A Happy Employee is a Productive Employee

English: Ken Olsen's primary concern about cus...
English: Ken Olsen’s primary concern about customers and employees “Our Employees are our greatest Asset” was distributed on a coffee mug, to encourage all employees. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Business owners cannot afford to forget how important it is to inspire, motivate, and empower their employees, especially in tough economic times.  Great business owners value loyalty and know that they have a responsibility to edify and encourage their employees.  Bad business owners forget that their support staff needs their support, too.

Great leaders know how to inspire and motivate their employees.  They work to create an environment that supports, develops, and expands employee creativity and productivity.  They encourage initiative, nurture decision-making abilities, and supply their employees with opportunities to be successful.

Here are several ways business owners and managers can encourage and motivate their employees:

1.  Keep the lines of communication open.  Be open about expectations and willing to listen to suggestions or problems.

2.  Freely give praise when deserved.  Don’t be one of “those bosses” whose employees only hear from them when they have made a mistake.  That’s encouraging.  Acknowledge when your employees have done a good job, and be intentional about letting them know that not only do you value their contributions, but you value them.

3.  Implement a system of rewards or an incentive program to recognize employee contributions.  Bonuses are great.  In tough economic times, however, it may be impossible to reward an employee adequately with a bonus.  You can also give gift cards, extra vacation time, or even treat them to lunch as a thank-you for their hard work.

4.  Be a coach, not a dictator.  Coaches provide feedback and encouragement in an effort to help develop a person’s skills.  Dictators just want the job done their way and don’t care if a person becomes better.

5.  Don’t throw an employee in the deep end.  Before giving an important task to an employee, make sure that they have the right skills, knowledge, and resources to complete the task well.  Failing at an assigned task because it is beyond their expertise or ability will do nothing to motivate or empower an employee.

What are the best ways that you have found to encourage and motivate your employees?  Do you do ENOUGH to encourage and motivate them?