do them well. It may seem time-consuming, but time spent on trial and error is costly. Empower your employees to master skills with proper training.
3. Use proven management techniques
As the CEO of a small company, I often find myself pulled in a million different directions each day. I don’t always have the time to personally motivate my employees. This is where proper management comes into play. If your business has a higher turnover rate, look at your management style. Make sure to lead your employees, not simply use them as a means to an end. Hiring and training cost much more than retaining happy employees.
4. Recognize accomplishments
Pay attention to the successes of your employees. Recognize and appreciate their accomplishments. An employee who doesn’t pull their own weight never goes unnoticed under a manager’s scrutiny, but unfortunately, good employees often do.
When good, hardworking and honest employees feel they are overlooked and unappreciated, one of two things will likely happen. They will either stop producing high-quality, or they will leave for a new job in hopes to receive the recognition they deserve.
5. Pay it forward
While a few words of appreciation do go a long way, keep in mind that people work first for themselves and their families, and then for you. To retain truly spectacular employees, it’s helpful to show your gratitude in a tangible way. Bonuses, paid time off, flexible hours, the ability to work remotely (if possible), and — the holy grail — pay raises, are all tangible signs of appreciation.
6. Be professional
Professionalism is the cornerstone of a healthy work environment and great company culture. As a business owner, the tone of the company starts with you. If you exhibit unprofessional and disrespectful behavior toward your staff, it’s unlikely you will receive respect and professionalism in return. This is one of the greatest motivational tools at your disposal. It is also the easiest to wield. Treat your team as professionals, and they will likely act as such.
7. Make their work fun
From one business owner to another, this is important and fundamental: make the job fun for your employees. Happy employees need less personalized motivation. Meanwhile, they will inspire and motivate one another when necessary.
Listen to what they enjoy most about their jobs. Find out what they’d like to learn more about, then assign them work in those areas. When people truly love what they do, they’ll be more inclined to complete the task at hand.
In the words of Dwight D. Eisenhower, “Motivation is the art of getting people to do what you want them to do because they want to do it.”
This article has been edited.