Supporting Your Small Business Team

One of the most important steps for any small business is to hire the right employees. After a while, you will be able to set up a group that you trust. For your business to be successful and stand out, turn this group of employees into a winning team where everyone works together.

However, doing so can be challenging. After all, a team is usually made up of people with different personalities and who think differently. How do you get everyone to share a common purpose and growth goals?

The secret is to value and support your team, encouraging them to work together and care about the company. With a clear objective, a little patience, and following a few steps, you’ll have all the tools to build a winning team for your small business. When you support your team, they are much more likely to support your business in the process.

Staff Appreciation Days

Show your employees that you value staff achievements with special days, even celebrating small victories to motivate them to continue pursuing goals. Plan fun activities to celebrate achievements or festive dates, such as Employee Appreciation Day (usually celebrated every year on the first Friday in March). Many companies adopt summer Fridays, offering half days or full days off on Fridays between Memorial Day and Labor Day. 

Others invented creative awards to recognize employees’ work or non-work contributions. Another idea is to invest in happy hours, providing drinks and snacks for the last hour of a Friday afternoon. Whatever you do, the important thing is to keep the team connected and motivated, making them care for each other and value the time they spend together.

Utilize Grants

To be successful, an employee may need appropriate tools. Sometimes, this involves putting a long-delayed project into effect. Applying for grants can support a team member’s project, and you can also use grant funds to motivate the team by allowing ideas to come to life.

In essence, grants for small business owners are resources granted by an organization for a specific purpose. Unlike commercial loans, you don’t need to repay the money later. The competition is huge, there’s a lot of requirements to be fulfilled, and it will be necessary to present a very well-founded project to be eligible to receive the resources.

With a bit of research, you can find numerous government or corporate grants, each with its own requirements for project applications. As it is a lengthy process, it’s good to take some time to understand the particularities of each one before trying to apply. Start by looking for state and local grants, which generally have less competition than federal funds. A good tip is to keep an eye on, an initiative by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that allows you to locate several grants offered in the country quickly.

Allow Time Off

Especially in post-COVID-19 times, it can be good for the whole team if you allow them to take time off when needed. A recent survey found that employees of companies that encourage vacations are much happier with their jobs than employees who work in companies where the practice is discouraged by management (68 percent vs. 42 percent). 

Here are some benefits of allowing your employees to take time off:

  • Increase Productivity– A work routine becomes monotonous after some time. Employees may become uninterested and unmotivated. Taking time off allows them to focus on other things (family, hobbies) and get back to work with renewed energy.
  • Decrease Stress– It’s not easy to maintain a healthy balance between personal life and work, especially when the latter’s demands are very high. A few days off can be all the employee needs to relax and focus on stress management.
  • Prevent Exhaustion– Burnout is the term used to designate the state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive stress. It’s often more common than you think, and you may have gone through it yourself without realizing it. If employees feel or look exhausted, it may be an excellent time to give them a break and a chance to focus on their physical and mental health.

Hire Properly

Have you adequately assessed your company’s staff? Hiring the correct number of employees is essential to maintaining a good balance. If you have too many people, there may be moments when certain employees are left with nothing to do and consequently frustrated or bored. If there are too few people, the opposite will happen, and the smaller team will be overloaded.

The size of the company is a determining factor in the number of employees you need. Start by establishing the essential positions to calculate the smallest number of employees to run the business productively. You can also use temporary workers for peak seasons that require more productivity instead of hiring and training new employees who can remain idle for the rest of the year.

If you are unsure of the best team size, ask an experienced entrepreneur in your industry for advice. You can also study your competitors to find out how many employees they usually maintain. Make adjustments along the way and ask your employees for feedback.

Promote Professional Development

Encouraging employees to pursue professional development doesn’t automatically mean finding a different job and leaving your company. As a business owner, you should encourage your team to grow. After all, the modern business world changes quickly, and everyone needs to stay current.

Most companies invest in specific training here and there. It’s important to highlight the need to seek specialization in the area, whether in micro-learning options or even pursuing a graduate degree. Consult your team about their expectations regarding professional development as there are many options available such as lecture events with experts or taking online courses.

A creative way to encourage the pursuit of education is to start within the workplace. Some companies promote the so-called “lunch-and-learn,” which is an informal lunch promoted for employees and followed (or preceded) by a presentation from a specialist, creating an informal environment to exchange ideas and creative discussion.

A Winning Team is Built with People

Some entrepreneurs form a solid work team quickly. However, for most, a winning team only emerges after time, patience, and even trial and error. Remember that your employees are people. Be demanding when necessary, but never authoritative. Always be accessible, friendly, and responsible.

Running a business is a learning process. If you want your team to gain knowledge and improve, set an example by starting with yourself. When was the last time you took the time to take care of your personal development or understand your team’s needs and desires? The better you manage yourself, the better you’ll manage your team.

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