For a startup, it can sometimes feel like productivity falls flat, and the only way to boost productivity is by offering financial incentives. But entrepreneurs have a secret weapon: their employees are typically in the game for reasons other than monetary reward. Improving productivity often involves streamlining processes, which can reduce general costs as output starts to rise. And when productivity goes up while costs stay down - well, that's just a winning formula. Here are 3 ways that entrepreneurs can improve employee performance while lowering costs:
1: Hire for passion and personality
Don't wait until later to start looking for ways to take it up a notch. Start on the ground floor by hiring passionate people who jive with the company's culture. An employee who doesn't know an answer but wants to find out is often more valuable than a jaded employee who knows the answer but isn't motivated to act on it. Getting the right people on your team can organically create an environment of drive and determination. It can also save you from costly re-hires down the road - if they're the right fit coming in, you'll know they're motivated to stick around.
2: Boost morale
This is all about keeping the atmosphere positive and supportive. Maybe it's a semi-annual retreat, maybe it's monthly drinks at a local dive, maybe it's a weekly dance party in the common area. Whatever it is, own it and make it part of your company's culture. This can be an unbelievable way to wring out any tension that might be settling over the team. It reminds everyone that the people they work with are real people - not just work-centric labourers - and it creates opportunities to bond in ways that aren't always possible in the office. When they're feeling good, employees are more likely to execute at a higher level on a project, communication flows more effectively, and things get done more efficiently.
3: Encourage employee development
For startups in particular, work can be an all-consuming lifestyle. And when employees are focused on working in the present, they may not be thinking about development for the future. Encouraging employee development indicates to your staff that you're interested in seeing them grow and expand their capabilities, instead of only valuing their current contributions. It also allows you to periodically re-assess your team's skills and determine if certain employees' skills could be put to better use. Indicating that you're invested in the success and growth of your employees is a great way to keep them around. Plus, whenever you're thinking about creating a new position or filling an existing one, this Forbes article argues that it's significantly more cost-effective to promote from within than it is to hire externally. Not only can you optimize your team's output by keeping an eye on what they do best, but you also save on hiring costs by developing your own employees' skills to fill the roles you need.
It's not always easy to figure out what's going to drive productivity within your team, but startups are uniquely agile in the ability to make tweaks and see results quickly. Instead of defaulting to the belief that more money will improve employee output, consider other approaches that have both immediate and long-term benefits. With a little bit of creativity, or with the help of a personality assessment tool when it comes to hiring and development, you'll soon be seeing productivity rise - without costs rising with it.