Motivating Your Staff on a Budget – Part I

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8 Tips on Boosting Office Morale

(Part One of a Two-Part Series)

A young boss motivates his small staff.Management means helping people to get the best out of themselves, not organizing things. – Lauren AppleyMotivation is everything. You can do the work of two people, but you can’t be two people. Instead, you have to inspire the next guy down the line and get him to inspire his people. – Lee Iacocca

The middle of summer is when many office workers feel sluggish and unmotivated. So now is the perfect time to focus some energy on motivating and inspiring your staff. And, no, it doesn’t have to come with a staggering price tag, although we should note that any amount of money you put into retaining your staff will save you tremendously in the long run. But there are many ways to motivate small business staff on a budget. Here are eight of sixteen:

1. Communicate your vision

It’s important that your employees know what motivates and inspires you. What is your vision? Be sure to share the “big picture” with employees. This will inspire teamwork as you all work together to fulfill that vision. Also when employees understand your vision they will see that they’re working for more than just a paycheck.

2. Articulate tangible goals

It’s hard to hit the mark when you don’t know what it is. Clearly articulate your goals. Be sure they’re tangible with measurable outcomes. When employees are aware of these goals they’ll be able to align their work with your goals. And if you’ve explained how their role helps to accomplish those company goals, you’ll soon have an employee who understands how they fit into that “big picture.”

3. Give positive reinforcement and feedback

Nothing is more discouraging to an employee than lack of feedback. In order to better direct their efforts they need to know whether or not they’re satisfying your expectations. Be sure you always provide positive feedback first. Then give constructive criticism by sharing how they can improve their efforts. Be specific. Vague and ambiguous feedback is almost worse than no feedback at all.

4. Offer flexible work schedules

Offering a flexible work schedule to reliable employees will not only boost morale but win employee loyalty. Whether the employee is able to enjoy more time at home with their children, go back to school, or recuperate from surgery, a flexible work schedule is greatly appreciated by those who need it to better balance their work and personal lives.

5. Have an office party

For the price of a couple large pizzas and a few liters of soda you can sponsor an office party that will lift spirits and generate good feelings in the office.

6. Give public praise

Gerard C. Eakedale has said, “Recognition is the greatest motivator.” A genuine compliment given in a public setting can make an employee’s day. This can be accomplished in staff meetings, via email, or through an office memo or newsletter.

7. Give small gifts or rewards

For a low cost you can give deserving employees gift cards for restaurants, movie theaters, gas stations, book stores, etc. It may not seem like much, but this small gesture can do a lot to compliment your employees and boost morale.

8. Award special titles

When employees advance, learning new skills in order to manage certain processes or projects, you should consider awarding a special title: payroll manager, office assistant, marketing specialist, etc. Not only does this provide your employees with a sense of achievement, but it gives them the opportunity to strengthen their resumes. Avoid creating meaningless or arbitrary titles; that will do more harm than good.Motivation can come in small yet thoughtful ways. As you watch your employees and recognize the work they do, you can award their efforts, generating teamwork and good will in the office. Come back next week when we discuss 8 more ways to motivate and inspire your small business staff.

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