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Motivating Employees in a Small Business

A small business typically has less than a hundred employees, and maintaining a personal rapport and warm relationship with each or at least, most of them, is not such a difficult task.

In the USA a small business can have up to 1500 employees. In other countries a business this size is an SME and it’s this sector that has the lion’s share of all employees typically making up near 98% of the workforce.

Whether your business has a handful of staff or hundreds to manage the challenge of keeping them motivated on their tasks is fundamentally the same. With fewer workers, it’s easier to maintain a personal rapport and warm relationship with each person directly.

When your business has more staff, you need to delegate the task to line managers, but also make sure there are regular group meetings so your own enthusiasm for the business gets ample opportunity to shine through.

Motivating employees implies using all the available methods and resources to persuade a worker to put in his best effort and excel at his job. This will augur well for the business and if all the employees are able to excel, the business will thrive towards higher success levels.

Some tips that help in motivating employees in a small business include:

  • Praise and positive vibes- maintaining a positive attitude and never hesitating in praising a job well done, are two things that cost nothing but yield excellent results. They motivate the employee like nothing else can since he gets a heightened sense of self-esteem, and a feel-good sense that pushes to do better. The team effort that shows good results deserves applause and praise for the whole team and small rewards help to motivate and keep up their spirits.
  • Job satisfaction and a happy work environment-both these have been found to improve employee productivity. It is for the employer to put in his best effort to create a happy work environment. A contented employee i.e. the job provides them with what they need will have the highest output.
  • Keeping communication channels open- While the employer-employee relationship is not equal, they can maintain a close relationship, being able to share each other’s problems, communicating and listening and helping each other out. The effort of the employer in this has to be more.
  • Preventing frustration and stagnation from setting in- Keeping employees motivated is a constant challenge for the employer. He has to ensure that employees rotate in different divisions so that they learn and feel a sense of accomplishment, are constantly ready to meet new challenges and take on new responsibilities, feel that there is room to grow in the organization and that they have the ears of the management. If on the other hand, the employee feels disliked, de-motivated, with no prospects of advancement, and dreads negative feedback all the time, this is bound to reflect in his work and will never show good performance.
  • A non-threatening atmosphere- many employers feel that a threat about throwing out an employee will push him to do better. They could not be more wrong. Threats are negative and work more as deterrents rather than motivators. The employer must use positive methods rather than negative ones.
  • Opportunities to break the monotony-while there is no denying the fact that the workplace is meant for work alone, a brief break to recharge, relax and unwind can make the employee motivated to improve his output in the next few hours. Hence if the office or workplace could have a recreational room, where a tired employee can just unwind, it will bring a lot of enthusiasm into work, showing that the employer cares, and bring out the best in the employees as well.

A thoughtful word and a gentle smile from an employer can work wonders for an employee’s morale and motivation levels. However, more leadership is required when your staff are remote working. In the USA up to 70 per cent of all employees work from home or somewhere away from the office two days a week. To manage their focus and motivation to maintain peak task productivity is achieved with communication and task management tools. Use video conferencing to engage with groups ideally every week on the same day and at the same time. Anyone not in the office can join the meeting remotely.

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