The Question: What are the most effective employee incentives? Is it all about the paycheck?

The Advice: Getting your employees engaged is critical to moving your business forward and ensuring that everybody pulls in the right direction. The old adage of a happy worker being a productive one still rings true today.

But how can you ensure your team ‘buys in’ to your company? On the surface salary is often the main motivating factor. It’s true that money makes the world go around, but it’s not often the main motivator for skilled workers. Salary may be one of the main factors for an individual when applying for a position. But when the paychecks start rolling in, salary is overlooked compared to other motivating factors.

Various independent surveys have highlighted this. Factors such job security, having a clear training and development plan, and work/life balance have been found to play a bigger part than salary in getting staff engaged and working to their full capacity.

But what is the best strategy for small businesses looking to boost levels of productivity and to improve company culture? For me, it has to start at the top. To get people onside, small businesses owners must ensure that company culture is expressed at every opportunity. What are your key values? Do you staff portray these? Small businesses have enough challenges without trying to reign employees in.

If you can afford to invest in people over a prolonged period of time, you’ll find they will buy into your company’s journey. Providing things such job security, a development schedule, or even an hour off on a Friday afternoon will improve levels of loyalty, productivity, and engagement.

The Small Business Coach

Morgan Browne_SBCThis week’s Small Business Coach is Morgan Browne, the Chief Executive at the IIS Group – one of Europe’s leading SAP Business One partners. Since 2008, Morgan has led the company to become one of the most innovative SAP Gold Partners. Follow Morgan: @morgankbrowne.

Today’s question on The Small Business Coach is based on a common business dilemma. If you have a question about how to run your small business better, smarter, and faster – send it in to The Small Business Coach using the form below or email it to newsroom@sap.com. Be sure to follow SAP’s latest news and events for small business on Facebook and Twitter @SAP4SmallBiz.

Read more from The Small Business Coach series.

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