As a small business owner trying to grow your company, you likely know how important it is to have motivated employees.

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Yet according to recent studies, such as this Gallup research, only 20% of employees feel sufficiently motivated to do “outstanding” work. To help ensure the success of your small business, simply retaining employees is not enough; staff motivation is a key component of employee engagement.

Furthermore, supporting a culture that results in engaged employees leads to greater profitability for the business, according to other Gallup research. However, as a small business owner, you may find it challenging to come up with creative ways to motivate your employees.

We interviewed Raphael Crawford- Marks, cofounder and CEO of Bonusly, a recognition and rewards platform for businesses, and asked his thoughts on how best to motivate employees. Here are a few ideas that might help get your own employees motivated.

1. Coach, Don’t Boss

When you think of your role in relation to your staff, what word comes to mind? Boss? Employer? If so, it’s time for a new role.

Start thinking of yourself as the coach of a business team. This can change the way you interact with your staff, because you’ll think of yourself as leading a team, rather than employing staff. Next, look for opportunities to encourage your team toward higher performance; then give them the authority needed to perform well. And ensure each member understands the mission and goals of your business.

“People are motivated to do their best work when they understand the mission of their company and feel empowered to help bring the company closer to that mission,” says Crawford-Marks, “Leaders can start by showing employees the big picture vision and helping them understand what they’re trying to accomplish, so that they can feel more connected to the company’s mission.”

Only 20% of employees feel sufficiently motivated to do “outstanding” work, according to Gallup research.

2. Offer Performance Incentives

Perhaps one of the most well-known ways to motivate employees involves offering performance incentives. These incentives reward the behaviors that benefit your small business and align with your company values. However, don’t make the mistake of equating “performance incentive” with “cash bonus” every time.

“We’ve seen our customers offer great alternatives to cash rewards,” says Crawford-Marks. For example, some of his clients have rewarded their staff with fun team-building activities in the form of team lunches, mini golf outings and hikes.

Another performance incentive option to motivate employees is providing time off in the form of long lunches, late starts, a half-day off with pay or an occasional work-from-home day. Also consider performance incentives in the form of workplace perks, like a dedicated parking spot for the top salesperson of the month.

3. Focus on Intrinsic Factors

Do you know what drives each of your team members? Find out by looking for ways to identify each employee’s intrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation refers to engaging in a behavior because it’s personally rewarding, instead of behaving in a certain way to achieve an external reward.

Personally meaningful rewards are important in the modern workforce. The Mercer Global Talent Trends 2018 study found that one of the key things today’s workers want in a job is a sense of purpose. “Giving employees the power to contribute in a meaningful way is an incredibly effective motivator,” says Crawford-Marks.

Both internal and external factors make a difference. “I think the key to successful employee motivation is understanding the importance of intrinsic factors in addition to the extrinsic ones,” says Crawford-Marks. Not everyone may share the same intrinsic motivation. Some people are motivated by learning a new skill. Others may enjoy the challenge of working to get new customers. And some people are motivated by the idea that the job they’re doing is helping individuals solve a problem or meet a need.

Getting to know your employees well enough to identify their intrinsic factors has an added bonus. It shows that you value them as people, and it may help you uncover opportunities to offer perks that show your business cares. “At Bonusly, our employees frequently tell us that our flexible work options, including the ability to set their own hours and work from different locations, are powerful motivators because they signal that we trust them and understand their needs,” says Crawford-Marks.

This willingness to accommodate what’s important to your staff helps build company loyalty while motivating them to do their best work.

4. Recognize a Job Well Done

It’s nice to receive public recognition for a job well done.

“One of the best ways to motivate your team is to frequently recognize their work and tie that recognition to your company’s values, so that your employees can see their impact in a broader context,” says Crawford-Marks.

If you haven’t already instituted an employee recognition program — such as an “employee of the month” bulletin board, it may be time — after all, chances are your competition has already done so. According to the 2018 SHRM/Globoforce Employee Recognition Report, 73% of companies say they’re actively involved in showing employee appreciation.

5. Provide Professional Development and Training Opportunities

Learning new skills helps keep employees engaged and motivated, and studies show that it’s also important to today’s workers. According to a Pew Research Center survey, 87% of workers believe they’ll need additional skills and ongoing learning to keep up with rapidly changing technology and advance in their careers.

You can help keep your staff motivated and interested in their jobs (and your business) by offering them onsite training opportunities to job-shadow a senior staff member. Or give them a chance to cross-train in a different role — which also can help your business with vacation scheduling. Look into providing professional development opportunities offsite as well, such as conferences, workshops and seminars.

What to Avoid When Seeking to Motivate Employees

When you’re looking for ways to motivate your staff, don’t fall into the trap of only offering results-based rewards, cautions Crawford-Marks. Doing so could lead your employees to lose sight of your company values.

“Many business owners offer conditional rewards for results they’d like their staff to achieve,” he says. “If employees produce more widgets, make more sales calls, close more deals or complete a project ahead of schedule and under budget, for instance, then business owners will reward them for their work.”

According to Crawford-Marks, when businesses only reward those outcomes, they miss the opportunity to encourage their employees to embody company values on a daily basis. “In fact, relying solely on an ‘if-then’ motivation system can actually harm performance,” he says.

When it comes to recognition to help motivate staff, more is better. “Instead of focusing on outcomes and financial incentives,” says Crawford-Marks, “try frequently recognizing your team members to show them that you value their behaviors and consider their contributions impactful.”

So, constantly stay on the lookout for opportunities to recognize good work, reward behavior that aligns with your company values and show an interest in your team members as individuals to help keep them motivated and contributing to your small business’s success.

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