While you may be happy about creating your own business, fulfilling your dream of doing work that you love, you have to remember that the success of your business also depends on employee morale. If morale is high, employees will be more efficient, better leaders, superior team players, extra productive and completely loyal and trustworthy. In fact, a study by the University of Alberta has shown that companies that changed their management style to improve employee morale had 60 percent less absenteeism and 75 percent less turnover.
With that in mind, here are 8 ways to create a positive work environment to motivate employees:
1. Provide your employees an opportunity for career growth.
Most employees don’t just want a job, they want a career. An employer who provides a job merely asks an employee to follow a job description. An employer who provides a career offers compensation for advanced education, sends employees to conferences, and makes a variety of resources available to encourage leadership. In this kind of progressive-thinking company, an employee is encouraged to improve knowledge and skills and move to the next level.
2. Recognize the value of your employees.
The best way to motivate employees is to catch them doing things right and then finding ways to reward that behavior. Rewards can be–paid days off, a commission for exceeding work quota, or an in-house award and recognition event.
3. Give employees goals but provide latitude.
Goals give employees a sense of purpose and a direction to follow, but micromanaging the goal is taxing on both the supervisor and the employee. The best way to get an employee to buy in to the value of the goal you set for them is to share the big picture. Show the employee how achieving their goal will impact the company as a whole.
4. Create a team spirit.
Since the work of every employee creates an impact on the company’s goals, it is much easier to get everyone working together if teams are set up. The idea of a team is to stimulate collaboration, boost individual motivation to perform well enough to support the team, and increase individual and group accountability.
5. As a boss, you should be available to help all employees.
The most successful small businesses are those that don’t have a rigid hierarchy, but an “open door” policy. When employees feel that they can talk to the boss, it reassures them that they belong to a caring group, rather than being cogs in a machine. Accessibility to the boss builds loyalty and a sense of bonding. Consequently, there is more interest in helping the company fulfill its mission.
6. Offer employees consistent feedback.
Employees need to know how they are doing in a company. They need both positive feedback and negative feedback, or encouragement and correction. Without this feedback, employees feel lost, unsure about what they should be doing.
7. Create a friendly company.
A friendly company is one where relationships are encouraged. Besides a working environment where employees can share their ideas and concerns with the boss, employees should also be allowed to get along with each other in an open and honest way. Many companies discourage conversations between employees and have the attitude of “look busy, here comes the boss.” This type of atmosphere mimics the oppressive atmosphere of grade school.
8. Be transparent in your business affairs and encourage your employees to do the same.
When there are numerous secret agendas floating in a company, gossip and office politics begin to breed. Open, real, honest, constructive communication in a small business leads to a working environment where there is a sense of respect, appreciation, understanding and acceptance amongst all employees.