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Keeping employees happy, motivated and passionate about their job is more important than you might think. Working to eliminate stress not only leads to higher productivity, but driven employees can positively represent your business to customers.

Employees who genuinely enjoy their jobs are significantly more successful and self-confident. Plus, they have the effect of being able to motivate those around them.

motivate employees

Although employers can’t make every moment of the day perfect, workers who are consistently unhappy or disengaged can pollute the environment for everyone else. Here are a few ways small-business owners and managers can proactively foster happy, successful and motivated employees.

1. Hold an occasional offsite meeting

Not only is an offsite meeting a great opportunity to incorporate some type of exciting team building, but a new atmosphere can spark new ideas and increase focus. Going out-of-office will cut down on distractions and stir up excitement, breaking up the mundane workplace rhythm. The potential cost of arranging a venue hire to hold an offsite meeting might prove justifiable if the result is fresh perspectives and creative solutions from a clear-minded team.

2. Offer employee benefits

Small businesses do not always have enough funds to offer large benefits packages to all their employees, but this shouldn’t stop you from offering some unique perks. Flexibility is one of the most sought-after qualities in the office. Offering perks like an afternoon off, weekly or monthly team lunches, reasonably flexible hours or a more casual dress code might make all the difference. Be sure to ask your team what matters to them to let them know you are interested in making them feel valued and secure. Providing your team with meaningful benefits doesn’t always have to break the bank. Instead, determine what perks or benefits fit in your budget and try to meet your employees’ needs as best you can.

3. Set clear, measurable goals

One way to motivate workers is to set individual or team-based goals. Giving employees specific targets to focus on can motivate and encourage them to meet those targets — especially if they are clearly defined, measurable and achievable goals. If goals are more long-term, incorporating a way to check-in or mark off milestones can help both parties track progress. There are several goal-setting dashboards, to-do lists and apps that help businesses manage goals, so it’s not all left up to you to create.

4. Feed the people

Nobody does their best work when they are hungry. In addition, studies even show that almost 60% of employees agree that food-related perks make them happier and feel more appreciated. Actively caring about your employees’ physical needs shows that you value them as people — not only as employees. If you are going to start offering meals or snacks, be sure they are affordable and that you can continue to offer this perk — so it is more than just a one-off teaser. Keep in mind, however, that free food in the workplace is by no means a way to get out of offering a competitive salary and providing good management.  

5. Create an inviting workspace

Employees who are constantly looking for a way to escape the place they’re in are definitely not able to do their best work. One solution is to create an inspiring and aesthetically pleasing workspace that is well-lit, functional and fun — one that employees are excited to spend the better part of their day in. Depending on your company culture and business focus, collaboration and inclusivity can be really important. However, making sure there are also quiet areas for private meetings and independent thinking is equally of value. Take the time to really consider the best use of your workspace and repurpose some areas if needed.

6. Express gratitude and celebrate success

Sometimes, the little things go a long way, and all employees need is to be recognized for doing a good job. Celebrate by planning an end-of-the-week happy hour. Or bring in some breakfast treats and spend time in a morning meeting recognizing the positive contributions of deserving employees. Gathering colleagues together for a positive and supportive experience can be heartwarming and fulfilling for everyone involved, which can boost motivation.

It’s true that a job well done should be expected by you. But the act of giving your employees credit coupled with positive feedback can have a direct effect on their performance and relationships with you. Not only can your recognition and gratitude motivate others to follow suit, but it will also serve to spread good vibes throughout the office.