As the owner of a small, medium or micro enterprise (SMME) it can be a challenging task to motivate your workforce. Running on small profit margins and planning to expand while retaining your staff, is a tricky balancing act, considering that almost 80% of SMMEs fail in the first year of operation.
What effective management techniques can owners adopt to inspire their staff? After all a motivated employee is a productive and profitable one.
Related: How can SMMEs build relationships with big business?
I started my own company nine years ago, which currently employs over 100 people. Here’s my advice that I give to my own clients and use in my own company.
1. Motivation starts with you
Often owners feel that they are separate from their staff, but this isn’t true. If you want to succeed you need to lead by example. If the boss displays a gloomy persona the rest of the company will follow.
When you’re at the office remember to be positive, approachable and provide feedback on issues. Once your company has a motivated and kind employer you will be building a friendly work environment and the rest of your employees will follow your example.
2. Caring extras will go a long way
When staff are at work they need to feel secure, needed and appreciated. Instilling this into your employees is easy – all you need to do is to be a caring employer. This doesn’t mean you need to rush out and purchase them all expensive items - small gestures around the office will help, such as coffee and milk in the kitchen.
Providing staff members with supper when they’re burning the midnight oil is also a good idea. Small thoughtful acts will help motivate your staff.
3. Use your wall space for everyone
A communal poster board may seem like an unlikely way to motivate your staff, but allowing them to share their great work experiences in one place will help remind them of all the best memories.
Encourage staff to share pictures from work functions, MEMEs from the internet, or cool family images that will create work bonds. Let the board become an area where positive and fun moments can be shared.
4. Make sure you set your staff achievable goals
Before handing out tasks you need to make sure that you set clear goals and a timeframe to complete them. Also be aware of the individual’s capabilities, setting impossible deadlines they will miss will only demotivate them.
If your employee knows exactly what is required and can complete it you will be able to build their confidence levels over time. Once they’re able to complete the task easily, introduce a new challenge. Boredom can also lead to a negative attitude in the workplace. It’s a balancing act that managers can achieve over time.
Related: 10 tips to creating productive teams
5. Encourage sociable behaviour and competition amongst the staff
Friendly interaction between staff members is important for overall morale in the workplace. Often the importance of this is underestimated. The same logic applies to children going to school. If the environment they’re entering is friendly they’ll want to go back.
Competition is also vital. Unhealthy competitiveness isn’t good but a healthily one isn’t only good for attitudes but is great for productivity. There is a fine line, don’t encourage spiteful competition, this will only create a bad mood in the office.