SMEs Have the Potential to Motivate Employees to Boost Productivity
Employees are the most valuable asset in any business and therefore their satisfaction and motivation are important to the growth and success of a business. It is also an established fact that employee productivity is highly dependent on how motivated they are. However, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) may not enjoy the vast resources to enable them to diversify ways of motivating their employees at the level of corporates. The realisation that motivated employees tend to give their best at work should be enough incentive for SMEs to find innovative ways of keeping their employees happy at work.
Recognition of Good Performance
When people work very hard and their work goes unnoticed, they become very demoralised. It lowers their morale, and can cause resentment not only towards work, but also towards those in charge. Regular complements on key achievements and recognition of small wins work should be a culture in a small business environment. This entails showing appreciation with small gifts and forming a habit of saying ‘thank you’ whenever an employee achieves something.
Flexibility at Work
Employees appreciate time. Employers should understand that their employees have a life outside of work. Offering flexibility in some hours can motivate employees. Where possible, employers in the SME sector can allow their employees to occasionally work from home. They can also allow flexible work schedules- where an employee can come to work earlier and leave earlier, or come to work later and leave later, as long as they achieve their intended outcomes and work hours sum up to the total required. Showing some level of care whenever an employee gets a genuine emergency, like when a family member falls sick, is also as important.
Fun Working Environment
Nobody likes to go to a boring work environment. Employers can create a fun environment for their employees which will motivate employers to go to work every day. They should consult with their employees on what would make the work environment fun for them and implement those ideas in an innovative and cost-effective manner.
Reach Out to Your Employees
Employees feel good when they are heard. Small businesses owners and new entrepreneurs have the benefit of being closer to their employees, unlike bigger companies where the distance is so large. In this respect, it is not good to appear larger than life or distant in front of your employees. The successful entrepreneur will make themselves appear like their employees who in turn will warm up and feel happier and content working in such an environment. At times, it takes extra effort to reach out to the employees beyond the workplace as a way of connecting even better.
Opportunities for Professional Development
Giving employees a chance to develop their skills is another way of providing the much-needed motivation at work. This can be done through regular trainings and workshops as well as other available capacity building opportunities. Professional development equips employees with necessary skills to succeed and motivates them to work harder.
Open and effective communication on how the business is doing and how employees contribute to the development of the business gives employees a sense of ownership and belonging to the business. When employees are hesitant to express their ideas for fear of being ridiculed or not taken seriously, they become demotivated and the business may not benefit from such rich ideas.
Employers should give their employees responsibility and also give them the power to make decisions. This gives them control over tasks which motivates them to give their best. Employers should also provide their employees with the resources they require so that they do not have unnecessary struggles at work. Allowing them for instance to set their own objectives, creates a sense of ownership for employees which causes more self-drive by encouraging a participatory approach to work hence better work outcomes. This benefits both the employees and the employer.
Encouraging Creativity and Innovation
Employers should encourage their employees to share creative and innovative ideas with them. They should also implement the ideas and give credit to the employees. This ensures that the business grows and encourages employees to share great ideas which would lead to growth.
Continuous Performance Management
Employees appreciate constant feedback which keeps them on their toes and makes them feel that their work is actually being appreciated. This is especially important for SMEs because it motivates their employees to do their best at work.
Keeping Employees Involved.
Unlike large businesses, SMEs have the advantage of harnessing team work due to their small size. This gives employers the opportunity to understand their employees better. It’s an opportunity for employers to understand the strength of their employees and take advantage of those strengths. This gives employees a sense of belonging and hence, they feel appreciated and give their best at work.
Promoting from Within
When there is an opportunity for promotion, employers should promote the employees working within the business as opposed to sourcing new employees from outside. This makes the employees feel appreciated and feel that their efforts are taken seriously thereby viewing the engagement with the business as an opportunity for professional growth.
In conclusion, nobody wants to associate with an environment in which they are demotivated, least of all employees. SMEs may be disadvantaged in terms of resources but are better placed to have personal touch with employees. Employee incentives are designed to motivate their employees to achieve high performance and improve their attitudes towards work. Combining monetary and non-monetary rewards has the potential to satisfy the workforce intrinsically as they journey towards their self-actualisation needs.
By Gladwinnie Wangechi Ngatia