How well are you motivating employees in your small business?

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CBPENCILSKETCH LIGHT BULB webI had a nightmare the other night. An old boss had crept into my dream world. The sight of his face almost 25 years later still filled me with revulsion.

This “boss” was a first-time manager, inexperienced, lacking empathy and possessing an ego as tall as the building within which we worked at the time. He had called me out for something I had done wrong, some mistake I’ve made, but did it in such a way to make me feel inadequate and that I didn’t matter.

I’ve forgiven him long ago but the mere mental image of him stirs up old memories of someone who lacked skills and experience in dealing with people. He tried to make up for it later with a lunch between the two of us but it never made up for his bad behaviour.

In a start-up or small business motivating and dealing with employees is more important, far more, than in a giant corporation. Starting out, you don’t have unlimited resources and need to value and nurture those that you have been fortunate enough to attract to your vision, your objective, your business.

It’s not about squeezing every last drop of work from your employees but creating an environment where they are able to do their jobs, enjoy their work, feel safe to speak out, make mistakes and even fail.

What is it that employees or staff really want? How much thought have you given to this lately? What changes have you made or what actions have you taken that motivate your staff?

When you get right down to it, I have found that they are essentially two men elements that employees want. That is simply reward and recognition.

In some work environments unfortunately these two things are kept under lock and key. A pat on the back is as scarce as hail in summer. A thank you for work done well never happens. A surprise bonus for exceptional performance is as rare as finding a diamond in your backyard.

Recognition and reward make the job of employees worthwhile. In my experience I have seen employees crave for recognition and reward but sadly they don’t get it.

You may be thinking, but there is much more to an employees wants. Yes, you are right. Staff also want to be treated fairly, to be treated with respect.

Practising the golden rule of doing to others as you would like to be treated by others helps in this economy where people are being forced to work harder, putting in more time, producing more and taking more risks.

Jay Abraham, entrepreneur extraordinaire, says they are three ways to increase or grow your business: 1 Increase the number of clients, 2 increase the average size of the sale per client and 3 increase the number of times clients return and buy again. All these three levers in your business – called many fancy names by management gurus and consultants – have one thing in common –

They require motivated and happy employees to execute them for you.

What can you do today to attract, recognise, reward and appreciate staff rather than chase them away from your business?

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