Your employees are the core of your business. Proper management and leadership is key to ensuring they offer their best in the smooth running of your business. Regardless of their individual, or combined skills, when staff are not well served by good management, they cannot perform at their best. Consider the following:

Establish a Strong Morning Routine

When your staff arrive in the morning, they may not be mentally ready to work, and for the most part that’s OK; they have other things going on in their lives, or they may be eager to chat with co-workers. It is your job to make sure that that they start off their mornings in the best possible manner so they perform well the rest of the day.

A common option is to have short morning meetings to: update employees, hear what they have planned, ask them to perform certain functions, and what your expectations of the day are. This process (productivity related discussion) helps get them into a working mindset.

Acknowledge Success

If there’s anything that will disengage or demotivate your employees, it is the idea that success does not matter. In addition, if doing things right doesn’t matter, what’s the point of working there? No amount of compensation will inspire the kind of engagement you need in a small business. However, acknowledging a job well done can make your employees feel important and recognised.

When you do acknowledge staff for a job well done, don’t just give them a loud and verbal pat on the back. Tell them, (depending on the person or the company culture, it can be a private or public acknowledgement) what made that particular achievement special and how it helped the company get closer to a milestone.

Help Them with Work-Life Balance

While there will never be a true ‘work-life balance’ for you as a small business owner, it doesn’t have to be that way for your employees. They’re not required to have the same dedication to the company you do. In fact, forcing or encouraging that kind of thought process can lead to burnout and a high turnover rate.

Help employees balance their lives, e.g. If they’re having trouble finding a sitter for their kids, let them work from home until they find one. Are they trying to care for a sick parent? Flexitime is their friend. Depending on the scenario, your support and understanding during their difficult time, will assist in keeping their productivity to a maximin, and should assist in aiding in the development of a strong business culture of trust and loyalty.

Give Them ‘Free’ Time

At some point, you may run into a situation where it is necessary to temporarily walk away from a difficult task or situation. Burying yourself in the task does not always get it done faster, or better. Take a break to let your mind rest and reset. While some may view stepping back to get a different perspective as counter-productive or time wasting, it is likely what you need to do to get things done. Pushing through and trying to get more work done does not always translate to higher productivity.

Let employees know that this option, or style of work is acceptable, and encouraged. It also allows staff to bring their own ‘style’ of work into the workplace and that a ‘one fits all’ approach is not the way you want them to work in your business. Besides, it is well established that regular breaks throughout the day can lead to sparks of creativity, which translates to better outcomes for everyone.

Give Them Goals

Having a long-term vision, and setting goals, is a critical aspect for any business. Owners need to communicate the company’s vision on a continual basis. Unfortunately, many small businesses stop at assigning daily, or very short-term goals. While these are important, they’re far from the only milestones or targets your employees should have.

Aside from bringing clarity to the company’s vision, ask them what they want to accomplish while employed in the business. Get them to think big. This conversation shouldn’t be something that belongs on a to-do list; it should form part of their development and ‘growth’ plan; professionally and personally. Your input and attention to staff outcomes, will go a long way ensuring productivity and happy and engaged employees.