Small businesses don’t have the liberty to put in place an expensive and time taking process of motivation and performance enhancement to improve the performance of their employees and in turn improve business profitability. They have limited resources in terms of man power and money and they need to make the best of them.
Let’s take a closer look at what needs to be done to improve employee performance and that too without spending too much money into the proceedings.
Improve Employee Performance
According to a recent Gallup survey, small businesses are finding it difficult to hire qualified employees. There are many reasons for this state of affairs and the inability to hire the right employees’ means there is a good chance that underserving people are hired, the kind that have no motivation for the job at hand. A few wrong choices have the potential to spoil the atmosphere at the workplace, affecting the performance of even the high performance employees, resulting in loss of productivity.
The first thing you must do is focus on hiring the right people. Don’t compromise on talent. It’s only talent that can offer rich dividends in the long run.
Effective collaboration between employees is one of the reasons for organizational efficiency and success. The ability of employees of an organization to communicate proactively and purposefully with one another has been seen to improve their individual performance. The question is, how do you improve the process of collaboration on a budget? Simple Really! Divide your employees in teams of twos and threes. People working in a team begin to understand each other and learn to communicate with one another; their confidence and skill sets also begin to rub off on each other, which improve their performance.
As a part of a team, they cannot only collaborate effectively amongst themselves but also with other team and their members.
Building a Personal Connect with the Organization
Your employees must be made to feel they belong to the organization. For a small business, it’s of paramount importance that the relationship between an employee and the organization transcends the professional and borders on the personal. The simple process of sending a personalized email to the employee commending their performance or wishing them on an important occasion can set the ball rolling in this regard. Also make sure that you interact with each one of your employees on a one-to-one level to get an idea of how they think and their expectations from the organization. You must also make it a point to tell them how important their contribution is, for the organizations success.
Offer the right perks
Know what your employees want and try to come good on their expectations. A few days ago I came across this interesting Career Builder survey on most wanted office perks, and realized that much of what that really motivates an employee to work harder doesn’t require a large financial investment on the part of the employer. For example 59% of the participants believed a flexible schedule was the perk they needed to motivate themselves to perform better. Now, small businesses, due to the very nature of their small size and limited footprint are best placed to offer flexible working hours to their employees. It just requires careful planning and very little investment. If this isn’t an idea for improving employee performance, then I don’t know what is!
Learning and Development
Improve the skillsets of your existing workforce by implementing a continuous process of learning and development. This is again something that won’t take up a lot of money, if you identify people from within the workforce to take up the responsibility for training. For e.g. somebody with a good amount of experience in a particular facet of work can give training to new hires with zero experience in that particular aspect.
Of course, you will need to also make sure that you hire experts to handle certain specific learning and development requirements, but you can always do so on a budget.
Wrapping it up
If you want your small business to become a profitable entity, you must focus on your employees. At the end of the day, it is your workforce that is going to perform their various activities that are going to help your business survive and grow in a highly competitive market. If you want profits, your employees must perform and for this they must know you care about them. Small businesses are characterized by their lack of red tape and endless hierarchies. This must be put to good use to initiate steps for improving the performance of your employees. The idea is to think creative, think different, and adopt an employee centric approach towards improving their performance. See them through the prism of their personal skill sets, attitude and behavior and not through the prism of the business and its profitability. This will definitely help you improve their performance and that too on a budget.