As a business owner or manager, much of your effort is put towards growth and investment. This is sort of the general arc of any business decision, putting money and energy into something and watching it (hopefully) grow and pay off. Invest in marketing and see your customer base grow. Invest in development and see your product improve. The key to running a successful business is always going to be knowing what to pour your money and attention into. But there’s one investment that many business owners and managers overlook: your employees. Your workforce is always the backbone of any company, and so investing time, energy, and money into your employees is a pretty safe bet.
Here are a few things you can do to make sure you’re investing in your workers as much as you should.
Invest in Employee Training
This is probably the most obvious, no-brainer way to invest in the success of your employees. A well-trained employee is a more capable and productive employee, so any kind of training is going to be a pretty safe investment. You can use group training sessions to help your workers improve as a team and build stronger relationships between them, or you can opt for more personalized training to help your workers achieve their individual career goals and advance their skills. This can be especially useful if you’ve managed to identify some particularly valuable employees, so you can help them fulfill their full potential at your company. Remember, training an employee you already have is always going to be cheaper than finding someone new, and it also gives your workers a sense of advancement in their career that can be extremely motivating.
Promotion and Progression
One of the most demotivating situations for an employee to be in is feeling like they’re trapped or stagnated at their current position. Nobody is going to want to work somewhere if they feel there’s no chance for them to advance their career, especially if they’ve been at your company for a long time. If you allow your employees the opportunity to progress and advance in your company, you’ll see higher productivity, better motivation, and a lot more loyalty. Not only are employees seeking promotion going to be more motivated and productive, but they’re also more likely to be careful and thoughtful about the work they’re doing if they know it could lead to promotion later on. One of the most important things you can do is make sure your workers feel like the job they’re doing is going to pay dividends for them, so be careful not to let them be stranded in dead-end positions for too long.
Be Open to Suggestions
One of the most important traits that employees value in a leader is a willingness to listen to their concerns. Your workers are devoting 40 hours or more a week to your company, so it’s important that they feel the company is devoted to them too. You can achieve this by listening to their feedback and valuing their opinions. Try sending out regular employee satisfaction surveys, so your workers have a chance to offer their thoughts on what it’s like to work for you and what can be improved. Don’t forget to actually listen to their ideas though! Not only is open communication and feedback important for employee morale, but you’ll almost definitely end up learning something as well. Everybody is different, and oftentimes the only way to create a workplace that serves your staff is to start by listening to their feedback. Showing that you listen can go a long way.
Be Generous with Bonuses and Incentives
Not every employee incentive has to be long-term, like career advancement. Short-term rewards are just as important and are often a lot cheaper and easier for you. If you’ve had a good year at your company, don’t be stingy with bonuses. What might seem like a little bit of money can go a long way for your workers, and it’s a great way to make them feel like they’re invested in how your company is doing. You can also offer smaller, easier incentives as well. Try offering rewards for sales competitions, for example, where the winners get cash prizes or extra days off. You can also go with small, office-wide rewards, like casual Fridays or even just a pizza party. It doesn’t have to take much to make your employees feel valued, but the results can be huge for productivity and motivation.
Bring in Outside Help
The initial cost might be a bit high, but bringing in outside consultants or motivational speakers can be a great investment for your workplace. Some of the good motivational speakers can go a long way towards keeping your employees satisfied and happy, which is a huge boost for productivity. They can also double as training sessions by teaching your employees valuable skills like time management, coping skills, or even more relevant technical skills. Improving the culture of your workplace is a great way to boost productivity, and motivational speakers are perfect for exactly that purpose. Take a little time and find the right speaker for you, and you’ll be glad you did.
We often spend so much time working to fix the shortcomings of our workforce that we forget to celebrate their successes. This is one of the most proven ways to improve motivation among your employees. Try holding weekly meetings and singling out employees who did well and exceeded expectations during the week. Don’t be stingy with your praise, either! Even the smallest victories are worth celebrating. Remember that every worker is a valuable and essential member of your team, and they deserve to be celebrated.
At the end of the day, a lot of these tips just come down to the way you treat your employees. Creating a workplace culture of respect and making sure your workers feel valued is the most effective way to invest in their success and improve productivity at your company.