How to motivate an employee in a small company?

How to motivate an employee in a small company?
  1. What is employee motivation?
  2. Here are some custom motivation suggestions based on human needs

A small enterprise cannot afford to acquire and retain employees at the level of remuneration offered by corporations. The modern, highly competitive big business market attracts young talented people with high wages, fast careers, and many bonuses. However, there are people on the labor market who prefer to work in small businesses. When asked, they emphasize that only there they have a real impact on the company's development, they feel appreciated and can count on a family atmosphere there. The salary level is very important, but it is not the only motivation factor. So what tools other than payroll should be used to motivate employees?

What is employee motivation?

Management is a process regulating the behavior of employed (engaged) people so that their actions contribute to the achievement of the company's goals. It is a mechanism that regulates and activates a person's behavior. The employee is motivated by the internal state that causes him to be convinced of the rightness of a given action.

Why do employers need to motivate their employees at all? This state is due to the divergence of goals. The company is focused on maximizing profit with minimum costs, and the employee as well, but personal profit with the least amount of work. An employee's profit is a cost for a company, and therefore something that reduces its economic efficiency. Both sides must therefore understand their expectations and seek common ground of understanding.

Here are some custom motivation suggestions based on human needs

The starting point is to make people aware of a very obvious fact (unfortunately often forgotten by employers) - each employee has their own individual personal needs that determine their professional activity. They are different and change over time. When creating a range of motivation tools, it is important to get to know the situation of colleagues well, and the motivation system should be based on the hierarchy of their needs. Maslow's pyramid of needs will help in this. An employer who knows his employees well knows at which level of the pyramid their needs are and can select motivation tools more accurately.

Physiological needs - incl. the need for sleep and rest. The employee will not work effectively if we do not provide him with adequate time to rest. It is not only about statutory free time, but also additional time, e.g. for relaxation or a meal. Here corporations win with small companies - in order to prevent a drop in motivation and departures of specialists, they offer them an additional "vacation for professionals" (paid, of course). A good example is the American company Clif Bar (producer of the legendary Clif Bar energy bar, also available on our market), which gives employees a special full-paid leave of 6 to 8 weeks after 7 years of work.

What can a small business do? Unable to afford the cost of additional leave, it can offer additional breaks during the working day. The time of such breaks should be flexibly selected by the employees themselves. If the production and production regime does not allow such flexibility, we can extend the time of breaks or increase their number. In small companies, employees appreciate the freedom that their bosses give them in this respect - an employee can often flexibly control his time. A good motivator is additional free time to settle your personal matters - in a corporation or office, every minute has to be worked out even with a vengeance. A good example in this regard is one of the most famous Polish brokerage companies (a medium-sized family company - the name is not given due to the owners' reservation), which tolerates late or early departures for half an hour (sometimes the management agrees to more ) without having to work off, additional time for a lunch break without extending the working time. Employees have clearly stated that they can use such a bonus, but they have one condition - the work is to be performed on time and reliably. The company has been successfully operating on the market for nearly 20 years.

Safety needs - It is important for everyone to work in good and safe conditions. Work safety is not only a matter of health and safety regulations. There is more and more talk about the friendly environment in which we work. For several years, new high-standard office buildings have been springing up like mushrooms. We hear corporate praise for how good the working conditions are there, but when we look so closely at the working conditions, not everything is so good. After a long time, employees complain about various ailments related to air conditioning, artificial ventilation, the lack of openable windows, location in the vicinity of busy streets, standardized, monotonous office equipment - there are many negative examples. It happens that corporate employees say that if it was up to them, they would arrange everything differently. Such a place is treated as an obligation that must be fulfilled and you do not feel connected with it, which reduces the feeling of loyalty to the company. What can a small company that cannot afford modern offices or production halls do? It can win with its location - perhaps in an old office building, tenement house or house, but surrounded by beautiful greenery, away from the street.

Need to belong (social need). Relations between colleagues are an important motivator. A good boss watches closely and observes whether they are friendly or whether there are internal conflicts and animosities. Of course, we have a number of formal regulations to protect employees in this regard, but it is also about informal relationships. The bad atmosphere may not only cause high absenteeism of employees but also the departure of good specialists, despite the bonuses offered to them. If an employee is rejected by the team, it can reduce motivation and, as a result, reduce work efficiency. The employer should prevent such situations and integrate employees.

Need for recognition (valuation, respect). A wise employer always shows respect for the tasks performed by employees, appreciates their efforts and efforts. Of course, the biggest motivator will be a promotion, a bonus, a raise. But not only that. At this level, it is important to recognize the ambitions of employees. A small company, not having many financial possibilities, should involve employees in the process of assigning additional tasks requiring special skills. Ambitious employees with specialized skills should be assigned more difficult tasks so that they have a chance to "prove themselves". An ambitious worker will get tired, and even frustrated when performing the same simple activity that is monotonous over and over again.

Self-actualization needs - are we at the top (company and employees)? The employee's personal goals and ambitions can also be achieved with the participation of the employer. Here, too, a small company can find a field to show off. The starting point is to show the employee the sense of the assigned tasks, their impact on his self-development, and acquiring new skills. Various strange reports are a good example. Most of the employees do not understand their purpose, they have the impression that they are invented on purpose so that employees do not get bored. In order to motivate an employee to perform them, it is necessary to show what benefits they can gain from this task, e.g. what new skills they can learn or what additional competencies they will acquire. Moreover, in the process of motivation, the existence of the need for recognition can also be used - ask the employee to try to evaluate the collected data and make a recommendation for the company, appreciating his professional experience and creativity.

The presented methods of motivating employees are only one of many proposals. They show that the motivation system is not the domain of a corporation, but even a duty of every employer. There are many more methods, it is important to think about them and start implementing them, treating employees not only as a resource but above all as partners.

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