Employees who take pride in their work are the only employees you want in your business. Employees who are actively plugged-in will help to increase profit, reduce loss, and open new opportunities for growth.As a small business owner, it is important for you to realize that an employee’s pride in a job well-done often starts with you. It can be as simple as a verbal acknowledgement that you are paying attention, and that everything they do within your business does matter.There are many small, simple ways that any business owner can instill and build a sense of pride within their employees.Cite the best as examples to others.Recognize an individual’s solid efforts verbally, and in front of others. Keep it positive, and be careful not to use another individual as a negative counterpoint. Positive reinforcement will increase your employees’ self-esteem and encourage them to continue performing at their best. By using an individual as the model for others to reach the best possible levels, you will give the individual an increased sense of pride and satisfaction while also setting the expectations for all others to follow.Increase responsibility.If an employee continues to display outstanding efforts, offer to increase the responsibility of that individual. Be careful not to overload them, or make them feel overwhelmed. Do be sure to clearly state your reasons why, such as: “Since you have continued to be the best person I have in customer relations, I would like you to start talking to customers about new products or services we might offer them.” The right amount of added responsibility will serve to make the individual feel more directly responsible and necessary for the company’s ongoing success.Perks.Set a measurable, achievable goal, like a sales number or a specifically targeted output. When an employee meets or exceeds this goal, reward them with a perk such as a few hours off with pay, a free lunch, or maybe a gift card. The perk doesn’t have to be costly to be effective—in essence, you are simply saying thank you in a more tangible way.Awards.You can create an awards program that recognizes employees who are setting an example in your business. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant, but even something simple like “Employee of the Month” or “Best in Customer Service” will be a way you can communicate the appreciation you have for their efforts.In business, as in other aspects of life, most people like to be recognized for their efforts. As a small business owner this can be a simple, yet crucial way for you to grow. Think of it like this: build your employees pride in being a part of your business every day. As a result, this feeling of pride will emanate from every effort, making it much easier to build and grow the business.February 27, 2008Marty LamersSenior Staff WriterAdvanceMe, Inc.