Tips for keeping employees motivated at a small business

For a small business owner who doesn’t stand to benefit from the economies of scale that  larger counterparts do, maximizing the efficiency of operations, resources and employees is essential to succeeding in the marketplace. However, it can be difficult to keep employees fresh and motivated without substantially increasing their remuneration packages. Because small business owners don’t always have the financial flexibility to do so, they often have to get creative in coming up with new motivational tactics. Here are a few tips for keeping employees motivated, so that owners can place their focus on other important issues such as marketing strategies for small business.

Reward performance, not position
Employees often cite perks as being just as important to their overall well-being and happiness at work as their salaries. However, perks are often doled out based on positions, like the company vice president receiving a favorable parking spot. Instead, Inc. Magazine recommends instituting a system whereby perks are earned through individual or team performances instead of job titles. This ensures that lower-level employees remain incentivized, knowing that their work is judged on merit instead of hierarchical order. Additionally, this eliminates the issue of people striving for perks in order to achieve a certain position, which may not always be realistic.

When the company wins, everyone wins
Employees enjoy feeling like valued members of the team who contribute greatly toward the overall success of the sum of the parts. The reciprocal should be true as well, where companies recognize when an employee has truly made a significant difference toward its bottom line. FOX Small Business notes that allowing workers to share in the overall success of the business – through stock options or performance-based incentives – may help them develop a stronger interest in the company, ultimately boosting overall productivity.

Game on
A recent trend that is increasing in popularity among businesses is gamification, which basically means reducing business to a game format. This could include a point system, with results prominently displayed on a scoreboard for all to see. Everyone loves playing games and, more importantly, people enjoy winning them. Setting up such a system across the entire company promotes competition, increases motivation and rewards winners.

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