Many people quit the 9-to-5 and become entrepreneurs in their quest for happiness and freedom. Becoming your own boss provides a satisfaction that few employers can offer. Yet, a lot of founders quickly forget the reasons they left employment and inadvertently make the workplace a living nightmare for their workers.
Whereas you must be assertive, decisive, disciplined and driven to succeed in business, that does not mean you have to crush your employees’ spirits in the process. In fact, the happier and more motivated your staff are, the more committed they are likely to be in helping your company realize its objectives.
The following tips show you how to keep your staff driven without spending much if at all.
Flexible work schedules are all the rage nowadays and can be a powerful way for startups to attract and retain great talent. You could offer flexible scheduling to employees at the point of hiring or make it a reward for workers who achieve a set goal.
Entrepreneurs who haven’t tried telecommuting before may be worried that employees will put in less work and time than they would if they were at the office.
Fortunately, there’s a wide range of online employee time tracking and scheduling tools in the market today (see Humanity for example). You can conveniently keep tabs on what they are up to during working hours irrespective of where they are located.
Have Special Days and Holidays
Ever considered giving your employees the day off on their birthday? It’s just one day of the year but this unique perk will make them want to work for you for the long-term. You could also designate special days of the year, month or week for a certain cause (for instance, Bring-Your-Pet Day) or for quirky attire (such as Terrible Tie Day).
It will cost you little to nothing but keep your staff excited about coming to the office every day. It’s also a fun way to build camaraderie and enhance teamwork.
Throw Celebratory Parties
Has your business surpassed a crucial milestone thanks to the team? It’s time to celebrate. Plan for an after work party (Fridays are the most ideal but any day can do) where your employees can socialize and hang out. It could be as simple as buying pizza and drinks. If times are hard, you could go frugal and ask everyone to bring their own drinks and food items.
The party doesn’t have to take place away from the office or last all evening. It’s the recognition that your staff will value the most so just 30 minutes to an hour of chatting over light snacks at the office can do wonders for morale.
Stay Accessible and Lighthearted
Unlike giant multinational corporations, startups are unlikely to offer their employees high compensation. They, therefore, have to look at leveraging their areas of strength. Small organizations are less hierarchical and can thus create a great environment for everyone from the CEO to the janitor to develop strong personal relationships.
As the leader, stay reachable and relaxed. Let your staff know that your door is always open (within reason of course) whenever they need to discuss an aspect of work that’s stressing them out or if they think there are potential areas of process improvement.
Incentives are part of life both inside and outside the business world. People can be self-driven but they are more likely to go the extra mile for you if there’s something extra in it for them. For large corporations with deep pockets, much of this incentive will come in financial form such as attractive remuneration, comprehensive health insurance, performance bonuses and employee stock options.
Startups are typically short of cash and have to look for creative ways to boost staff morale. These tips can come in handy in this regard.