Inspiring Your Workforce
Motivating the team is a challenging task for small businesses. Most of the times they implement two extreme measures i.e. Rewards and Threats. Though Rewards usually helps to inspire employees, small businesses also have a constrain on budget for reward programs. Threats, by its nature, never inspires; it creates a tension and anxiety among employees, which in turn, jeopardize the work environment. In fact, overdoing any of these two measures puts the business at risk. T The key os to understand that it is not only these two factors that can help an organization to inspire its employees; there are few other measures that can be implemented to motivate the people.
Articulate the vision: This is the best way to inspire your people. Express your passions, values and emotions when appropriate, reflecting your true self. Refer to the progress made emphasizing on the history of working together. Stress on the common goals and principles you share to make them committed to your message. Use metaphors, stories and visual aids to implement a “can do” attitude. Describe a shared future by focusing beyond sharing values and identity.
Part of a larger cause: When employees feel that they are part of a bigger cause than just ‘working’, they feel more committed to the organization and the cause. A company which wants to “improve the lifestyle of men” is better than a company that “sells shirts”; A company that wants to encourage entrepreneurship is better than a ‘Business Magazine”.
Accessibility to decision makers: Ensuring a system that enables free access to decision makers / leaders instills confidence in the employees. Accessibility enables employees to bring forth issues, if any, to the management directly. It also enables free flow of ideas
Create learning environment: Nobody is perfect and a know-it-all. To do a particular job an employee need to have the relevant knowledge and exhibit relevant skills. Your organization should be encouraging knowledge assimilation and skill development. Sending employees for training, industry seminars etc go a long way in scaling up the skills.
Remain flexible: Employees spend more than 50% of their woken time on a working day with an organization. They definitely expect the organization to recognize that. They would expect the organization to be flexible in their demands, timings and attitude.
Solicit employee input: Acknowledge your people’s point of view. Let them know you have heard them and give values to their inputs. Try to understand where your people are coming from and how they can contribute to achieve the organizational goals. Ask them what they think about a particular vision and how can achieve it. Encourage your people to speak.
Be transparent: When employees get the feeling that they are shortchanged, they leave. Continuous and up to date information flow and transparency is of utmost necessity. Employees need to be aware of the activities in the organization, need to be aware of the direction of the company. They need to feel that there are no hidden agendas behind decisions taken.
Stick to your promises: What you promise, you have to deliver. There is no way an employee is going to stick around if you keep changing what you say. It is better that all promises are documented and adhered to.
Also, share positive customer feedbacks with your people to let them know that they are doing well. This will motivate them to perform even better. Finally, celebrate with your employees the achievements of your milestones. Let your people know that you care about them.