You’re motivated about your business. You came up with the idea, started the company, made sales, and set small business milestones for the future. You have that passionate fire to keep your business alive and prospering.
Your employees, on the other hand, might not have that same passion. Your employees might simply show up because they’re getting a paycheck. They might not have the same motivation as you to keep your business going.
It’s not enough to have employees who show up to work when they’re told to. You need to have motivated employees that care about their work and the business’s goals. And, having motivated employees will help you reduce employee turnover.
Ways to motivate employees
Knowing how to keep your employees motivated can be difficult. Not all methods will work for all employees. And, some methods are more expensive than others. You need to experiment and figure out what works for your employees. Test out the methods below on your staff to find out the best way to motivate employees.
1. Say thank you
Do you wonder how to motivate employees without money? Saying thank you is a simple and zero-cost example of how to motivate employees in the workplace. Thanking employees acknowledges their work. You can give an employee credit for their hard work or a task they helped you with.
2. Give responsibility
Giving responsibility is another one of the ways to motivate staff. You can give your employees something to take ownership of. When your employees are in charge of something, they should feel more protective and thoughtful toward the tasks. Employees will feel more motivated to put their best work into the tasks. And, when employees have responsibility, they will feel more valuable to your business.
3. Be transparent
How do you motivate employees if they don’t know what your business’s goals are? You need to show the big picture to your employees. Tell them what the business’s goals are. What are you working toward? What things do you want to achieve? Share both the long-term and short-term goals. It is important to communicate regularly with your employees. When they know what the business’s goals are, employees might feel more motivated to help out.
4. Offer incentives
Some employees are motivated when there is a carrot dangling in front of them. They need a monetary or another incentive to keep them moving forward. Incentives might include bonus pay, gift cards, or extra time off. Be careful though, there are special rules for the taxation of gift cards to employees. Offering incentives can be an expensive method of motivating employees. Setting a business budget can prevent you from spending too much.
5. Host events
You can throw parties or host other events to encourage and reward your employees. You can host employee-only events at your business, or you can take employees out for an after-work get together. Infrequent events, such as holiday parties, count as de minimis employee gifts. This means you do not have to include the events in employee income. However, frequent employee functions might not count as de minimis fringe benefits, and you will have to count them as employee compensation.
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6. Recognize individuals
Ways to motivate your employees that only recognize a group might not motivate everyone. Some employees require individual recognition. Make sure you recognize individuals, not just a whole team. Tell your individual employees that you value the work they do. You might do this privately or praise an individual in front of a group.
7. Learn interests
As a small business owner, you have an advantage over other businesses. You can more easily get to know all your employees. You can find out what interests your employees inside and outside of work. Learn their goals and the things they want to do. Congratulate your employees on life events. When you get to know your employees, you can customize your methods of motivation. Employees are also more likely to care about their work because you care about them.
8. Honor balance
Remember that your employees have a life outside of their jobs. They have family members and hobbies. Allow your employees to have a work-life balance. Don’t schedule them too much. Encourage employees to use their time off. Don’t pester employees outside of their scheduled hours. When employees can enjoy life outside of work, they will be more rested and motivated when they come to work.
9. Take input
Regularly ask your employees for input. What would they change about their jobs? What things could improve your company? Many employees have ideas of how to make things better, but they might not say them unless you ask. When employees have more of a say in their job, they will be more motivated to do their best work.
10. Hear employees
Listen to your employees. It’s not enough for you to take input from them. You have to listen to the input. Hear what your employees have to say and what they care about. If you know their cares and concerns, you can develop more targeted and effective ways to motivate employees.
Be available to your employees. Don’t close yourself in an office where your workers can’t connect with you. When your employees feel heard, they will be more willing to advance toward your business’s goals.
This article is updated from its original publication date of August 19, 2011.