As a business owner, it’s not just my job make budgeting decisions, sign the paychecks, and promote production and sales. It is also my job to motivate my employees to succeed in their individual projects, thus pushing the success of the business further. The way I see it, the more my employees are able to achieve in a day, the better off the entire business is, which is beneficial to everyone’s bottom line.
Knowing how to motivate your employees is almost more important than knowing how to run a business. As long as you have the right people in place and motivate them to do their jobs properly and proudly, your business will soar. So how do you motivate people? Here are a few of my most successful secrets.
Communicate and Listen
The most important aspect of any relationship is communication, and that doesn’t change once you step into the office. If you want people to do something for you, ensure that you’re communicating the task to them properly. Unfortunately, many CEOs and managers tend to simply voice demands without realizing that people react more favorably to requests and suggestions.
Your employees want to feel as though their opinions and ideas matter. Listening to the ideas and opinions of my staff has set the stage for substantial growth at Isolator Fitness because it allows us to test (and succeed) in avenues I wouldn’t have otherwise considered. As the old saying goes, “Two heads are better than one.”
Take Time to Train
Motivation isn’t just about being a cheerleader for your employees. It’s also about making sure the people who are working for you understand the demands of their job and are given all of the necessary resources to complete the required tasks. It may seem time-consuming, but the amount of time spent on trial and error without training will likely far outweigh the time it takes for an employee to master a skill with proper training.
Harness Proper Management Techniques
As the CEO of a small company, I often find myself pulled in a million different directions every day, and I don’t always have the time to personally motivate my employees. This is where having proper management comes into play. If you find that your business has a higher turnover rate than you’d like, take a look at your own management style. Make sure you’re leading your employees, not simply using them as a means to an end. Hiring and training cost much more in resources and time than retaining happy employees.
Recognize Their Accomplishments
Pay attention to the successes of your employees. An employee who doesn’t pull their own weight never goes unnoticed under a manager’s scrutiny, but unfortunately, good employees often do. When good, hardworking and honest employees feel as though they are underappreciated and overlooked, one of two things will likely happen. They will either stop producing the high-quality work that drives your business forward, or they will leave for a new job where they’ll hope to receive the recognition they deserve. Motivating good employees is as easy as simply recognizing and appreciating their accomplishments.
Pay It Forward
While a few words of appreciation do go a long way, keep in mind that people work first for themselves and their families, and then for you. To retain truly spectacular employees, it’s helpful to show your gratitude in a tangible way. Bonuses, paid time off, flexible hours, the ability to work remotely (if possible), and — the holy grail — pay raises, are all tangible signs of appreciation that help motivate your workers to keep up the good work. It may even push them harder to achieve more for the business. Remember that the success of your business lies heavily on the shoulders of your employees, so thank them by paying it forward, and they will be motivated to help your business reach new heights.
Professionalism is the cornerstone of a healthy work environment, without which there would be no order or noticeable growth. As a business owner, the tone of the company starts with you. If you exhibit unprofessional and disrespectful behavior towards your staff, it’s unlikely that you will receive respect and professionalism in return. One of the greatest motivational tools at your disposal is also the easiest to wield. Treat your employees as professionals, and they will likely act as such.
Make It Fun
The most important and fundamental piece of advice I can give from one business owner to another is to make the job fun for your employees. Happy employees need less individualized motivation, and will help inspire and motivate one another when necessary. Encourage your employees by listening to what they enjoy most about their job or what they’d like to learn more about, then assign them more work in those areas. When people truly love what they do, they’ll be more inclined to complete the task at hand.
In the words of Dwight D. Eisenhower, “Motivation is the art of getting people to do what you want them to do because they want to do it.”
This article originally appeared on BusinessCollective.com.
BusinessCollective, launched in partnership with Citi, is a virtual mentorship program powered by North America’s most ambitious young thought leaders, entrepreneurs, executives and small business owners.