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Employee Motivations

John Nelligan


Many small to medium sized business owners have focused on keeping their businesses afloat during the recession period with a small number showing growth potential. Through this their employees have endured possible job losses, pay reductions, freezes on personal development and training.

Some low-cost approaches can be considered – some of which could attract government and local funding for leadership and skills development to your business:

1. Its Good To Talk – Communicate with your employees at all levels of the organisation. Take the time and organise ‘town halls’ to brief all of the employees verbally of your business status, plans and vision. Set aside some time for you or your senior management team to hold one-to-one sessions with your employees to discuss your vision and ideas.

2. Thank Them – Often the courtesies we expect in our personal lives work successfully in the workplace too. Thank Your employees personally for their support during the recent trading period. Recognising individual achievements as well as collaborative ones can motivate and galvanise individuals across the whole organisation.

3. Promote Their Ideas – Many businesses operate an Employee Idea scheme where adopted ideas are recognised and rewarded through prizes and internal publications.

4. Treat Them – Many small businesses set aside Friday mornings for company sponsored breakfasts. Other have taken employees out for dinner.

5. Training – Whilst freezes on training budgets are an established form of cost control, small businesses often miss the opportunity to obtain matched funding in certain sectors to enable their employees to be trained or professionally developed.

6. Take Their Pulse – Many small to medium sized businesses do not conduct employee surveys. These, when properly constructed, communicated and executed are excellent tools to gauge employee morale and for capturing employee needs, ideas and aspirations.

7. Loosen The Ties – Health & Safety permitting, consider introducing ‘dress-down’ days for all staff where uniforms or suits are not expected to be worn – many businesses set aside Friday’s as their ‘dress-down’ day.

8. Be Charitable – Even in difficult times, individuals show great empathy towards charitable needs. Consider introducing a company-sponsored charity to the organisation – a charity which may benefit from your line of business or one that the majority of employees favour. Some businesses offer a ‘matched’ scheme where all employee contributions to the charity are matched by the business. Many of the charities offer workplace related fund-raising schemes and can support business owners in setting the schemes up.

In all of the above cases, business owners need to be mindful of the diversity of their employees, their health & safety and any tax issues for all company individuals involved.

Many of the above approaches can be subject to government and local grant funded. With Business Doctors being accredited with funding agencies, implementation and support of the approaches discussed can be achieved with smaller expenditure that businesses may entertain.

With all things being considered, adoption of some of the above could add to your workplace becoming a more fun, inspirational and proud business for your employees (and your customers) to be associated with.