Happy employees are productive employees. If you create an office environment where your staff are self-motivating and inspire each other, they will give you 110% with a smile – even when no-one is looking.
As a leader, it is not always easy to motivate others – sometimes you struggle to motivate even yourself. This is true especially during difficult periods, like the busiest time of the year, when the business is going through a rough phase and is in financial difficulties, or after something painful like retrenchments.
So, how do you motivate your employees? Here are a few tips to help you create the right environment:
1. Hire Right
Surprisingly enough, the first step in motivating employees is by hiring the right people. When you hire high performers, they are more likely to be inspired and self-motivated. Someone who is negative by nature is not going to change very easily, no matter how hard you try. A team of high performers will motivate each other, while one or more negative person can bring the whole team down. Don’t hire someone just to fill an urgent position; rather wait for the right person.
2. Pay Employees What They’re Worth
Remuneration is important. No matter how good you treat people or how many incentives they receive, everybody has personal needs that only a market-related salary can meet. Being underpaid is a great demotivator for anybody. The better you pay, the better results you can expect. Consider salary increases, promotions, and paying bonuses based on performance.
3. Give Them Meaningful Work
Everybody wants to feel that they have a purpose and that their work makes a difference to the success of the business. It is also a great way to confirm job security if they cannot be replaced easily.
4. Invest in Professional Growth
Find out which tasks your staff likes to perform and which they don’t, and try to accommodate them. Find out what their career goals are and offer opportunities for advancement. Sending them on in-house and external professional development courses is a great way to motivate your staff.
5. Don’t Micromanage
People need space to breathe. If your employees feel that you are looking over their shoulder the whole time, they might only do what you tell them to do, and they won’t take any initiative. It’s not always easy, but trust your staff to make their own decisions to achieve the desired results. They will make mistakes, but they will learn from them. Let them know that you are there for guidance and support, though.
6. Promote Team/Individual Accomplishments
There are few things as demotivating as slaving away at your job and never even getting a thank you, or worse, if only your mistakes are pointed out. Make sure you let your staff know that you notice their achievements and appreciate their hard work.
7. Celebrate Milestones, or Just Cause
Make time to celebrate. Go out for lunch or do a fun activity together. Order pizza when working late or when it’s someone’s birthday. There doesn’t always need to be a reason for a celebration, and you don’t have to make a huge occasion out of it. Small gestures will go a long way to motivate your employees.
8. Be Flexible and Avoid Silly Rules
When you implement unnecessary rules and procedures, you show your staff that you don’t trust them. Yes, there should be structure, but don’t overdo it.
9. Treat Staff with Respect
Probably the fastest way to demotivate someone is to treat them with disrespect. Yelling, sarcasm, accusations, or not giving them a chance to explain or tell their side of the story has no place at work. When you treat someone with respect, whether you think they deserve it or not, they will want to earn your respect.
10. Get Personal, but Not Too Personal
Always get to know your employees on a personal level. Enquire about their weekend, learn their children’s names, or ask what they like to do for fun. When people feel that you genuinely care about them, they will go the extra mile for you. But don’t try to get them to talk about personal stuff that they don’t feel comfortable enough to share. There’s always a limit to what people are willing to tell – some are inclined to share more of themselves than others – so try not to overstep workplace boundaries.
11. Lead by Example
Good moods are infectious – so are gloomy ones. Be motivated and passionate about what you do and your business, and the team will follow. If you expect people to work overtime, don’t spend the afternoon on the golf course or at the spa. Work beside your team, and clock as many hours, or more if necessary, as they do.
12. Promote an Open-Door Policy
Be open to questions, suggestions, and ideas, and provide a safe place where issues can be discussed.
13. Be Transparent
It’s not always easy to bare your cards to the whole team, especially when the business goes through a slump. But transparency is important. Your staff needs to know what is happening at the highest level. They need to feel included in big decisions. Give them a chance to ask questions and give feedback and suggestions.
14. Show Them the Bigger Picture
Your whole team needs to understand your business goals, what you are working towards, and where they fit into the picture.
15. Prioritise a Healthy Work/Life Balance
A healthy work/life balance increases productivity and overall happiness. Make sure your staff don’t work too much overtime and that take vacations when they need it.
Do you have more tips on how to motivate employees? Let us know.