Inspiring & Engaging Your Employees as a Small Business

February 16, 2017

When you’re small or just starting out, there’s a lot of responsibility on your shoulders that can be immensely stressful. Burning out can negatively affect your customers and your business. When things are small, there’s a lot more on every single shoulder. Whether you’re a one-person business or you have a few others working with you, taking the time to inspire any and all employees can make the difference between a successful business and an unsuccessful one.

Avoiding Small Business Burnout From Your Employees

When you started your brand, you established yourself as a leader. There’s no a+b+c formula to ensure that your small business is successful. What does exist is the recognition that inspired workers are more authentic than others and create more of an impact on your team and business than those that aren’t. Inspiration is more than making blanket statements or putting quotes in the workplace; it’s constant, measured, and deliberate actions constantly throughout the workday and beyond.

How can you keep your employees freshly engaged?

  1. Explain the value of tasks and roles when they come up, even if they’re mundane. Don’t just demand that a task is performed, take the time to share what this means for the business as a whole and how it’s advancing your overall goals. The vision of the company and how all tasks influence this matters.
  2. Regardless of how busy things may be, take the time to praise your employee (or yourself!) for a job well done. Simple praise can show that it’s about more than the job, but that you value your worker for being themselves.
  3. Give every person the opportunity to learn rather than simply act. When someone only views themselves as a cog in the machine, they’re not inspired to grow, both personally and professionally. Granting these opportunities to learn and assist rather than demand creates engaged employees.
  4. Set great examples and stick to them. The way that you approach your workday sets the tone for how others do as well. Positive thinking, the work ethic, and growth opportunities you set for yourself are all effective ways to motivate those that are working with you on a regular basis.
  5. Reward accordingly. We’ve all heard the mantra “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”, and this rings true in many ways. When your employees do something great, how are they rewarded? Having business outings, offering gift cards, and more incentivize hard work.
  6. Be flexible and quit micromanaging. When it’s your business, it can be hard to loosen the reins, but trusting those you’ve hired or work with to perform their jobs is essential. Similarly, there will be different ways that others will respond to their job. Being flexible in its performance, as long as you’re hitting your goals, should be encouraged more than simply fitting others into a place.
  7. Set manageable goals while encouraging individuality. Perhaps your goal is to sell a certain number of items a month. How can your employee do this besides standing behind a register for a few hours? Take their suggestions and run with them, allowing their incentives and programs to work for some time and perhaps even adopting them!
  8. Give honest, well-meaning, and accurate feedback. Checking in on performance and telling the truth is important for a leader. Employees who are able to identify their shortcomings can also take steps to correct them. However, this does not mean berating your employees – it means clarifying the root of the issue and working together for a positive resolution.

In a positive work environment, everyone wins. With inspired and engaged employees, your brand grows. It works in your favor to have others engaged strongly with your business, working tirelessly with you to make it even better. Especially when you’re small, keeping everyone engaged and interested is a boon to you – why try and limit the help and encouragement you can get?