A good job where you are excited to wake up Monday morning is hard to find, but every entrepreneur knows a good employee is even harder to keep. As an entrepreneur, one must ensure his or her company is staffed with people who look forward to coming to work every day for more than a paycheck and at our companies we strive to surround ourselves with colleagues who love Mondays as much as Fridays.
Through the years, I found that it was easy to keep employees motivated – all I had to do was provide them with a leader worth following and tasks worth fulfilling, but as easy as this sounds if it is done without consistency and without truly wanting it, it will always fail. After almost nine years in business, I still find myself searching for new ways to maintain productivity while providing each individual with the drive they need to perform to the best of their ability.
An employee who enjoys coming to work is a worthy investment. Here’s some of the ways I do it:
Encourage laughter. Laughter is contagious, so help spread the joy.
Manage everyone individually. Everyone is different, but some are so different that they may require a personalized management style. Knowing your employees on an individual basis is the only way to know how to manage them effectively.
Allow pets at work. My dog Rylee (Chocolate Lab) comes to the office every day, and all of my employees are welcome to bring their pets to work. Pets make people happy and bring a sense of companionship to the office. And yes you can and should have rules like no accidents in the office.
Celebrate personal milestones. About seven years ago, as a company of fewer than 10 people, we celebrated each employee’s birthday, work anniversary, engagement and even personal milestones. Today, as a company of over 100, we still celebrate these milestones. It never gets old.
Support new ideas. When employees come to you with an idea or a solution to a problem they believe is for the betterment of the company, it’s a sign that they care. Supporting new ideas and giving an individual the chance to ‘run with it’ is motivating, whether or not it works out in the end.
Don’t let them become bored. I get bored easily, so I assume my employees also have a short attention span. Host an end of the month dip-off, plan a happy hour, start a push-up contest in the middle of the office, host yoga classes weekly, or allow a different person to run the weekly meetings to break up the monotony.
Empower each employee. Every single individual contributes to the bottom line. Empowering them to excel in their role, no matter how large or small, creates a sense of ownership that will lead to meeting and exceeding expectations.
Encourage friendly competition. A competitive environment is a productive environment. Encouraging employees to participate in competitions or challenges is healthy and may actually lead to increased camaraderie.
Reward accomplishments. When a pat on the back or a high five just won’t do, monetary incentives always seem to hit the spot.
Start a tradition. This year we kicked off our first annual talent show called “JBC’s Got Talent”. We also host an annual Thanksgiving potluck. Every holiday season around our annual holiday party we bring cheer and warmth to a Title I School in the Bronx. Dressed as Santa and his workshop of elves and snowman (and snowladies), we shower 1000 children with gifts for the holidays. Start a tradition and keep it going.