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Keys to Inspiring, Motivating, and Retaining Staff

Inspiring your employees to work hard and actively contribute to your company doesn’t require lavish bonuses or other over-the-top perks.

It does require a willingness to step outside of your comfort zone and try new things. Even though your staff reports to work every day for the paycheck that will ultimately follow, your team wants to enjoy their jobs. They want to contribute and feel valued.

When you recognize and feed that innate need, your employees will respond. They’ll work harder, be happier, serve your clients well, and keep your business humming.

Try these fail-safe tips and watch your employees transform.

  • Understand the power of praise. More employees are motivated by praise than by money, a survey by the management consultant firm McKinsey & Company found. The survey revealed that 67 percent of employees reported feeling motivated by praise, while cash bonuses inspired just 60 percent.Try praising specific employee accomplishments for maximum impact. For example, tell an employee exactly what you appreciated about his handling of a customer service complaint, or just how impressed you are with his latest completed project.

  • Foster your employees’ autonomy. Many small business owners have trouble letting go. Ignore the feelings of terror and loosen your grip anyway.The most talented workers demand autonomy, and you’ll lose them if you dictate every step. A University of Washington study discovered that autonomy was the No. 1 determining factor in employee retention. Give your employees the chance to problem solve and figure out on their own how to reach the goals you set. You might be pleasantly surprised at the ideas they deliver. To avoid missteps, schedule check-in times to discuss progress and make sure the employee has appropriate guidance. As time progresses and the employee proves himself, you’ll be able to provide more independence while keeping your peace of mind.

  • Provide flexible schedules. Employees with young children will appreciate this perk, as will those staff members who work best very early or very late in the day. Several companies have found that offering flex time boosts productivity, increases mental focus and lowers employees’ stress levels, reported Forbes.Options for flex-time include compressed time schedules, such as four, 10-hour shifts, the ability to work remotely, or allowing people to work schedules outside of traditional office hours.To ensure success, establish expectations with employees up front. You may want to keep employees on a set schedule, even if that schedule varies from employee to employee. Good communication is also essential to ensure your whole team stays in synch on projects and that individual employees feel everyone is pitching in equally.

  • Share your company’s vision regularly with your staff. Reinforcing to your employees the importance of your company’s work breeds loyalty and helps employees feel as if their work has meaning. Those two factors contribute to employee motivation, and ultimately retention. If your staff is motivated to complete work they find valuable, they’ll have little reason to look for a new job.To achieve this goal, explain the importance of every project you assign. Describe how it will affect people and how it fits into the company’s overall mission. This effort creates a sense of purpose, which will motivate your employees to succeed at their assigned projects and beyond.

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