1. Offer quickie rewards.
Small rewards can make a surprisingly big impact on employees. Use the next month to learn just how much a little prize can motivate people.
Dan Weiss, president of Max Weiss Co., a structural steel supplier in Milwaukee, started giving a $10 gas card to any employee with perfect monthly attendance.has plummeted, and Weiss says the card is one reason. Employees appreciate its tangible value.
2. Conduct a postmortem.
Identify a botched decision that an employee made—and reframe it as a learning opportunity. Meet with your staffer and assess what happened in a supportive, blame-free dialogue.
Begin by asking, "What factors drove your decision?" Emphasize that you want to extract helpful ideas for the future, not find fault in the past. Encourage the employee to adopt better strategies to make valid assumptions and apply sound logic.
3. Share commonly asked questions with staff.
When an employee asks a wise question about your business, answer it. But don't keep it a secret from everyone else.
Share smart questions with the entire team. If one person wants to know, chances are that others are curious, too. Create a running list of inquiries and distribute periodic Q&A e-mails that double as training tools. Also, use the questions as the basis for discussion in a February staff meeting.