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Every business, large and small, needs to optimize the performance of employees. No whips and chains. Just positive stuff.
People appreciate being appreciated. Deep down, all of us crave acceptance. And recognition. That's why a simple "Thank you" goes a long way in creating renewed enthusiasm and enhancing performance.
Many other ways are effective as well or can be used in combination. Here's a laundry list of possibilities--food for thought.
1. In very small businesses, handing out a $20 bill now and then for extraordinary effort can spur even greater effort and creativity in an employee. Or give a paid day off now and then.
2. Call everyone together and recognize superior performance in front of the group. If you have weekly or monthly gatherings of employees, you might do it then.
3. Set up a bonus system to reward superior performance. You can get creative yourself in how you do this, how you select the person getting the bonus, timing, etc.
4. Set up an employee of the month program. Don't let it become routine--make it a vital part of the business. Use a plaque to which names can be added, inscribed on metal plates.
5. Make up company tee shirts and hand them out at company picnics or other functions. These can be for a stated reason, or they can be part of the way you run your business.
6. Go the extra mile. If your business is incorporated, consider giving out stock certificates to valuable employees. If parking is a problem at your place, consider putting employee names on parking places--yours should be at the end of the line, not closest to the door. If you don't have a company retirement plan, consider setting one up--you'll need professional help with this.
Other options can be effective. Put on your thinking cap and get creative. Little things that show your thoughtfulness and appreciation are often more effective than big splashes.
Whatever you do, do it with a "Thank you" to the employee. It inspires people.
Running your own business can be stressful and frustrating, especially in the early years. I know--I've been there, done that. Keeping your employees happy can help you deal with the acid burn when the cash flow is not flowing.