Smart business owners know that employees rank high on any company’s list of assets. Their productivity and ingenuity can be the critical difference between reaching new heights and closing up shop. With a limited number of team members, small businesses especially must take steps to maximize every staff member’s potential to achieve. Consider the following five actions to set workers – and, in turn, your small company – up for success:
Promote education. Workplaces that value lifelong learning tend to thrive. Employees remain engaged when given opportunities to develop. Their new skill sets add to your small business’s arsenal – a big plus in an environment where people need to wear many hats. Measures such as sending staff members to conferences or footing the bill for a class also can be competitive retention tools. Employees see that the company invests in them, which instills a sense of loyalty and reduces turnover.
Discuss goals. Continue demonstrating your investment in your employees by regularly meeting with them to talk about objectives. Such conversations stir thought about how the person’s present role affects the success of the entire company and how his or her positon could grow in the future to correspond with career aspirations. Studies show that writing down specific goals and steps to achieve them increases the likelihood of attainment, so put pen to paper to keep both of you focused.
Provide do-able challenges. While ambitious employees may be eager to tackle tougher problems, throwing them into the deep end before they’ve mastered shallower waters often leads to frustration. Instead, maintain a positive, can-do atmosphere by continually giving employees attainable challenges. Every success breeds confidence and builds the skills necessary for tougher responsibilities.
Offer support. A small business owner often gets pulled in so many directions that sometimes only the squeaky wheel gets attention. Such a set-up, however, can have dire repercussions. Employees need consistent, timely feedback in order to perform their very best. Regular check-ins catch minor mistakes before they become major headaches. Likewise, your communication reduces stress by taking the guesswork out of which activities to prioritize. This interaction becomes especially important with new hires to get them up to speed quickly and feel at ease. Assigning a veteran team member to act as a mentor can further boost comfort levels by providing an additional source of support.
Encourage downtime. Lastly, remember the importance of sufficient rest. You’ll spark creativity, increase output, and develop an energetic atmosphere conducive to success when employees receive scheduled breaks, “real” lunch hours, and time away from the office.