Five Ways to Motivate Employees

Five Ways to Motivate Employees

employees cheering around conference room table

Finding sharp and talented employees for your small business is important, but it is just the beginning of building a great team. You also need to retain these employees. If you fail to keep them around, you might find yourself in a vicious cycle of hire-train-repeat (an endeavor that can be costly, time-consuming and aggravating).

One of the most important things you, as a small business owner, can do to avoid this vicious cycle is to help your employees stay motivated. Not only are motivated employees happier employees, they are also less likely to say “I quit” in response to on-the-job challenges and more likely to consistently produce high-quality work. 

What, exactly, does it take to motivate? It really all comes down to a few enduring motivational techniques. Here are five reliable ways to motivate the people who work for your small business so that they, in turn, will give your business the best that they’ve got. 

1. Provide freedom and flexibility to your team members

Whether your team is remote or working on site, the level of motivation among individual employees is bound to be higher if they don’t feel trapped by a micromanaging boss who demands a detailed account of how they spend their time each day.

Rather than concerning yourself with how many hours people are spending in front of their computers, allow them to structure their workweeks as they see fit. Does someone need to leave at 3pm to take a child to soccer practice, or put in a few extra hours on Wednesday and Thursday so they can take Friday afternoon off to tend to a personal matter (the scenarios are endless, but you catch the drift)? No problem, so long as they are holding up their end of the bargain (i.e. getting all of their work done on time). They’ll appreciate the autonomy and, in return, are that much more likely to spend their working hours in a state of focus rather than a state of clock watching.

Service-oriented businesses may find this concept less feasible, considering you can’t exactly allow retail employees or receptionists to come and go as they please. However, that does not make this motivational technique null and void for such businesses.

Consider letting employees request the days and hours they want to work rather than simply assigning shifts and time slots. Let them choose when they take their breaks. Be gracious if they need to make changes (even if those changes are sometimes last minute, because emergencies happen) and make sure they know whom to notify or talk to about needs related to their scheduled work hours.

2. Trust your employees to do their jobs

Along the same lines as providing freedom and flexibility, trusting them to do their jobs is a key piece of the motivational puzzle. Assuming you made great hires, they probably don’t need an overseer keeping tabs on them or telling them how to complete their work. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t provide tools and training when tools and training are needed (you should!). It simply means your employees will feel more motivated to do great work if they believe that their boss considers them capable. 

Practically speaking, one way to let your employees know that you trust them is to avoid looking over their shoulders all the time, demanding that they follow your processes and methodologies. Instead, concern yourself with the final product, assuming that whatever processes and methodologies they choose (within reason, of course) will lead to the results you want. As long as expectations are clearly communicated, a positive outcome is probable.  

3. Show appreciation and recognize achievements

By showing appreciation, we are not referring to a quick ‘thx’ text message sent in response to “the report will be delivered by 5pm.” We’re talking about those small but tangible things you can do to truly make your employees feel valued, like treating them to coffee, offering an extra personal day, sending flowers on their birthday, or celebrating employee appreciation day. The options are endless and they don’t have to be grandiose. All they have to be is genuine.

While you’re at it, take note of the fact that employees are also highly motivated by receiving recognition for a job well done. Did someone knock that presentation out of the park? Win over a tough-as-nails client? Solve a stubborn technology problem? Let them know you noticed. Whether that involves something as basic walking over to their desk and telling them you how much you appreciate their hard work or something as major as giving them a promotion and a raise is up to you, but the fact of the matter is you are more likely to see results like this again and again when their achievements are acknowledged again and again.

4. Give employees jobs that matches their interests and skills

Sometimes, you hire a new employee and they inadvertently wind up doing tasks that aren’t listed in their official job description (which they may or may not appreciate). Sometimes, time reveals that your sales assistant’s skills are more on par with a sales manager role or that your customer relations coordinator, despite a rock-solid work ethic, isn’t a good fit for a job that involves direct communication with customers. Regardless of the specifics, keeping someone in a job that doesn’t suit them, or one they have outgrown, is a surefire way to destroy motivation.

The remedy? Make sure all of your employees are in the right roles. Promote when the time is right, reassign people to other jobs when necessary and listen to what your employees are saying about their ideas and work-related goals. The other option, letting people languish in positions that aren’t right for them, is pretty much a guarantee that you’ll either lose good employers to other jobs or have a team full of discontented folks who are constantly counting down the minutes to the weekend.

5. Compensate your employees fairly

A Seattle business owner made headlines several years ago when he decided to phase in a $70K per year minimum wage for all employees, something that led to a significant salary increase for many of them (he cut his own salary from $1.1 million to $70K to help fund the new pay scale). Evidently, this action resulted in higher levels of productivity and job satisfaction, across the board.

This, of course, is an extreme case (few small business owners have the budget to establish this sort of compensation program). However, the reported success of this program makes the point that employees are often more motivated to do good work if they feel they are being paid fairly.

You can make this a reality among your employees by staying on top of your industry’s salary trends and making sure the compensation you offer is in range (because underpaid employees are bound to lose motivation, sooner rather than later).

This post was originally published on Five Ways to Motivate Employees on Fundbox.- Fundbox – Fundbox Forward

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Termly Acquires GDPR/CCPA Cookie Consent Banner, Turns Free Plugin Into a Commercial SaaS Product

Termly Acquires GDPR/CCPA Cookie Consent Banner, Turns Free Plugin Into a Commercial SaaS Product

Company A sells its plugin. Company B picks it up and moves forward with an overhauled version that looks and feels much different than the original. Users are outraged by the changes. It seems to be a repeating theme in 2021, almost as a rule rather than an exception.

Last month, Termly announced its acquisition of the GDPR/CCPA Cookie Consent Banner plugin. The plugin was a simple tool for adding and styling a consent banner for the front end. It is now a SaaS (Software as a Service) product that requires a Termly account to operate.

According to the team’s blog post, such changes were necessary. “Termly’s products, including the cookie consent management platform, are designed to cover the EU GDPR, the ePrivacy Directive, UK GDPR, and the CCPA. These laws require more than just a cookie consent banner to be compliant. Termly can help you build a privacy policy, create a Data Subject Access Request form, and comply with other privacy law requirements.”

In the past couple of weeks, users have taken to the WordPress.org review system, handing out 21 of the plugin’s 29 total one-star ratings. The project has over 200,000 users, so more should be expected if the general consensus is that this was a poor move by the company.

One of the complaints from users is the commercialization of the plugin. In the past, it was completely free to use. While there is still a free tier, users are limited to a mere 100 monthly unique visitors on a single domain. After hitting that limit, the banner will stop collecting consent records. The next level up costs $15 per month if paid annually.

Free and pro plans shown in the Termly pricing options for the Cookie Consent plugin.
New pricing options for the Termly service.

As Pattaya Web Services pointed out via Twitter, “GDPR/CCPA Cookie Consent Banner for #Wordpress has been purchased by #Termly and will now cost most website owners $180 per year.”

Termly must get a return on its investment. The company has developers to pay, and they have families to feed. But, I suspect the average user will not warm up to the so-limiting-that-it-is-free-in-name-only introduction level. Having to pay for features that have been free for years will not sit well with many.

Of course, there is always the option of using the old version, but Termly has no plans of maintaining it or ensuring that it meets compliance. The only alternative for small site owners who cannot afford to pay is to opt for another solution.

“I guess GDPR Cookie Consent banner, now operated by @Termly_io didn’t learn anything from [the] fiasco with WP User Avatar plugin reported by @wptavern earlier this year,” wrote user Gennady Kurushin on Twitter.

I believe they did. There are differences, and Termly’s handling of this showed a willingness to be transparent.

And, I cannot stress this enough: the new plugin is not an entirely different one unrelated to its core purpose. It was overhauled and turned into a SaaS product. At the end of the day, it is still a cookie consent management plugin — just different and costs a lot more for most users.

Unlike Dark Mode and ProfilePress, Termly did not make the changes in the dead of night. At least the company was upfront about everything. The team included an announcement in a point release two weeks before sending out the overhauled version. It disabled automatic updates so that users would not accidentally upgrade without being aware of what was coming. It even published a public blog post detailing what was happening.

Admin notice from the GDPR Cookie Consent Plugin before upgrading to 3.0.
Prior notice of upcoming changes in 3.0 and disabled auto-updates.

If anything, Termly took just about all the necessary steps it could have taken to prepare its user base. If a “right” way existed for a complete and utter makeover of a plugin, the company did as much.

That level of honesty is a bit more than we have seen in the past. The changes may still leave a bitter taste in the mouths of many users, but Termly should at least get a few points for making them in the light of day.

The result may be the same: fundamental changes in how the plugin operates, but users had a chance to ditch it or continue using the old version before anything went into effect. For some users, it may not be much, but that’s worth something.

I won’t be breaking out my pitchfork today, but I do not use the plugin. As more and more users upgrade to 3.0+ and realize they are essentially on the line for $180 per year, the reviews could get ugly.

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Signs Your Website Needs Updating

Signs Your Website Needs Updating

Featured image by McLittle Stock

When someone is searching for the goods and services your business provides you want your company to be front and center on the first page of the search results. But if your website is outdated, this will not happen. Read on for signs your company’s website needs updating.

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Marketing is essential for small businesses. Getting your name out there helps drive business. Then, by delivering positive results you improve your reputation and continue to grow.

The internet has made marketing your company both easier and harder. While reaching out is as easy as posting on your social media account, standing out from an ever-growing marketplace is a challenge. Moreover, separating yourself from the noise and differentiating your business from the competition are crucial. Only those companies that get attention attract new customers.

There are many digital marketing tools you can use to advertise your business. However, one of the most essential is SEO or search engine optimization. When someone is searching for the goods and services you provide, you want your company to be front and center on page one of the search results.

RELATED ARTICLE: HOW INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE AFFECTS USABILITY

However, SEO is only part of the equation for leveraging good search results (and getting them in the first place). That is, you need a top-of-the-line website. Zgraph Digital Marketing can design a website to properly position and promote your company. However, you may be thinking, “I already have a website. Why should I hire a company that does website design in Atlanta?” The reason is that website design is continuously changing. If you’re not current, your website is falling behind.

Here are six signs you need a new website.

Signs Your Website Needs Updating

1. It Doesn’t Work on Mobile

Smartphone use is growing at an exceptional rate and that trend appears to continue. If your website only looks good or works correctly on a desktop then you need an update. Moderns websites need to work on smartphones and tablets. If they don’t not only do you lose customers you also hurt your search engine results.

2. You’re Using Old Design Ideas

There was a period in website design where animations, flash programs, and auto-playing music were the newest in cutting-edge ideas. But modern website design tends to lean toward minimalism. What’s more, design tools such as Flash are no longer usable.

Of course, you can certainly use animation in website design through modern standards such as HTML5. However, more recent designs tend to be more understated and focused on pulling viewers’ attention toward specific content. You want your website to look modern, but an old site can look quite dated.

3. Your Website Is Slow

Semi-related to older design concepts is that a website that isn’t updated to modern standards tends to be slower. That’s because it’s not using modern programming languages. Additionally, your site could possibly be using plug-ins or other components that are not optimized for modern browsers. A website that is slow and hard to use drives visitors away.

4. Your Information Is out of Date

If you haven’t updated your business website in some time the information may not even be current. For example, you may have a new product. Or you might be offering new services your site doesn’t even list. If visitors don’t know you’re offering these things they are not going to ask. Other issues can include listing the wrong hours, listing an old phone number or email, or not referencing new locations. All of these combined can confuse customers and make you look unprofessional.

5. Your Website Is Not Generating Leads

In the end, the point of your website is to drive customer engagement and generate sales. If it is not doing this there is something wrong in terms of how it is designed and laid out. Many factors can cause a website’s search engine results to drop or customers to not be interested. A professional can help you improve your site and get customers interested again.

6. You Just Don’t Like It

Ultimately, your company website belongs to you. It should represent your mission statement and the defining ideals of your company.

There are many practical reasons to redesign a website: Your site could be based on old design ideas, or maybe it isn’t loading right. Perhaps the content is out of date or lacking.

But just because you want something different is as good a reason as any. Companies do rebrand to change their image. Moreover, new concepts such as a new logo and a freshened up website can help refocus your company on its goals and improve consumer outreach.

RELATED ARTICLE: BUILDING YOUR BRAND PRESENCE WITH SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING

Final Thoughts

The modern business world is highly competitive. This is why your company needs to be at the forefront of digital marketing and customer engagement. Your site is a centralized point for your business in the digital realm. It can serve as a hub for information, sales, and linking together your various social media accounts. A good website can be a driving force in your overall marketing strategy.

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