How to motivate staff in your small business

Motivated staff are one of the most crucial ingredients contributing to the success of any business. Motivated staff means it will be much more likely that you will have satisfied customers. So what can you do as a manager and small business owner to motivate your staff?
  1. Treat your staff with respect and courtesy – It’s the small stiff that counts….. Greeting your people in the morning; taking an interest in what they get up to outside of work; remembering when their birthday is; thanking them for their efforts. Your staff are people, and not just workers. Yes, they are paid to do a job and you need to monitor that they are doing it properly. But they still deserve to be treated with respect – and if you show that you care for them, then they will care for your customers
  2. Be a positive role model – As the leader, your actions and energy set the tone in your workplace, so make sure you are in the right state of mind when you get to work. Try to switch off from any personal issues and focus on what needs to be done that day at work. If you don’t display some enthusiasm for the business and what you are doing, then why should your staff?
  3. Focus on improvement, rather than blame – We all make mistakes at some time. When your employee makes a mistake, do you reprimand them harshly? Or do you take them aside and discuss with them what went wrong, why it went wrong and what’s needed to make sure it doesn’t happen again?
  4. Keep your staff informed – People like to know what’s going on, so keep them updated about what’s happening in the business. Whether it’s new products in the pipeline, or new customers, or changes that are planned to your systems – keep your staff in the picture. A brief meeting scheduled regularly, perhaps at the beginning or end of every week, where you discuss with your team what’s happening and check whether they are seeing any problems that need to be addressed.
  5. Find out what’s important to your staff – People are motivated by different things in the workplace. What motivates you may not necessarily be so important to some of your staff. Some of the things that people look for out of work includes ….
  • Job security
  •  Good salary
  •  Fringe benefits
  • Pleasant and comfortable working environment
  • Interesting work that offers challenge
  • Recognition and appreciation for good work
  • Cooperative and friendly working relationships
  • A sense of personal achievement
  • Being consulted and participating in some decision making
  • Opportunities for promotion and advancement
  • Opportunities to develop and learn new skills
  • Flexible working arrangements
  • A manager or supervisor who is fair, approachable and supportive. There are plenty of practical people management tips at Management of staff
So in closing, you can’t assume that staff will remain motivated. Of course when you first recruited staff into your business, you were probably looking for people who were self-motivated, goal oriented and had shown they had demonstrated some initiative.

But even with self-motivated staff, you must still manage them correctly. If you start taking their efforts for granted, if you fail to provide a good working environment and if you start paying them less than what they’re worth – then their motivation will drop, and you risk losing their loyalty. 

By the way, concern for your own motivation must go hand-in-hand with thinking about staff motivation. If you ever find yourself struggling with your own motivation – then have a look at Self-Motivation Tips

The entrepreneur's guide to motivating the team

In this short video clip, author Robin Sharma offers some great advice on how to build team spirit and motivation in the workplace ...

If you want some more ideas on how to encourage teamwork in your workplace, have a look at Team Development

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