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What motivates small business employees to stay and contribute?

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In a world where job hopping is extremely common, small businesses usually bear the worst brunt of it. Given their nature, hiring, training and empowering a new employee to start work takes a lot of time, money and energy in case of a small business setup. And to have that employee leave the organization within a few months or even a year can be quite an issue of concern. Understanding the factors that help motivate and retain the employees will go a long way in ensuring that they stay and contribute towards your business’s growth.
As a owner, you should focus on the following factors that motivate small business employees to stay and contribute:

  • A sense of achievement: This is one of the primary motivating factors for small business employees to stay. Setting challenging tasks for your employees are perfect ways to ensure that they achieve this sense of satisfaction upon completing these tasks. Sense of achievement can be developed by providing new training, special skills training, encouragement for seeking new levels of efficiency etc. These will help the employees realize that they are constantly growing in the organization, which in turn will encourage them to stay and contribute further to the growth of the organization.
  • Instilling a feeling of significance: As employers, it becomes extremely crucial to ensure that your employees feel that they are contributing significantly towards the growth of the organization, irrespective of what individual tasks they have been doing. When even the most menial of tasks get appreciated in terms of their overall significance to the growth of the organization, it will motivate the employee to stay and contribute.
  • Appreciation: Appreciating the work done or the achievements of your employees will contribute towards his/her sense of satisfaction and achievement, which in turn will ensure better retention of employees. Appreciation has to be overtly expressed and directed to the employee in question, as this will enhance his/her confidence in handling the tasks while also motivating him/her to perform better.
  • Building the right culture: SMEs have fewer employees and therefore, the mechanisms of larger organizations in terms of building organizational culture will not work. Smaller setups have to instill the feeling of belonging together as a family to ensure that each person participates, experiences a strong sense of belonging and interdependency, and is motivated to stay on.
  • Perks and other incentives: When it comes to employee motivation, one cannot forget perks and incentives. While monetary perks are definitely warranted, SME should also look into other incentive aspects that will help motivate employees and ensure that they stay and contribute. For example, gifts given on birthdays or anniversaries, extra leave (beyond the statutory minimum), flexible working hours, health benefits such as health insurance, subsidized staff canteens, tea/coffee-making facilities, season tickets to popular events or social events, membership of social clubs and gyms etc could be effective ways to promote work-life balance and retain talent.
  • Ascertaining personal goals and address them: When looking into what motivates your employees, personal goals and needs are extremely important. A SME can thrive successfully if it looks into the personal needs and goals of each individual employee and does its best to ensure that they are met, to the extent that’s possible.
  • Encouraging decision making: Employees in small businesses often feel that they do not have the power to take their own decisions, especially with regard to their team or area of work. This can be quite demotivating, especially if the person is a born leader. By encouraging your team leaders to actually take decisions, you are not only motivating them but are also instilling a culture of trust and faith, which will go a long way in ensuring that they stay and contribute towards the growth of your business.
  • Creating a legacy: Finally, it is important that the employees in your business are allowed to train and lead other members in their team, which would make them feel as if they are part of a legacy that they are creating themselves.

Employee motivation and retention in small businesses can be difficult but by following the above tips, it can be achieved for sure.

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