As the owner of a small business, maximising your potential is important and, as we know too well, underperforming employees is the greatest cost to any business. If a member of your team is disengaged, you are literally paying money for nothing. If there are other members of the team that can pick up the slack it’s not as bad as it could be, but as part of a small team where each person’s contribution is vital to the end result, it presents a major problem.
When one person doesn’t pull the weight, it not only sabotages their own performance but also the business as a whole. But should fault always be squarely laid at the employee’s doorstep? Could it be that there is a deeper underlying issue and seeing off that one employee only treats the symptom, rather than the condition? As a leader, it is up to you to ensure that your team is motivated, engaged and performing to expectation.
Addressing Poor Motivation
If there is a concern about a lack of motivation amongst your team, then first look to find out why before jumping to any rash conclusions. Could it be that your employees simply do not feel challenged enough in their role? Are they becoming disengaged due to the fact they have little to no variation in their day? There is all manner of explanations why employees might be demotivated.
Hold an informal discussion with your team, asking about their role and if there is anything they would change – not just about their own job, but also the business as a whole. Not only will you come away better informed, but your team will also come away feeling positive that their concerns are being listened to.
The best teams are when each member knows and understand their role, working towards their own individual strengths to form a well-oiled machine. As a small business owner, the introduction and/or departure of an employee can seriously upset the balance, so it is important to be proactive as opposed to reactive.
To get the most out of any team building events or activities, they don’t have to centre solely on work. In fact, they should be completely removed from the workplace altogether. They should be fun, engaging and productive where everyone comes away with a smile on their face having learned something about themselves, as well as the other members of their team.
For example, if you are planning a team building event in the festive period, you can plan a series of fun activities for any Christmas corporate event. Equally, a work’s Easter egg hunt around the office may also make for a fun afternoon before the long bank holiday weekend!
If a lack of opportunities is the core reason as to why there is a lack of motivation in your team, could it be because you are refusing to delegate responsibility? As a small business owner, it can be hard to let go because, after all, it is your baby that you have built from the ground up, but not allowing others to take the ball and run without can have an air of distrust about it.
Show your team that you trust them by giving them responsibility which, in turn, will also free up part of your day that you can spend on looking to drive the business forward. Do not continually look over their shoulder, because that will be counterproductive. You might just find that you have a better team than you actually give them credit for and productivity and performance will enjoy a healthy spike.
Running your business is more than a normal 9-5 job, so when you have employees that are not performing it will be a cause for concern. Take a step back and assess why they might be underperforming and address any underlying issues before taking drastic action.