Small business is booming thanks to government programs, supply and demand, and modern workers seeking flexibility in response to a rigid 40-hour workweek. As a small business owner, you’ll work closely with your employees and therefore will need to create strong relationships and positive workplace culture to ensure success. The tips below will get you started on how you can continue to be the best small business manager, and how to motivate your employees to achieve long-term success.

1. Implement team-building and ongoing training

Getting to know your staff members outside of an office environment can be beneficial to the future success of your company because team-building exercises are a great way for your staff to develop their relationships with you whilst having fun in the process. A quick Google search will lead you to a great range of team building activities and, depending on the nature of your team, activities like escape rooms, weekend conferences or workshops can promote team bonding in a relaxed and structured setting.

Ongoing training is another necessary step to providing a great working environment for your small business employees. By upskilling the staff you already have, you cut down on the need to hire further staff and save money in the process. Your employees will also benefit greatly from gaining new skills for their resumes.

2. Communicate openly

Working for a small business means you often work in closer quarters than larger companies. This means the communication you have at this level is paramount to your business success, so your employees should feel they can talk openly and honestly with you. Set a good example by being transparent and open about business dealings, what’s coming up in the business, and any issues that may arise that could affect them directly.

A good way to do this is to adopt a daily morning catch-up with your staff. Get your employees used to a 9 am meeting where the dealings of the day are covered and anyone can bring up any issues they’re having. A routine is extremely effective for getting others used to a dedicated communication time where they feel they’re listened to and valued as a member of the team.

3. Take on the role of a life coach

A good leader is always teaching those around them and motivating them to future success. Taking on the role of a life coach is an effective management tool that leads to improved employee performance. A soccer team might be alright without a coach, but a dedicated coach who’s passionate about the success of everyone in the team can guide them to victory. It’s no different in business and seeing your role as a life coach takes away the negative connections of a divide between employee and manager.

Communicating, advising, sharing real-life experiences and motivating are powerful tools in a life coach’s arsenal, and walking the balance between prying into your employee’s private lives and helping them with issues from a business-related angle can be highly beneficial. When you’re supportive of your employee’s work lives, personal circumstances can improve.

4. Set expectations and use performance reviews

Setting expectations and conducting performance reviews go hand-in-hand. Openly speaking one-on-one with your staff about what you expect from them regularly ensures there are no grey areas between you and the work that needs to be completed. Scheduling catch-ups is an effective way to go about this, and you may have one-on-one meetings on a weekly, fortnightly or monthly basis.

Performance reviews are no different, and though it’s an area most of us dread, they’re effective in improving the ongoing performance of your employees. This is a chance to speak openly about the work employees are producing, discuss solutions to any issues, and listen to what your employees need from you. A good time frame is one performance review every three months, so anything that needs attention can be addressed quickly.

Being the best small business manager you can be

Your staff is at the heart of your small business, and treating them well should be of the utmost importance to maintain a positive workplace culture. It’s never too late to improve the relationships between you and your employees, and as these top tips suggest, communication is at the forefront of adopting these policies. This is your opportunity to be the boss you always wanted to be and to foster determined and hard-working employees. By nurturing your workplace culture to be inclusive, supportive and having constant communication, it will be much easier to see the rewards of your teams’ successes.