Illustration: Cristi Cash

You’ve found an ambitious, hard-working group of employees to help make your business a success. Now your challenge is to create a motivational, exciting, and productive workplace. As an employer, it’s important to stay aware of your employees’ feelings about their jobs, as well as establish a rewarding environment in your workplace, whether that's an office, a job site, or an online presence for remote work.

Employee Feedback

As the workforce at your company expands, you'll want to create clear, easy to access avenues for feedback and support. Even if you hire managers to oversee the day-to-day work of your employees, it's often worthwhile to establish a way for employees to communicate with you or other members of upper-level management directly.

Your employees should feel comfortable coming to you to discuss work issues. To maintain that openness as your business grows, try to arrange for regularly scheduled meetings with each employee. If you think some of them may be uncomfortable in a one-on-one meeting, try small groups.

Keep communication lines open.

Another great way to encourage relationships and open communication is to have staff meetings or lunches. Every two weeks or so, get together with your employees to review what’s happening in the business. You can include any important updates and generate discussion about new products or ideas. These meetings are also the time to let your employees offer their feedback and creative thoughts.

Your Feedback

It’s very important to let your employees know when they’re doing a good job, or when you feel that their work needs improvement.

Schedule salary reviews and make promotions at regular intervals. By promoting employees, you are showing that you reward hard work. When you do a salary review, it’s the perfect time to go over any strengths and weaknesses an employee may have. And it’s also a time to give long-term employees new responsibilities.

Give criticism behind closed doors. A working environment should be positive, so while public praise is often a good idea, criticism should remain a private matter.

Financial Incentives

Even if you already have retirement and health plans in place, or match your employees’ contributions to their retirement plans, there are additional ways that you can provide employee incentives. You can offer a profit sharing plan. Basically, that means that you pay a certain percentage of your company’s profits to your employees. If your profits are less than you anticipate in any year, or if you need the money to expand, you can always skip a year.

Many companies offer stock options or stock appreciation rights to their employees. If the company goes public or is sold, the employees share your financial success. You’ll need professional help to set up a plan such as this, but you may find it’s a great loyalty builder.

Finally, you can create an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP). With an ESOP, you create a trust fund for existing shares of stock and establish individual ESOP accounts for your employees who choose to participate in the plan. You contribute shares to those accounts based on a formula you set up. You can use an ESOP to give your employees bonuses and incentives or as part of a 401(k) or other retirement plan.

Developmental Incentives

A developmental program that helps employees continue to grow and improve is a great benefit to the company and its employees. You can arrange for on-the-job training or workshops as often as once a month or more scattered throughout the year. Another option is to pay for employees to take online courses in areas specific to their job and future goals.

A mentorship program can help younger employees learn the ropes and get advice from their older, more experienced colleagues. You can implement this type of structure by matching up two people in the same division of your company, one with many years of experience and one who is just beginning their career. Encourage these mentor groups to meet often, even if it's just for a casual lunch. The more comfortable this relationship, the more helpful it will be for new employees.

Additional Incentives

As employment rates steadily increase, there’s increased competition among businesses to find and keep employees. Additional incentives can go a long way toward impressing your workers, which can boost your retention and engagement at work.

If you're employing a large number of working parents, finding a way to assist with the costs of child care may be a wise choice, whether that is an in-office daycare or a stipend to help support working parents. There may be other small business owners nearby who would be happy to collaborate on providing these services, which can help make them more affordable.

Although it may be costly, it’s important to keep the technology in your office as up to date as possible. Not only will it make it easier for employees to do their work if they won't be using slow or outdated machines, but it can impress employees with your commitment to them.

Additional boosts to improve the work environment, such as providing snacks in the break room or kitchen, yearly or seasonal retreats, and holiday celebrations, can take everything to next level and show that you value your employees and want them to stay as long as possible.

Disclaimer
While we hope you find this content useful, it is only intended to serve as a starting point. Your next step is to speak with a qualified, licensed professional who can provide advice tailored to your individual circumstances. Nothing in this article, nor in any associated resources, should be construed as financial or legal advice. Furthermore, while we have made good faith efforts to ensure that the information presented was correct as of the date the content was prepared, we are unable to guarantee that it remains accurate today.

Neither Banzai nor its sponsoring partners make any warranties or representations as to the accuracy, applicability, completeness, or suitability for any particular purpose of the information contained herein. Banzai and its sponsoring partners expressly disclaim any liability arising from the use or misuse of these materials and, by visiting this site, you agree to release Banzai and its sponsoring partners from any such liability. Do not rely upon the information provided in this content when making decisions regarding financial or legal matters without first consulting with a qualified, licensed professional.
It never hurts to ask. Aspire Credit Union has finance professionals eager to help with your next adventure.