We all tend to do our best at work when we experience encouragement from our superiors. Direct managers or supervisors are usually the most influential in this regard. However, many small businesses don’t have the benefit of larger department structures. So, the owner of the business and the manager are one in the same. It’s a challenge to wear many hats, but employee motivation and recognition will help your business grow and succeed.
The top-performing businesses in any category defy the average and go above and beyond. But that’s only possible if the employees who work at those companies take their job responsibilities a step further, whether that means working a few extra hours, helping their coworkers complete tasks, or just being passionate and consistent in their work. This all adds up to more valuable businesses.
Employees need to feel motivated to take these extra steps. But you must take a balanced approach. According to research cited by Harvard Business Review, there may be negative consequences when employees feel pressured to exceed expectations. Employee motivation needs to come from positive sources.
How do you motivate employees the right way? The key is constructive communication between managers and staff. When both parties share a vision for the business and understand each other’s individual needs, it sparks productive motivation.
Employee Motivation Ideas for Small Businesses
We can’t expect employees to feel motivated when their basic needs aren’t being met. Employers are legally obligated to pay fair wages and provide a safe work environment. This includes everything employees need to ensure maximum productivity. These basic standards are obvious. But going above and beyond them for the benefit of your employees will pay dividends—especially if you are willing to make investments in tools, programs, or additional staff to bring about positive changes. If that means utilizing short-term financing to cover some additional costs, it can be worthwhile.
You can provide some extra incentives to motivate employees without jeopardizing your cash flow. U.S. News & World Report mentioned a few modern trends in employee rewards that are both inexpensive and effective:
Additional Paid Time Off
More companies are getting creative with their vacation policies to boost morale. For instance, some businesses let employees take a day off on their birthday. Or, they may have additional paid time off for sick days and personal leave. Time off decreases stress, boosts productivity, and improves work performance.
Recognizing Great Work
When you recognize employees, you reinforce the actions and behaviors you want to see people repeat. Naming an “employee of the week/month” is a popular method to acknowledge a job well done, which inspires other staff members to follow that employee’s lead. Other ways to recognize your employees include a handwritten thank-you note, companywide e-mail, or cash incentive. Be sure to make all employees eligible for recognition so that no employee or groups of employees are excluded.
Workplace flexibility is a leading factor in employee motivation. That might include offering work-from-home days if possible or the ability to work according to a flexible schedule. Employees are more productive and engaged in their work when they’re able to balance the demands of work with other aspects of their lives.
Employee Motivation and Working Capital
Supplementary working capital can be used to upgrade equipment, invest in training, or hire additional staff—all actions you can take to motivate your team. Equipping your employees with the tools and skills they need demonstrates your commitment to their happiness and success. Let a short-term loan provide extra cash to help you create a happier workplace for everyone.
Ben Gold is president of QuickBridge, a privately held financial services firm providing “small business loans” and short-term working capital funding solutions for small to midsize businesses nationwide. Based on its growth, QuickBridge has ranked 2 consecutive years on the Inc. 500 Fastest Growing American Companies list. Gold is a thought leader in the financial tech industry and a contributing member of the Forbes Finance Council.