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An Entrepreneur's Guide to Employee Motivation

Dedication, loyalty, and insight are vital to running a productive company. Without a base of trustworthy employees, a company will face missed deadlines, low quality work, and decreased profits. High turnover, resentment, and apathy severely damage a company's bottom line. Satisfied employees stay longer and work harder. Maintaining employee motivation requires direct effort from company leaders. Solid, well thought out systems take more effort up front, but pay off in long term business success.

Clear Goals

The fundamental aspect of employee motivation is clearly laying out what is expected of an employee. Understanding the employee's role creates a sense of connection to the larger company. An employee is more likely to take responsibility and offer suggestions for improvement when they understand how their work relates to the wider company.

Clear goals look like well written operating procedures, clear chains of command, and departmental transparency. People who instinctively know their job will perform it better.

Known Incentives

Incentives like bonuses, raises, and promotions are only effective motivators when employees understand how to achieve them. Transparency also reduces resentment and misguided efforts. When an employee knows how they can go above and beyond, and why their colleague got a raise when they didn't, they are more motivated to do that extra work. Employees also trust the company more when promises of rewards are kept.

Consistent Feedback

Feedback should be given to employees on a regular schedule. This can look like quarterly reviews, or feedback at the end of major projects. Consistency means an employee feels noticed, valued, and understood. Feedback must contain positive and productive comments. Taking the time to tell someone how they are doing great makes them that much more likely to continue doing a great job.

Equitable Compensation

Unequal compensation is the quickest way to lose good employees and foster resentment. Knowing that their colleague makes more money for less work quickly results in formerly productive employees wasting time, lowering their quality, and looking for new jobs.

Have an unbiased third-party review companywide salaries yearly to prevent problems. Transparency about pay structures also increases employee trust in. Fair compensation encourages employees to work harder and promotes cooperation amongst staff.

Solid Benefits

Benefit packages are common, but attracting amazing employees requires going beyond the bare minimum. Two weeks paid time off, health insurance, and retirement programs are no longer enough to stand out. Matching retirement, giving out profit dividends, and four to six weeks paid time off makes a company appealing to truly exceptional workers. These kinds of benefits make an employee feel seen as a complete person. This fosters a sense of loyalty and dedication. People treat well those who treat them well.

One other thing to make sure you do is keep your messaging consistent and making sure that it doesn't get lost with your middle management personnel. It's very easy for middle managers to pay lip service to an idea, but when it comes down to supporting their employees they drop the ball. Making sure that you pay attention to how team members support and encourage each other reflects in the reviews of your middle managers.

Keeping employees motivated requires planning and effort. This initial work quickly pays off in a dedicated and productive staff. Employees are more likely to provide insight, work hard, and do more than is expected of them when their company treats them well. Entrepreneurs who hope to see their business grow beyond a small staff need to be thinking about motivating and retaining their employees. Taking a few small steps now saves major effort down the line. Make the most of technology by supporting your efforts with employee engagement software.

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