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You already know that you need a high rate of productivity to keep up with the competition. But how much effort are you putting into rewarding those employees that go above and beyond the call of duty for your company? What incentives are you offering to encourage even better performance?

While you may be a small business and don’t have an extensive budget for incentives, there are several low-cost ways to boost employee morale and motivate your staff to want to work harder towards your company’s success.

1. Show Your AppreciationThere are many ways to show employees your appreciation. When they perform well, they do expect some sort of recognition in return for that hard work. If you have an employee or multiple employees excelling at their jobs, make sure their performance is recognized. And never wait until their annual review to let them know you appreciate them. A few affordable ways you can show your appreciation includes:
  • Offer them a gift card
  • Provide small bonuses
  • Give them an extra paid day off
  • Take them to lunch

Or just give your employee a card saying “thank you.” It’s a low-cost but effective way of letting him or her know that you recognize and appreciate their dedication to meeting your company’s goals.

2. Have An Open Door Policy With Your Employees
Having an open door policy is another way to boost employee morale within your small business. Actively communicate with your staff, notify them of changes, and give them the opportunity to express themselves. When your employees feel like they’re in the dark, they may not feel as though the company and/or their job is stable, and may not work as hard to help you improve your business.

3. Make Schedule Changes Easier
Morale suffers when employees feel that they’re stuck in a specific schedule with no flexibility. While you cannot cater to everyone, try to make your scheduling tactics as flexible as possible. For example, allow employees who have young children to be able to take their kids to school and pick them up afterwards. Offer multiple shift types so that employees are able to pick a schedule that works for them.

4. Don’t Be So Critical
While constructive criticism is important for your employees to learn and grow, too much criticism could be taken the wrong way. Keep communication lines open, but avoid being overly critical. The fastest way to crush employee morale is to always focus on the negative without ever acknowledging small accomplishments as they happen every day. Provide positive feedback whenever possible.

5. Promote From Within
Employees will always be more motivated and will work harder if they know they have a chance to advance within your business. When managerial positions open up, offer it to existing employees before looking outside your company. Also, offer employees adequate training programs so that they have an opportunity to move into higher positions in the future. And, if there aren’t opportunities for advancement in your company, every employee appreciates growing and improving their skills. Reward them for exceptional performance by furthering their skills.

Improving employee morale isn’t difficult, and it doesn’t take a lot of money either. The higher your employee morale is, the lower your turnover rate will be as well. To unlock more secrets on how you can boost employee morale and reduce turnover rates, get your copy of Practical Tools to Manage Costly Employee Turnover today.

This article first appeared at M.J. Management Solutions, Inc.

MJ Management Solutions, Inc., is a human resources consulting firm that provides small businesses with a wide range of virtual and onsite HR solutions to meet their immediate and long-term needs. From ensuring legal compliance to writing customized employee handbooks to conducting sexual harassment training, businesses depend on our expertise and cost-effective human resources services to help them thrive.

Hiring great employees goes far beyond the relevant experience highlighted on a candidate’s resume.  Someone who is a great fit on paper might not be a great fit in other areas. I’ve shared a few questions that need answering to ensure you hire great employees.

  1. Can the candidate really do the job? Job candidates can spend hours preparing their resume and often tailor the resume to match job requirements. Don’t leave it solely up to the human resources manager to determine if the candidate can do the job. Invite a subject-matter-expert from the department or a colleague who will be working directly with the position to help with the interview process. Other effective assessment strategies include providing the top five candidates with a homework assignment that will test their fit for the position or conducting a real work scenario during the interview.
  2. Is the candidate ready to make a commitment to your company? A person who is serious about their career and working for your company will have done research in preparation for the interview. An ideal candidate will have done research to determine if they believe they are a good fit for the position. They should be able to share exactly how they match up to the position, and what their unique contribution will be. Employees are assets and each brings something valuable and unique to the company.
  3. Does the candidate have a good work history? Candidates will undoubtedly provide their best contacts as work references, but effective hiring processes should look beyond this first round of references. The Internet provides a wealth of information about job candidates, especially when looking over a candidate’s social media profiles.
  4. Has the candidate connected with the company in other ways? Great employees fit well within the company culture.  They get along with colleagues and represent the business very well when interacting with vendors, customers, and business partners.  Your best-fit candidates will find ways to connect with the company outside of human resources, such as signing up for the business newsletter, attending public events, following the business on LinkedIn, or connecting through the company blog or other social media channels.

Finding and hiring great employees takes time and is one of the most important investments a business owner can make. Find valuable resources with the Hiring Essentials Packet, your free gift when you sign up for the MJ Management Solutions Newsletter.

Now it’s your turn. What tips have you found to help identify great candidates?

Margaret Jacoby, Founder of MJ Management Solutions, Inc. provides small businesses with virtual and onsite HR solutions to meet their immediate and long-term needs. This article first appeared at

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Brooke Billingsley

Vice President
Perception Strategies

Synnovatia is a strategic coaching firm that is detailed and knowledgeable about business. i have a small business that grew from $150K to $750K because of the goal setting and resources that Synnovatia provided. It saves me years of learning on my own.

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