Getting ready to hire your first employees? Congratulations! You’re contributing to the long-standing role of small business as the primary generator of new jobs in the U.S., not to mention enhancing your locality’s own economic profile and your customer service capabilities as well.
There’s no shortage of administrative issues you’ll have to consider—payroll, work hours, operational procedures, etc. But you should also think about how you’ll keep your new found staff motivated so that they’ll continually give their best effort and keep your small business growing.
Just providing a paycheck won’t be enough. Business experts say that recognition and involvement are critical to keeping employees inspired to give 110 percent. For the owner, that means you have to commit to communication from the outset.
For example, make sure each employee has a clear understanding of his/her responsibilities, performance expectations, and how they’ll be evaluated. Some of this should’ve been conveyed during the interview process, but some other things may have come to mind after offering the job. Meet with the employee to review everything on that first day to make sure nothing was misinterpreted or forgotten.
Over time, you need to find a balance between being visible and letting them do things on their own. You don’t want to hover unnecessarily, nor do you want to assume the employee is doing the right thing.
When there’s a success, make sure the employee is immediately rewarded. It need not be cash; some extra time off or dinner on you for his/her family can go a long way. If there is a problem, don’t criticize. Instead, work with the employee to determine how it happened, and what will help prevent a reoccurrence. It may well have been a one-time goof or something inherently wrong in the work process.
Make the employees feel part of a team by encouraging their input for changing or improving processes, or adding new products and services. Regular meetings are fine, but impromptu discussions may prove more productive. Similarly, group meetings may save time, but some employees may respond better to a one-on-one discussion.
To learn more about human resources issues facing your small business, contact Raleigh SCORE. We provide free, confidential business mentoring and training workshops to small business owners. To schedule a free appointment with our experienced counselors, go to http://raleigh.score.org, or call us at 919-856-4739.