Just because your business is small doesn’t mean your goals aren’t ambitious. After all, chances are you didn’t get into your industry just to be another presence in your field — you came to prove that you had an innovative approach, and that you have something special to offer. The continued contributions of your employees will be a significant factor in your ability to achieve the results you desire.
Particularly for smaller companies, the workforce can represent the tipping point of a delicate balancing act — oftentimes, their actions can mean the difference between success and failure. It is therefore in the best interest of entrepreneurs to ensure they set up their projects for success by not just bringing on the right players, but keeping them motivated. You have to make your business more than the place they have to show up to every day; you have to make them love being there with you, making a difference to your goals.
The methods of achieving this balance of employee happiness and business success are not always obvious. You don’t necessarily have to make grand gestures to great expense, but there are small yet significant approaches you can adopt that will pay dividends. Look around you, and ask — would I consider my company to be a great place to work?
The last thing any business owner wants is for their employees to dread coming in to work. In many industries, there are certainly unavoidable things that can make jobs difficult — stress, performance pressure, and angry customers are just a few examples. However, one aspect that you can consistently help to control is their space in which they work.
Nobody is suggesting that you need to match the fantastical standards of big tech outlets such as Google or Facebook — having a barista on hand is not an essential element of job satisfaction, after all. However, it is important to always ensure that they are provided with the appropriate equipment and space that will make the practicalities of their job possible, and perhaps, a little easier. By frequently reviewing the environment and discussing with employees their needs, you can help to take some of the pressure off of their more difficult tasks.
Even the basics, such as committing to frequent professional cleaning, shows that good office organization can seriously affect productivity. You should also note that employee health is impacted by the environment in which they work; so, ensure furniture and workstations are adjustable for comfort, focus on lighting that causes less strain on their eyesight, and where possible, stock the kitchen with healthy snacks and beverages. Something as simple as dispersing plants around the office improves air quality, with some plants actually contributing to a reduction in stress.
Empowering Your Workforce
Passionate employees can help your business achieve even your most lofty ambitions. When properly motivated, employees will apply their creativity, intelligence, and personal skill set in providing you with solutions that might make your business a stand-out leader in the industry. It is imperative that you help them to believe that their passion is being utilized in a worthwhile fashion.
This starts with understanding that their ideas have value to the ultimate success of your business; the presence of innovation in areas such as marketing, customer service, and production can only be improved by a rich diversity of ideas. Encourage employees by providing them with a platform to frequently bring their ideas to the table, and they will feel a deeper connection and commitment to the work your company creates.
Remember also that the brand identity you build promotes more than customer loyalty; it affects the way your employees feel the work they produce is represented. Regularly seek the input of your workforce when you assess your company values, and encourage your team to hold accountable when the actions the business takes appear to be contrary to those ideals. By opening up this kind of dialogue, employees won’t feel as though they’re just working for you, they’ll feel personally invested in the business.
It might seem like one of the basic steps, but it really is vital to make your employees feel that they are valued. While you certainly want to limit any unnecessary expenditure, it shouldn’t be ignored that fair financial recompense is a significant step toward achieving this. However, there are other routes to take in addition to salary and bonuses.
Recognize that they are humans with lives outside of the workplace. One of many ways to make your business a great place to work is offering the opportunity for additional paid time off for reaching target goals, allowing employees to occasionally bring their pets into work, and being flexible when it comes to arranging their schedule around other home and family commitments. Explore ways to show that you’ve paid attention to their outside passions — support their charitable causes, promote their artistic flair, and so on.
On a day-to-day basis, find opportunities to provide positive reinforcement about the work they are producing. Whether this is through personal feedback, small rewards, or even opening up the opportunity for them to gain stock options, showing them that you notice the level of commitment they apply to the company is invaluable. If they are applying a high level of commitment to your goals; go out of your way to display that this isn’t going unnoticed.
If your business isn’t a solo operation, it will benefit you to frequently remember that every employee is a vital, valuable contributor to the sustainable achievement of your goals. By making sure that the space into which you are inviting your workforce reflects their commitment in positive ways, you are helping your company thrive. Show that you are making genuine efforts to make your employees happy, and you will in turn discover some incredible — and perhaps unexpected — advantages to your business practices.