Staff are the bread and butter of every business, and taking care of them should be high on your list of priorities. There are the big (and essential legal) parts of being a good employer like paying enough and adequate time off, but it’s the little things that make the difference between ‘going to work’ and ‘going to work!’
These 6 tips have been recommended by Appointedd, a technology startup based in Edinburgh, Scotland. They’ve walked the startup walk and now they’re paving the way for exciting business growth, with an expanding team and big plans for the future. Here’s what they’ve learned along the way about encouraging motivation within a small team:
Listen, and listen well
Everyone likes to be heard, so give your team members the gift of your undivided attention. Even for just a few minutes, you’ll see them perk up and become more motivated before your eyes.
When you’re busy this can understandably fall by the wayside, but it’s worth making time to catch up personally with your staff for a number of reasons. Not only does it give you the chance to find out what they’re up to, but it gives them the chance to voice their thoughts and concerns without feeling like they’re bothering you.
You might think you’ve made it clear that your metaphorical door is always open, but your team might not feel so confident in coming to you as and when they would like to. Go to them, ask them if they have anything to air, and then listen.
Simple: yes. Common sense: probably. Effective: definitely.
Everyone wants to be interested in the work they do. Keep things fresh and interesting by regularly setting new goals for your staff. No need to make them oppressively huge and drive everyone to the brink with stress — in fact, since success is a powerful motivator, more achievable targets can inspire better performance.
Which is not to say you shouldn’t aim high, but for week-to-week performance imagine how unstoppable your staff would feel going above and beyond their targets time and time again.
More and more companies are embracing the fluidity that technology can bring to the workplace with impressive and intriguing results. Practices such as unlimited vacation allowances, the freedom to work remotely, and greater control over their own working hours puts a lot of trust and responsibility at the door of employees; in return, many managers find that they’re rewarded generously for this more laissez-faire attitude.
Surprisingly (for some), treating adults like adults overwhelmingly results in staff devoting more of their time and energy to their work, and producing better results. It’s almost as if being given the opportunity to work to their own rhythms and strengths makes people happier and more motivated. Go figure.
This is an oldie but a goodie: socialising and participating in group tasks and activities together can help motivate your staff as a team.
There’s a reason team-building retreats have become an industry in their own right (for better or worse). Mainly, it’s because bringing your staff together to bond and grow to like each other as people, outside their job role, fosters a better working environment and a desire to help each other.
It’s a refreshing change to the old mindset of clocking in, making bland small talk in the kitchen, and clocking out again. Just, maybe steer clear of the trust falls.
This one is similar to socialising outside work, but more to do with creating an enjoyable working atmosphere. Team rituals encourage a sense of familial loyalty among staff, just like your family’s holiday traditions. Plus, they give everyone something to get excited about during the week.
Over at Appointedd for example, we start every Friday morning with eagerly anticipated bacon rolls, and take the opportunity to catch up about the working week.
Say thank you
If you’re grateful for your team and what they do for you then you probably do this naturally anyway, but ‘thank you’ is a nice thing to hear. You’d be surprised how much it can brighten someone’s day just to know they’ve done a good job and they’ve been recognized for it.
Appreciation costs nothing but it will bring back incredible results.
Can you offer more tips and tricks to motivate startup teams? Share your thoughts with other startups, freelancers and small business owners on Twitter or Facebook.
Guest post by Appointedd, a provider of online booking and scheduling solutions for busy owners and managers of small and medium-sized businesses. Find out more about their flexible time management technology and get started with Appointedd, here.