Small businesses are disadvantaged when competing with the big guys (think Google, Amazon, Adobe, etc.) for great employees. You may have even lost an employee or job candidate to one of these companies in the past. Having less time and resources to work with means small businesses have to be creative and build work cultures where employees are happy, successful, and motivated.
A recent article in Fast Company shares some of the things Google does to motivate its employees and create successful teams. The good news is, the things they are doing at Google to motivate employees can be replicated in your small business. They don’t require any extra money or even a lot of time to implement.
Make sure employees feel safe.
Certain needs must be met for employees to feel motivated to put their best foot forward. Back in 1948, psychologist Abraham Maslow published his thoughts on human motivation commonly called Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. He proposed that in order for individuals to pursue their own personal growth and development, certain basic needs would need to be met. At the very bottom of the pyramid are physical needs such as food water and shelter. Right above that is safety and security., If you want your employees to give you their best effort, they need to feel that their job is secure. How do you do this? Pay employees consistently and on time, set clear expectations for performance, have a standard disciplinary and termination process, and encourage open communication between employee and supervisors.
Provide structure and clarity.
Employees want to know what is expected of them. Feelings of uncertainty lead to lower levels of productivity and engagement among employees. Be clear about performance and behavior expectations from the very start and continue to communicate with employees in one-on-one meetings about these standards.
Create a culture of accountability.
Once you have set clear expectations for employees, make sure you hold them accountable. Follow through with disciplinary actions. Treat employees fairly. Make sure that employees trust one another (and their leaders) to do their jobs. Recognize the hard work and good performance of your employees and provide consistent feedback.
Explain the company “why.”
Make sure to continually share the impact the company makes in the community and the world. Help employees determine how their specific role within the company helps the company reach these goals.
Having a great team of employees can be the secret sauce your company needs to be successful. Try implementing these four ideas (or even just start with one that you commit to focusing on through the end of the year) across your organization and measure the impact.