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Small businesses rely on reward programs to motivate new workers

This reality is pushing many small and medium sized businesses to focus on employee engagement and reward programs to boost productivity.

Small business employment is up slightly in February, despite a drop in revenue for the sector. Owners are facing increasing pressure to deliver high quality products and service even as they deal with lower consumer spending and slow national economic growth. This reality is pushing many small and medium sized businesses to focus on employee engagement and reward programs to boost productivity.

After a good holiday season, revenue for small businesses continues to fall. The monthly Intuit Small Business Employment Revenue Indexes showed a 0.6 percent decline in revenue for February. Despite this fact, the Indexes found that 15,000 new jobs were created by developing companies during the month. This provides the small business sector with an annualized growth rate of 0.8 percent, but companies are struggling to provide incentives that can encourage top performers to stay. 

"Small business revenues recovered through early 2012, but have since begun to decline, with the health care and the accommodation and food services industries being the first to go," said economist Susan Woodward.

Motivating employees successfully
Employee reward programs can help small and mid-sized businesses get the most from their employees. These initiatives can create a supportive work environment that engages workers and improves productivity. Many companies struggle with successfully implementing reward programs but Smart Business states that there are a few essential parts to focus on.

Building trust is critical to motivating workers. Employees need to know that supervisors will deliver on promises. Clear communication is vital to this process, according to the source. Having a good reward program allows businesses to clearly communicate its vision and long-term objectives. Regular feedback through reward and recognition allows employees to be part of accomplishing these goals.

Showing appreciation is one of the best ways to build trust. Praising workers who have exceeded expectations and shown commitment allows employees to see how the company values its workers. Recognition can serve to motivate workers and create a more supportive environment. The positive feedback improves communication and can help employees take on new challenges if personal goals are incorporated into the reward program.

Having a good employee reward program in place can help small businesses get the most from their staff members, but the initiatives do not have to be expensive.  A successful program can operate on a budget comprising approximately 1 percent of the total payroll. The key is to provide consistent and immediate feedback. Don't wait to show appreciation until the end of a project or a year-end review. Recognizing contributions when they happen will increase the success of a program.

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