In the 21st century business environment, it is easier than ever to start your own business. This might be great news for budding entrepreneurs with a great business idea, but it makes for a crowded competitive environment, where only the strongest can survive. In fact, according to some sources, 80 percent fail within the first 18 months.
In searching for that elusive competitive edge, it is surprising how many businesses fail pay enough attention to their most important assets – their people. Here, we take a look at why the efforts you put into creating a motivated workforce can ultimately make or break the long term viability of your small business.
Why does it matter?
A recent survey entitled State of the American Workplace concluded that 70 percent of employees feel a degree of disengagement – a factor that costs American businesses a staggering $500 billion per year in lost productivity.
By getting to the root of what drives employees, business owners and managers are in a better position to motivate them. Not only does this mean they will feel more engaged in their work, it also means they are better equipped to roll with the punches and uncertainty that can be an inevitable part of life for small businesses.
Motivated employees are also proven to be more innovative and creative, better problem-solvers and more likely to lead your company to higher levels of customer service and retention.
They are also far less likely to look elsewhere, meaning greater stability for your business and lower staff turnover rates.
Motivating the workforce
Achieving motivation in the workplace is not just about free pizza and teambuilding events. There are some simple pointers that any business leader can work into their day to day practices that can make a big difference.
- Communication is key. If employees feel that managers take them seriously and see them as part of the business, they will feel more engaged. Think of your workforce as people first, employees second.
- Set transparent goals: Ensure every employee has clearly defined goals against which performance is based, and they are more likely to work towards them effectively and enthusiastically.
- Carrots not sticks: Focus on your employees’ strengths, not their weaknesses. Staff will feel more confident, will enjoy their work day better and will progress far more quickly and effectively in their roles.
Tone from the top
Engagement and motivation need to be a priority for every modern business. Remember, a thriving workforce means a thriving organization. With all the distractions that come with running a small business, always remember to look after your most important assets for long term success.