In order to get the most out of your business, you need to get the most out of your employees. Technical skills and abilities are lives but can be learned. Motivation is something else entirely, and as all people are different, not everyone will respond to the same motivational techniques.
What is clear is that your employees and teams must be motivated to bring success to the business, and there are different approaches to securing that motivation. Here are seven specific motivational tools that should cover the vast majority of employees within your organization, if not all.
This is the most obvious way of securing motivation, but it is wrong to think this is all about money. In fact, most employees would not list money as the most important factor in their job. That said, if you do not pay them adequately, you do not pay them in line with competitors, or do not pay them in line with their performance and commitment, then this is one of the quickest ways to demotivate your staff. But when it comes to the actual rewards that they seek, do not throw all of your eggs into the basket marked ‘financial’.
“Rewarding employees can be achieved in so many ways, and many of them are not financially-related, so stating that as a business you cannot afford to reward your employees is just plain wrong. Reward them with increased recognition for their good performance, which may mean promoting them, or give them more responsibility, or provide them with more decision-making influence over their own work patterns, meaning more autonomy. This is all valuable rewards to employees,” states Brenda Turner, a project manager at Brit Student and Write My X.
Invest in them and empower them
Your employees need to see that as a business you are committed to them in the long term, and the best way to prove that is to invest in them through training and support in securing professional qualifications and accreditation where necessary. Also empower your staff to take control of their own working lives and future careers by not micromanaging every aspect of their day-to-day tasks but instead giving them the trust that they need to make important decisions about what needs to be done, and how they need to be invested in order to achieve what needs to be done. In short, show commitment.
Listen to them
One of the biggest bugbears of employees and one of the aspects that drives them out the door is when they feel that their voice is not heard. Unfortunately, this leads to the presumption that they are not respected, and this then leads to chronic demotivate.
A classic way in which employees feel that they are not listened to is in the introduction of new company policies and work practices without any sort of consultation, or changes to existing terms and conditions against without the opportunity for employees to provide feedback. In work tasks, give employees the opportunity to have their say about how something should be done – even if you reject it, in the end, you gave them the platform to give a valid opinion, so just make sure that you give full justification as to why you did not follow their suggestion this time, but note that they will still have the opportunity to make suggestions again the next time something arises.
Ensure that employee feedback is an essential aspect of employee performance reviews, and make sure that forums exist within normal working practices that give your staff a non-prejudicial opportunity to raise any issue they wish.
Provide them with the correct work/life balance
This is a simple thing but again can lead to so much dissatisfaction within the workplace. You must recognize from day one that each and every one of your employees has a life outside of work, and that this life is more important to them than their job. That is not to say that they do not care about doing the job as well as they can, and they may indeed have an emotional investment in the company’s success, but failing to recognize that your employees need to have a balance between their professional lives and personal lives are the quickest way to alienate them.
To provide fair work/life balance practices which include the opportunity to work remotely from time to time if it is feasible. Provide sufficient holiday and vacation time, don’t expect unreasonable office hours to be maintained over long periods (but if the time calls for it, it is appreciated rather than expected). In short, establish a fair balance, and respect it. In fact, embrace it.
As a manager, it is your responsibility to drive your staff to achieve more: this is what effective leaders do. But how exactly do you go about doing this? Obviously, your actions as a boss are important, as you will be scrutinized more than anyone else by those who work for you. But it’s not just about going harder and longer than anyone else in terms of the hours you put in and the dedication you show, in fact, your staff can actually begin to resent you if you try to be some type of super performer that no one else can match.
“Inspire them with your commitment but within the confines of being a normal employee who does not try to outperform everybody. Work hard when you are in the office but show you can let our hair down too and you appreciate when your team does as well. Inspire them with your commitment to a balanced approach to work and then inspire them to be better versions of themselves through continuous feedback and opportunity to advance,” suggests Colin Sandhal, an HR professional at Australia 2 write and Next Coursework.
Gibe your staff a share of the responsibility in the completion of important tasks, because this will make them feel valued. And another vital way of sharing responsibility is accepting your portion of the blame if something goes wrong. Passing the buck down the line is one of the fastest ways of losing your employees’ respect, and with it quickly follows levels of motivation.
And be fair. Unjust management practices and decisions give a sense of unfairness and inequality that will breed contempt and dissatisfaction. Be fair in all decisions that are made, and be transparent too. Give feedback why certain steps have been taken too, and give everyone a chance to have their say. Communication is critical.
Content marketer Micahel Dehoyos is usually found assisting organizations in their digital marketing approach. He is an editor at PHD Kingdom and Academic brits, and a regular contributor to Origin writings.