As an entrepreneur, you need to always be mindful of your expenses (no matter what the economic conditions might be). Hard-working, trustworthy employees are one of the most important elements to a successful business. Obviously, you want to reward your employees to keep them motivated and dedicated to your business, but how can you do that if your budget won't allow it?
Praise is a simple way you can reward your employees (and it's free!). In a recent article on bnet.com (a business management site), Bob Nelson, a workplace consultant who has advised Fortune 100 companies on the use of praise, explains why employees need praise. "The only time you hear from the boss is when you made a mistake. And bosses think they don't have to do this because you're lucky to have a job now. People need it more but tend to get it less." Nelson's book "Keeping Up In a Down Economy" describes how managers and business owners can change their mindsets into acknowledging a "job well done". The key is to acknowledge the accomplishment as soon as possible by writing an email or note, making a phone call, or telling the person face-to-face.
However you decide to deliver your praise, you must be diligent in the words you use. In the book "The People Keeper: How Managers Can Attract, Motivate and Retain Better Employees", author and employee-retention consultant Mark Holmes says that it is very important to find specific qualities to show that you are truly sincere in your praise. Holmes suggest saying things like, "The thing I appreciate about you Joe is you're consistent," or "Suzie, you are great as a mentor with our younger employees." Holmes also stresses that praise, not money, inspires employees. "Money isn't inert. A few thousand here or there isn't going to be the reason you leave a job. What's important is how you feel about how you're fitting in, producing, contributing as part of the team, all non-monetary issues."
As an entrepreneur, do you regularly praise a good worker? If you do praise your workers, do you think this has helped retention? Besides money, are there any other types of rewards that you think motivate employees?