As a small business owner, you may not have the funds to provide big perks like Hawaiian vacations or new cars, but there are plenty of other simple ways you can motivate your workforce. From improving the overall look of the office to creating meaningful career paths for inspired employees, there are many changes you can make to motivate your team to do their best work.

Let’s look at some tips that any small business owner can implement today.

Improve Office Culture

Since people spend at least a third of their day at work, you need to create a welcoming environment with a solid office culture that is diverse and celebrates inclusion. Management should have an open-door policy, so if anyone ever feels out of place or alienated, they can voice their concerns without fear of repercussions.

Part of having an inclusive and welcoming office culture is promoting teamwork across all departments. Every team member must understand how their individual role impacts the company overall. That feeling of importance will create more motivated and efficient employees.

One of the best ways to create this camaraderie is to host team-building exercises outside of the office where everyone works towards a common goal. This activity could be anything from a charity walk to something more extreme, like rock climbing at the local gym.

Even the design of your office can make a big impact on employee morale. It has been shown that lighter and brighter environments make for more productive workers, so open the shades and switch over to lighter LED bulbs. The color of your office also can make an impact, with green being a typical color of choice due to the feeling of balance it provides.

Perks and Benefits

Of course, employee perks, benefits, and treats can create some of the best motivation in the office. These are the little things that employees go home and tell their families about at the end of the day. If you can afford to offer good health, dental, and vision insurance, then do so as many employees count on those benefits and may look for another job if they don’t get them.

One of the best perks you can provide is a flexible schedule. Many employees have children and other people they take care of, so if you can allow a later starting time or longer lunches for appointments, then your workforce will appreciate your willingness to promote a positive work-life balance. If the work you do allows it, you might also consider letting employees work from home so they can perform their jobs while spending more time with family.

Even if you cannot afford to provide these bigger gestures, most businesses have some money in the bank for the smaller perks. Even something as basic as buying them coffee on a random Wednesday or catering lunch after the completion of a big project can be incredibly memorable. Just show them that you care and appreciate them when you can, and they will show the same sentiment through their work.

Give Them Something to Work For

There are a million different jobs out there, so to keep your best employees at your location, you need to show them that they have something to work towards. They may be happy in their current role, but at some point, they may want to advance, so talk with them, ask about their ambitions, and set up a career plan over the next several years, so they know what they are working towards. Otherwise, they may look for advancement opportunities somewhere else.

Mundane, repetitive work can also crush the spirit of your employees. Try to automate repetitive tasks so they can spend their time on more meaningful projects. Examples include implementing automatic invoicing or creating rules in Outlook to sort out emails, so they aren’t swimming through unnecessary messages to get to the important stuff. If employees are bored, they may spend that time looking at other job listings.

Finally, make sure to communicate with your employees on a regular basis. Don’t wait until their annual review to see how they are feeling and offer the support they need. When they do a good job, tell them so. And if they make a mistake, offer constructive criticism and never talk down to them.

An employee can easily see the difference between companies that work towards a more motivational workplace and those that don’t. Make a noticeable effort, and your employees will stick with you.

Noah Rue is a journalist and content writer, fascinated with the intersection between global health, personal wellness, and modern technology. When he isn’t searching out his next great writing opportunity, Noah likes to shut off his devices and head to the mountains to disconnect.

Employees stock photo by nampix/Shutterstock