Entrepreneurs face a unique set of challenges, and the most extreme of those is tackling a large volume of work with only a very limited amount of resources, particularly labor. Startups need people who can work under high pressure for relatively low reward, and getting people to willingly put in the effort your business needs is every entrepreneurs biggest question.
To tackle this problem it’s important to really understand what does and does not motivate your workers. Of course, every individual person is different, but we can generalize based on common startup conflicts.
Understand Why Your Employees are There
Few people willingly take a job with no benefits, limited vacation time, high work load, and low pay over a comfortable job at a more established enterprise. If you’re a startup on a strained budget, your employees are often going to be people who are relatively inexperienced.
Young workers in particular are likely trying to develop the skills and get the experience they need to find more gainful employment. If you want to hold on to your talent, and get them to really apply themselves, you’re going to need to know what they’re looking for in the long term.
Learn How Employees Define Success
Everybody has their own goals, and you can’t motivate an employee if you don’t know what theirs are.
It’s a good idea to ask every employee what their long-term goals are for their work, and to flat out ask how you can help them. A few likely targets might be…
- Higher Wages
- Health Insurance
- Flexible Schedules
If you know how an employee defines success, then you can make sure that your business’ success also translates into theirs.
Tie Their Success To Your Business’
The success of your company isn’t the success of your employees unless you make it. To that end it’s a good idea to develop a plan for how you’re going to translate your business’ growth into tangible benefits for your workers.
This way your workers won’t just be working for your business’ future, they’ll explicitly be working for their own. Set specific goals for production, sales, growth etc… and set down a transparent plan for how their work can directly facilitate their own success.