Motivate Your Employees

SCOREThis article is provided by the Greater Scranton Area SCORE chapter.

Small business owners are not always the best employee motivators. They are often so wrapped up in operational issues that “people skills” fall short. If your business already has employees or plans to hire some, these individuals will be critical to your success. And aside from handling all of the legal, tax, insurance and other employer paperwork responsibilities, you also need to learn how to elicit good results from your employees without micromanaging every detail of their workday.

Most business owners have delegated work to an employee, only to find a finished task or product that’s nothing like what they envisioned. In most such cases, the culprit is simply poor communication.

It’s important to have direct contact to make your message clear. Some owners try to save time and manage by email. That works only to a point. But direct contact builds trust and rapport.

Establish your business “mantra” and keep repeating it. Don’t assume that everyone involved in the business understands and buys into the mission as you do. After all, you’re the one who created it, not them. They haven’t lived and breathed every detail as you have.

Here’s one simple step to make certain you communicate clearly. Instead of asking if an employee understood your instructions, ask what specific steps the person will take to complete the task. That way you can be absolutely certain they not only understood, but also plan to complete the assignment in an appropriate way.

Avoid constantly criticizing employees. That hurts morale and can make people less motivated. If you highlight the positive and correct mistakes without getting personal, employees are more likely to deliver what you want.

Strive to be a visible manager. Sure, all business owners are busy. But the people who work for you deserve your attention. Carve out some time for one-on-one as well as group meetings. Offer your undivided attention to demonstrate to others that they are a priority in your business.

For additional planning help for your small business, contact SCORE “Counselors to America’s Small Business.”  SCORE is a nonprofit organization of more than 10,500 volunteer business counselors who provide free, confidential business counseling and training workshops to small business owners.  Call (570) 851.1608 or visit to contact the Greater Scranton Area SCORE Chapter.