You’ve successfully started a small business and grown to the point you require employees — congrats! The momentum you’ve built up to this point proves that you’ve got what it takes to make it as a small business owner. Now that you have it, how do you maintain it? One of the biggest components to your success is your staff.
The people that make up your business aren’t just employees — they’re the pulse of your business. They dictate how your customers perceive your product and your business as a whole. They can make or break customers’ experiences before, during and after their purchases. However, no matter how much they know about the product or how skilled they are, if they don’t have the right attitude, it all counts for nothing. Keeping your team happy should be one of your top priorities. It will help your business run more smoothly, improve employee retention and give your customers a reason to come back. So how do you give your team a reason to smile? Here’s a few of our favorite methods.
Ensure Your Employees Feel Appreciated
How many jobs have you worked at where you felt like your effort went unrecognized? How did that make you feel? A recent study showed that 66 percent of employees would leave their job if they did not feel appreciated.1 That number jumps to 76 percent among millennials.
While some bosses may say that a paycheck and the ability to work is reward enough, there is something to say for acknowledging the effort of hard-working employees, especially when they go above and beyond your expectations.
Make sure you acknowledge your employees on a regular basis for a job well done. If positive affirmations do not come easily for you (or if you have employees who dislike public acknowledgement), make sure you set up one-on-one time with each employee once a month. Use it as an opportunity to touch base and tell them how well they’re doing.
You may also ask your employees how they like their hard work acknowledged. You can find out through an anonymous survey or discuss it in your private monthly meetings. Some people find recognition of their expertise to be good enough. Others may prefer a reward-based system for strong performance (bonuses, priority scheduling, etc.). In fact, roughly 60 percent of employees stay with a company because of the benefits.2 The key here is coming up with a system to adapt to a wide variety of personalities while simultaneously making them all feel equally appreciated for their work.
Set Aside Time for Bonding
You may have hired employees that have a great work ethic and a passion for your product, but that is only the foundation. They are part of a team, and while independently they are top talent, it’s crucial that they actively contribute to and work well with the team. Additionally, two out of three employees would choose to stay at a job they don’t love because of their friendship with other employees.2
Working hours don’t always allow time for employees to connect and build a sense of community. Set up a situation where your employees can get to know each other and bond in a non-work setting. This could be as simple as a dinner or happy hour together. You can also be a bit more creative with activities like bowling, hiking, cooking classes and more. The main goal is to boost morale and encourage a bond among your employees. These events will contribute to a better working environment and a stronger team effort.
Treat Your Employees How You’d Want to Be Treated
As a boss, you have a lot of responsibility and a lot of people looking to you for guidance. Many misread this position as a rank rather than an opportunity to lead by example. Be the example that a younger you would want to look up to. While your employees may not be your equal in the professional flow chart, they are your equals as humans living in your community. Treat them as such.
First, create an environment you would want to work in. Encourage a company culture that makes you want to get out of bed in the morning and be excited for work rather than dreading it. For example, don’t create an environment where employees feel guilty if they need to take time off. Acknowledge that everyone needs a good work-life balance and some personal time to decompress.
Consider implementing programs that demonstrate to your employees that you care about their well-being and understand that while your small business is your future, it may not be theirs. Use the one-on-one meetings mentioned earlier to ask them important career-based questions about their futures. Find out what success means to them and how you can help them achieve it. This may mean adjusting their schedules so they can further their education, sharing articles they may find valuable, signing them up for webinars and more. When you care about their success, they’ll care about yours (and your business’s) too.
1Lipman, V. (April 15, 2017). 66% of employees would quit if they feel unappreciated. Retrieved August 18, 2017, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/victorlipman/2017/04/15/66-of-employees-would-quit-if-they-feel-unappreciated/#7fb69e506897
2Ayu, A. (February 17, 2015). 5 simple ways to build a happy–and engaged team. Retrieved August 22, 2017, from https://www.inc.com/ariana-ayu/5-simple-ways-to-build-a-happy-and-engaged-team.html