As a small business owner, you set the tone for your organization’s corporate culture. Here is a list of ideas that you can explore to help boost employee morale and create a collaborative work environment.
- Personality tests may help you find the best fit. – Administering personality tests can benefit both employees and small business owners. Assessments such as the Myers-Briggs Personality Test will allow individuals to pinpoint their personal strengths, communication styles and decision-making tendencies. It is important to understand that there are no “right” or “wrong” results. One personality type should not be valued over another. Instead, employers can use this information to determine appropriate career paths for their team members and utilize each individual’s capabilities in the best manner possible. For example, someone whose top trait in the Myers-Briggs assessment is Ideation may be a good person to include in your brainstorming sessions. However, another team member who is more effective at Execution might be better utilized as a Project Manager. Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tendencies Quiz is another excellent evaluation tool that could be considered.
- Encourage an environment of “unitasking.” – In many small businesses, being able to juggle multiple projects is essential. However, chronic multitasking can result in more errors than necessary because employees are easily distracted and find it hard to prioritize tasks. According to career expert Lindsey Pollak, “[multitasking] also consumes more time and energy than one might think.” Therefore, try to encourage employees to work on one task at a time. You might be pleased to notice an increase in their efficiency – and they might be pleased to notice a decrease in their stress levels.
- Giving feedback is critical. – As a business owner, it is imperative that you provide employees with feedback on a consistent basis. Be sure to point out areas that need improvement, in addition to the ways in which the individual contributes to the organization’s success. It may be beneficial to establish a schedule for when you will be providing formal feedback (such as once every quarter). However, do not overlook the value and significance of providing feedback ‘in the moment’.
- Training and education. – Offering ongoing training and continuing education opportunities will allow your staff members to sharpen existing skills, acquire new qualifications and stay informed of the latest industry trends. This will help to build employee morale because it shows that you value your employees enough to invest in their career progression. In terms of funding these training initiatives, there are many low cost options available; it just requires research. Your industry’s professional organization may offer free or discounted training courses and webinars. In addition, your local Small Business Association may offer seminars that your team members can attend. You can also consider appointing a designated staff member to notify you of any upcoming learning events that may be of interest.
- Foster a collaborative team environment. –
- Create an Intranet to share documents, ideas and feedback. This is especially useful if you operate a remote business.
- Select a local charity or community service project that everyone can get behind. Not only will this benefit those in need, but it is an excellent way to highlight your company’s corporate social responsibility.
- Allocate a monthly or quarterly budget for treating your staff to lunch at a nearby restaurant so that everyone can get to know each other better.
- Employee recognition programs can foster healthy competition among your staff members and may even help generate new ideas for your business.
- Offer a Birthday Club. – BirthdayAlarm makes it simple and convenient for you to remember each staff member’s birthday. Alternatively, you could choose to recognize their work anniversary. Your gift does not have to be extravagant to be meaningful. Examples include, gift cards to a coffee shop, or to their favorite restaurant.
- Make it official. – Consider putting each staff members’ name on your company website. Your employees will be proud. This simple act also shows your customers that you value your staff and that you have a full team of experts working toward a common goal.
- Conferences go a long way. – Conferences offer the opportunity to hear from industry experts and colleagues because there are always new ideas we can learn to improve our business practices. An added benefit is that you have the opportunity to market your personal brand and business in a meaningful way. See our previous blog post on how to maximize gains and save money when attending conferences.
- Extend perks to your staff – Negotiate with your vendors and/or partner with existing customers and local companies to offer as many benefits as possible to your team. For example, your Human Resources Manager can negotiate a corporate discount for your staff at the local gym.
- Create an open door policy. – Having open lines of communication with your staff can help to foster a safe environment for them to discuss their performance and provide feedback about business operations. As a leader, having an open door policy allows you to maintain close working relationships with your staff and to gain valuable insights about your business from those who have their “ear to the ground”.
- Create a culture of work-life integration – While employees spend the majority of time at work, they also have personal lives, families and outside activities that are important to them. Consider incorporating an event like, Bring Your Kid to Work Day once per year.
- Encourage your staff to write – If your staff member gets their content published in a professional journal or a magazine such as Entrepreneur, it can not only be an excellent resume builder for them, but it can also serve as free marketing for your business.
- Have your team document their daily, weekly and monthly tasks. – By creating these process flows, your staff may pinpoint areas where they could be more efficient. It also serves as a business continuity document, particularly for businesses that rely heavily on a few team members to achieve critical tasks.
The above list is by no means exhaustive, but if you select 3-5 things to implement you may be surprised at the potential impact on staff morale, productivity and potentially profitability.