You can build a great business, but without great employees, you’re not going to grow. In fact, many of the world’s most renowned entrepreneurs cite hiring and retaining stellar employees as the key to their business’ success. But how do you make sure your A team sticks around in 2016 (and beyond)?
Here are some things you can do to keep your employees motivated this year.
An obvious point, perhaps, but one to reflect on. How would you rate yourself as a manager? Effective management is a skillset in itself, a fact people often overlook (especially if you’re just starting to build out your team).
If you’re new to management, make sure you take the time to learn how to be a good leader. Things like respect, honesty, support and clear communication are the fundamentals, but it’s worth going a step further to educate yourself on different management styles and tactics. As a starting point, check out Amazon’s best sellers on management, or read Square’s post on tips for first-time managers.
It boils down to this: If your employees respect you and feel like they’re growing under your guidance, they’ll be more loyal.
For their work to be satisfying, your employees need clearly communicated marching orders. What types of day-to-day tasks and more long-term projects do you expect them to own and execute on? How, specifically, will their performance be measured? As 2016 kicks off, make a point to meet with each of your employees to discuss your expectations and hear from them about what they’d like to take on this year.
To make this meeting as structured and productive as possible, have every employee come up with three to five top goals or OKRs (objectives and key results) for the coming year. These are the high-level milestones that they hope to accomplish by the time 2016 closes out. Each OKR should be realistic — and something you can measure. For example, your social media manager saying she hopes to increase engagement by 50% with no historical data to benchmark that goal isn’t particularly meaningful.
Instruct your employees to look to the past year’s data (taking into account any trends) to inform their 2016 goals. You can find a wealth of data in your Square Dashboard about how things have been going at your brick-and-mortar store. And, if you connect your Square account to Bigcommerce in the Square App Marketplace, you’ll be able to see historic online store data as well.
Work environment has a massive effect on how much people enjoy their jobs. No one wants to sit around in a dark, dingy back office for hours on end with clunky, outdated tools. So make sure your workspace is aesthetically pleasing, well-lit, functional and fun.
First and foremost, you need to make sure you have the right tools in place so that employees can do their jobs as efficiently as possible. That means looking to upgrade anything that’s slowing people down — including software and glacial-paced POS systems if you have a brick-and-mortar shop. Then look to spruce up your physical space. This doesn’t have to be expensive. Try featuring work from local artists or picking up interesting decorative pieces at the flea market. All these little touches will make things a lot more enjoyable for your employees.
Basic psychology: People will stay with your business if they have a financial incentive to do so. So if you want to keep your best people around, it’s worth starting an incentive program.
Perhaps you start giving out quarterly bonuses for your top performers or implement a commission structure that’s better than the competition. Maybe you offer to foot the bill for additional coursework or credentials. Whatever you decide to do, if employees know they’ll be rewarded for a job well done, they’ll be more likely to do a good job and stick around.
Jen is the online content manager at Square. She is an editor and writer with a proven track record in growing brands using targeted content strategies. She has written for Yahoo!, Fast Company, SELF Magazine and more.