As a business owner, it's my job to make my business grow. There has never been a doubt in my mind that most of that growth comes not from mysterious market forces, but rather from my most precious internal resource: my employees. To that end, I've always tried to make sure my employees are treated well with paid health benefits, three weeks' vacation from year one, a matching 401(k) plan, and even homemade (by me!) birthday treats.
All of these things help build a great team. But to really keep the team intact--and working together to grow the business--I've learned and tried to master these five effective and genuine techniques:
Personal growth trumps a bonus.
I make it my business to closely note the things that interest my employees and try to give them every opportunity to pursue those activities. For instance, a hard-working member of my staff was clearly interested in the world beyond the one she knew. Each time I traveled overseas for the company, she would ask about the details of the trip; it was clear that she, too, would like to go. However, her position did not require much travel. I kept her interest in mind, all the same, and when the opportunity arose to send someone to Europe to represent the company, I sent her in my place. Even in advance of the trip, the opportunity motivated her to work even harder than usual to make sure that all of her responsibilities were completed pre-departure. Once overseas, she found opportunities that helped my company to develop a presence in a new market. But the true motivation for her was the chance to see the world and prove she was capable of handling an important mission.