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How to Keep your Employees Motivated without Pay Raises

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Quality employee performance is crucial for any small business. Therefore, it’s a necessity to keep your employees motivated and happy.

While employees are motivated with pay raises, it’s not the only (or even most important) factor in overall employee moral and happiness. Other characteristics of your business culture and management style play a larger role that will keep your employees for the long-term and avoid bankrupting your business through unnecessary pay raises.

Motivated employees

Create a Successful Hiring System

Firstly, you need to develop a great hiring system. I started a company called CRAVEBOX in 2014, which I still own and operate. I’ve hired and managed hundreds of employees over the past few years.

It’s crucial that you create an attractive job post on a job listing site like Indeed. Your job should have a competitive starting pay, a clear description of roles and tasks, and maybe pictures or a website link so the candidate can learn more about your company and the position.

Attracting plenty of high-quality candidates is important when you manage employees because you will be able to find great employees over time and let go of employees that are not a good fit. If you don’t have a path to plenty of great potential employees, you might end up trying to over-please your current employees, offer too many unnecessary pay raises, or place overwhelming expectations on current employees.

With plenty of great options accessible through your hiring system, you can manage your current employees with a more level head and allow them the space to stay or leave as they please.

Make the Job Clear and Simple

When you train and manage employees, you must present their job roles and tasks in a clear fashion. Employees want to know exactly what is expected of them and when they do, they’re happier and perform better.

I manage office employees and warehouse employees. The warehouse employees have a very simple job that only takes about 30 minutes to learn. They know exactly what to do and what’s expected of them in terms of their work quality, speed, and attendance. They are measured on those 3 metrics so they know very clearly if they’re doing well or need to improve.

The office employees have more complicated jobs that take longer to learn but the roles and expectations of the jobs are still very simple and clear. We share a google sheets document in google drive that lists exactly what they should accomplish each week. So, they know what my expectations are and if they accomplish all their tasks, they know that they’ve done a great job.

Employees don’t want to enter an unorganized environment where they aren’t sure what they’re supposed to be doing or how to do it. They want some structure and consistency. It’s no fun working for a company that changes your job or role frequently. So have a clearly defined job that stays consistent with well-defined tasks and roles.

Employee training session

Provide Adequate Training and Tools

Employees want to be able to perform their job well. They want to feel effective and confident. To make this possible, you must provide adequate training and tools.

You should have a structured training system so that when you hire the employee, you go through the steps of showing them exactly how to perform their various roles. There should also be an aspect of written manuals or videos so after you complete the training, the employee has something to refer to if they forget steps in the process.

It might be best to simply have them take their own notes as you’re showing them how to perform their various tasks. It’s important to explain clearly and slowly, and allow the employee to perform each function themselves while you’re watching.

People learn much more effectively by doing something as opposed to just watching or listening. After they’re performing well while you’re watching, you should slowly start allowing them to work alone but you still need to monitor their work frequently to check for mistakes and retrain them in those problem areas. Over time, you can continue to back away and give them regular performance reviews like you would with any other experienced employee.

You also need to provide them with all tools necessary to complete the tasks. This could be anything from a printer or scanner, to software, logins and passwords, or even funds like a company debit card. If you don’t provide the right training and tools, the employee won’t be able to perform well, they won’t feel good about what they’re doing, they’ll become frustrated, and you will likely have tension with them.

Offer Performance Incentives

It’s key to attract and retain self-motivated people and a bonus or incentive program will do just that.

For example, with my warehouse employees, we give cash bonuses each week to the 5 employees with the fastest speed for the week. This is great because it excites self-motivated people to work hard, think of ways in which they can improve, and compete to work quickly and efficiently. Not only does it improve their short-term performance but it also improves their long-term morale because they’re receiving bonuses and they know management measures and appreciates their speed and hard work.

For my office employees, I offer an annual bonus and the size of that bonus depends on their performance throughout the year. It’s not as simple as measuring a particular metric like speed for the office employees, so it’s up to my discretion to judge their performance over the course of the year. If you don’t offer performance incentives, great employees might feel like they aren’t being appreciated or that they’re not being fairly compensated for their excellent work.

Getting feedback on employees

Give Great Feedback

Providing frequent and quality feedback is so important to improving employee performance and maintaining their motivation. You should at least meet quarterly with employees to give them structured, written feedback on all aspects of their job. This is a great opportunity for you to recognize what they’ve done well and respectfully point out where they could improve. It also allows you to ask them questions to learn more about how they’re spending their time, what they like and dislike about the job, etc. It’s also an opportunity for them to ask you questions.

Without frequent feedback, an employee won’t know how they’re doing and they won’t feel appreciated for the hard work they’re contributing to the company.

Allow for Freedom and Autonomy

Freedom and autonomy is more important to employee happiness than pay rate. You must be able to clearly define the job, train the employee well, and then let them perform it with their own approach.

I don’t micromanage my warehouse or office employees. The warehouse employees know what is expected in terms of quality, speed, and attendance and if they’re reaching those metrics, they can do pretty much whatever they want. If they want to take a few minutes to text or make a phone call or take a walk outside, it doesn’t matter, as long as their performance metrics are being hit.

For my office employees, their weekly tasks are clearly defined on a google sheets file that we share and they can accomplish it however they want. If they want to take a break and surf the web or get something to eat, that’s fine with me, I’m not watching them. So there needs to be structure in the roles of the job, the training, the feedback, etc. but you must give them the space and freedom to perform their job in the manner that they please. This autonomy will retain many great employees because it’s rare.

Entrepreneurship

Eight Types of Company Missions These Entrepreneurs Think Are Vastly Overrated

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What’s one example of a common company mission that you think is overrated, and why? What should replace it?

Company mission

These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year, and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at yec.co.

1. Statements That Mention Being the ‘Best’

The missions that correspond to being the “best” are generic and overrated. Being the best there is at what you do is the pinnacle of success. If you get there, what’s next? Businesses don’t grow when they pursue excellence. They grow by making mistakes, learning from experiences and doing better next time. So, seeking continuous improvement can be a good replacement.

Jared Atchison, WPForms

2. Missions That Aren’t Measurable

Generally speaking, any mission statement that isn’t measurable can cause problems for your business. If you can’t track your progress, your statement is nothing more than words on paper (or a screen). People are more willing to get behind mission statements that focus on tangible long-term goals or aspirations.

John Brackett, Smash Balloon LLC

3. Statements That Could Apply to Any Company

Many mission statements contain generic terms that could apply to almost anyone. A common example is “We provide the highest quality service,” which is an admirable goal but doesn’t really tell you anything about what they stand for or how they deliver it. Terms such as “integrity,” “excellence” and “industry leaders” are similar. It’s better to pinpoint something more specific that you deliver.

Kalin Kassabov, ProTexting

4. Phrases About Pursuing Excellence

“We pursue excellence” is generic and overrated — not to mention, the definition of achieving excellence may vary from one person to another. What will be the metric for achieving excellence? No one knows, as not everyone in your company is on the same page. So, replacing this mission with measurable indicators like sign-ups, conversions and other growth metrics would be a good idea.

Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms

Developing mission statement

5. Missions That Mention ‘Social Impact’

Many companies use the phrase “social impact” in their mission statement, but the impact is rarely evident. For example, a clothing store may mention that it is committed to helping women in poverty, but it will still charge the same amount for its T-shirts. Instead of writing a mission statement, a company should inform customers about how they are helping the world.

Vikas Agrawal, Infobrandz

6. Missions That Call for Perfection

Nothing is perfect! I’d rather see a mission that pushes others to embrace imperfection and to strive harder to be better every day, knowing that there is such a thing as a bad day. The best thing we can do is to stop aiming for perfection and just be better than yesterday.

Daisy Jing, Banish

7. Statements That Don’t Mention Your Industry or Purpose

I think mission statements that don’t directly mention your industry or what your business does can do more harm than good. Failure to mention these details makes your message seem more like a fluff piece than an actual long-term goal for your brand. Instead, brand leaders should focus specifically on how their company will help the industry evolve.

John Turner, SeedProd LLC

8. Missions That Lack Connection

Companies should be able to use their mission statement to connect with their target audience. However, I have seen a lot of companies create mission statements that are too broad and generic. For example, “Helping businesses grow” is far too generic and does not connect with anyone. However, if it was “Helping small businesses grow with our marketing services,” it would connect better.

Sujay Pawar, Astra

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Entrepreneurship

Want to Start a Business? Read This First for a Reality Check!

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Are you going to start a business and looking for some ideas and tips? Well, you are reading the right blog post, as I will tell you what you might not want to hear, but at the same time, I will give you some reasons why you want to start a business you love – with the right mindset.

Thinking entrepreneur

I’ve heard some cynical comments about entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship; one comment says that entrepreneurs are, well, becoming one because they simply can’t get a real job. Another one says that entrepreneurs are a group of people who use their parents and/or everyone else’s money to start a business and have fun with it without thinking of returning any of it.

Some say that entrepreneurship is easy – just get a product people want and sell it for a profit. Right. Some say that entrepreneurship is overrated – you won’t make more than a decent paid job. Right.

It’s sad, really… those naysayer just don’t realise that entrepreneurs and small business are two of the most prominent factors that make the economy moving. Just ask the mentors and experts about what a community could do if small business is not supported by the Government: Crippled. Then the butterfly effect kicks in, and eventually the whole economy of a nation is brought down just because investors, entrepreneurs and business owners are not well-supported.

Yet successful entrepreneurs thrive despite all the unfavourable policies, the naysayer’s boos and jeers, and the non-supportive friends and family, who laugh at their ideas of starting a business out of their garage.

If you are considering entrepreneurship, are you ready for such pressure? You will somehow face people who question your decision jumping into the entrepreneurship bandwagon. The worse part is, those who doubt you often your closest ones – your spouse, your parents, your friends…

Are you ready?

Startups are not for the faint-hearted

We can’t deny the fact that many startups are bound to fail. Well, did you know why many startups fail? There are thousands of reasons, but one of the reasons that I think as the main cause of startup failures is false hopes.

If you are thinking of running a business as traveling all over the world at will, riding a limo sipping champagne, or doing whatever you like in your pajamas or swimming suit – I apologise, but I need to pop your balloon.

Stop dreaming. Start looking into the reality. Entrepreneurship is not easy and if you don’t have what it takes to get a business launched and navigate your vessel through the storm, you’d better get a job.

Entrepreneurship requires to be able to juggle and decide on many things: Balancing your work-life; deciding from many strategic options; choosing between a list of suppliers; and so on. Initially, you need to be able to wear many “hats” – bookkeeping/administrative, marketing, development, production, procurement, and so on.

You need to be open-minded and be prepared for open-ended outcome of your decisions; you need to be ready for any circumstances requiring you to re-focus and re-strategise in the middle of your plan.

And those perks you are having while working for a boss, you don’t have them when you are an entrepreneur: Paid leave, managed retirement planning, and so on. You are literally on your own, supporting yourself with your own resources.

Whether you are a solopreneur or the owner of multi-business ventures employing thousands of staffs while running yours while having fun doing so (like what Sir Branson is doing,) “hard work,” “perseverance” and “delayed gratification” are three of the main “keywords” defining all what entrepreneurs are doing.

Indeed, entrepreneurs are hard worker and passionate about their business. What keep them going is their passion for what they do and their love for everything entrepreneurship, starting up and business ownership.

Entrepreneur dealing with self-doubt
photo credit: Andrea Piacquadio / Pexels

If startup is so difficult, why people are doing it?

Yes, this question is asked by many who are interested in entrepreneurship. This question might be your question.

It’s a fair question: With all the hurdles you need to take on if you are plunging yourself into entrepreneurship, why bother starting up?

There are many answers, but if you asked me, my answer would be this: I love this game.

I love the search of business ideas. I love the many sleepless nights working on my business to see it grows steadily. I love the possibility for me to create something useful for the community – while giving me the lifestyle and financial independent I want for my family. I love the ups and downs of running a business – sure, failing sucks, but I can learn a great deal from it personally and professionally.

I wouldn’t trade what I am doing right now (work at home, surrounded by the people I love) with any high-paying jobs requiring me to work 12 hours a day or more; I love the freedom money can’t buy. I love a business that is built around my lifestyle, not the other way around.

Of course, I don’t love ALL aspects of my business: I don’t fancy the back office operations – bookkeeping, administrative and so on – but you can always hire someone competent to do those for you 🙂

Takeaway

Indeed, entrepreneurship is one of the most risky careers of all. Well, if you want safety and security, just get a job. But if you love the unknowns and embrace risks, entrepreneurship is a path worth walking; it’s rewarding in every sense – financially and emotionally.

So, now you know some facts about entrepreneurship. I do hope you can start a business with the right mindset; I also hope you start your journey with humility; being passionate without arrogance; taking calculated risks, not gambling; eagerness to help others when you have finally reached the top; acknowledging the fact that without God and those people around you – friends, family, fellow entrepreneurs, mentors, investors, etc. – you won’t go far.

Dream big. Start small. Just do it, seriously!

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Entrepreneurship

Measuring the Health of Your Personal Finances

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Measuring the health of your personal finances can be as simple as evaluating four simple parts about your personal finances including the way that your money is spent and the methods that you are employing to prepare yourself for the future. Use these aspects to take an evaluation of your personal finance situations and begin to learn the techniques required to up the health of your personal finances.

Borrow money

How Much do you Owe?

It is important to determine how much money that you owe in debts. The importance of the total number is sometimes surpassed by the interest rates and terms at which the debt has been accumulated. Are you facing a cycle of debt living paycheck to paycheck and using additional sources of credit to repay outstanding debts? It is important to take a plan to get out of the cycle of debt; if you have found yourself becoming overwhelmed.

Establishing a solid repayment plan that includes fifteen percent of the income, every single month to the debts in the order of most expensive to least expensive is techniques that all debtors should take into account.

Are You Living Paycheck to Paycheck?

Are you unable to find room within the budget to establish a savings account and find all of your money being spent before it reaches your pocketbook? If so, than you are more than likely one of the thousands of consumers that are living paycheck to paycheck – and this is an unhealthy indicator of your finances.

Attack your debt with a solid plan and find ways to increase your income to establish a savings account to increase the health of your finances. Use strict budgeting skills for at least one month to establish a little wiggle room in the personal financial situation and get out of the trap of living paycheck to paycheck.

Impulsive shopping is bad spending habit

Are You Spending More than You Earn?

Living outside or above your means can often be an indicator that sometime in the future the finances will be in jeopardy. When a consumer spends more than they make, this money must come from somewhere. Many people use credit to cover the shortfalls in income, which can lead to drastic mistakes being made in the finances and debt being accumulated faster than the consumer realizes. One day, many consumers wake up and realize that they are shocked to living within their means as they have run out of credit.

Go over your finances and create a budget that allows you to spend less than you earn to increase your financial health.

Have you Established a Savings Account?

An emergency fund or savings account is an essential part of the health of your finances as it in part determines the security of your future.

A savings account should be established with at least ten percent of the income every single month, which should be deposited into a high interest savings account. This money can provide an alternative to credit card use and earn money rather than charging the consumer money through the use of expensive credit cards.

Experts recommend that individuals and families have three to six months of expenses saved within the emergency fund to become truly financially healthy. Does this inspire to you start saving?

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