Positive Reinforcement: Making the Most of Your Employee Relations

by Thom Tracy

2 min read

Keeping your employees happy is just as important as keeping your customers happy. In a small business, you may only have three to five employees on your payroll. If one of them leaves, it could put your business in a real bind and potentially strain your chances for longer-term success. It’s important to make your employees feel appreciated, engaged and involved in daily decision making. You have a lot of tasks on your plate when you’re running a business, but motivating and incentivizing your employees is one of the most crucial.

Position Your Employees for Success

Your employees aren’t all cut from the same mold and shouldn’t be treated as if they are. Each individual has unique skills and talents; put them in positions where they can best utilize those talents. If one employee does particularly well using your cloud accounting package, put that person in charge of managing the system. If another excels in social media marketing, leverage that employee’s skills to grow that part of the business. Good managers can find ways to utilize employees’ strengths while masking weaknesses.

Acknowledge Their Management Style

Where one employee may be an outgoing people person, another is an introvert who works best when left alone. As a manager, it’s key to identify how your employees are best managed and work with them in that style. Someone who’s more extroverted may prefer to have discussions about work issues in a conference room with a room full of people. Quieter employees may wish to have work delegated and questions answered via email instead. Pushing people outside of their comfort zone too frequently can lead to frustration and disconnection.

Keep Your Office Door Open

Employees feel more engaged when they feel like they’re part of the process. Most people don’t like to feel like robots who simply execute tasks that are given to them. Ask your employees for their input on key decisions. Give them a say on prioritization of tasks. Make sure your employees know they can come talk with you whenever they need to. Removing those barriers helps everyone feel like they’re working together toward the same goal.

Give Your Employees an Extra Reward

A small token of appreciation can go a long way in making your employees feel important. If your business has been through a particularly rough stretch, or if you’ve had an extended period of success, reward your staff.

If you’re an accountant and your office has been crushed by tax season, give your employees a gift card, take them out to lunch or give them an extra day off. Many workers feel like their employers don’t understand or appreciate the work they do. If you take the time to acknowledge that a lot has been asked of them and you want to reward them for their efforts, you’ll create an environment where your employees will want to work hard for you again.

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