Motivating employees is a vital component of any business, as it determines the efficiency and overall performance of a company. A business with motivated staff can benefit from increased team productivity, higher staff retention, and an overall more positive working environment where employees can flourish.
Since the pandemic and the shift to remote working, along with the current economic uncertainty, keeping employees motivated has been challenging. But research suggests there are still ways to continue to motivate employees.
Motivation in the workplace has typically been understood as extrinsic rewards, in the form of compensation, benefits, awards, or career progression. But, these methods can prove costly to a business and are typically short-term solutions to improving motivation.
To motivate employees in an optimal way, not only for the business but for that person, it’s important to understand their ‘motive’ i.e. the needs or desires of that individual. In this article, we identify some activities that can support both individual and team motivation, and that are not based solely on financial rewards.
Hold regular team planning sessions
When employees feel heard and their opinion is being valued, they will typically do a better job as they feel empowered and part of something.
Arranging regular team meetings is a productive way to increase teamwork and morale. It encourages employees to provide valuable feedback, encourages thought leadership, and inspires them to find their own solutions to issues. These types of meetings can not only benefit the employee but the company as a whole, as they may provide alternative methods to improve the business function.
Planning sessions can be scheduled quarterly but can be used as a tool to plan for the future, listen to staff, or address any problems in a transparent manner.
Offer training for employees
Training is a great way to show employees you value them and that you’re investing in their future development. This can be done in a number of ways, from specialized workshops and training courses for individuals, to organizing team-building workshops that encourage better collaboration amongst teams.
Educating your team with information and skills will help encourage them to develop individually, work better as a team and empower them to grow in their jobs. Upskilling employees is also beneficial to a business as it’s a more productive and economical way to get the skills you require into the company. Workshops are also a fun way to spend time with your team, outside of the regular mundane office tasks.
Show your team appreciation
It’s a well-known fact that people like to be valued in their jobs, with appreciation being one of the most sought-after forms of praise in the workplace.
Recognizing an employee’s hard work with a small thank-you, handwritten note, or a token gift tailored to fit the recipient can go a long way, more so sometimes than a salary increase or promotion.
Aside from specific job-related gratitudes, it’s important to encourage team appreciation throughout the office to motivate employees on a wider level. This can be through team lunches and outings, or even by creating an ‘employee of the month’ scheme. A regular prize for hard work that encourages team members to vote and celebrate each other's successes. It also promotes a small level of competition that can encourage employees to succeed and go above and beyond their scope of work.
Encourage your team to take breaks
Being at a desk staring at a computer for hours can cause mental fatigue, a slowdown in productivity, and an increase in employee unhappiness.
If your job requires a lot of time spent at a desk, encourage employees to take regular breaks throughout the day. If you have chillout zones encourage the team to use them. Just 10-minutes of free time can create headspace to go back to work with renewed enthusiasm, it can also build team spirit and relationships amongst employees as people typically congregate together.
Open Lines of Communication
Communication between employees and managers is a vital component of keeping a workforce motivated. It might be cliche but, ‘people don’t leave bad jobs, they leave bad bosses,’ and developing a steady line of communication is the most important thing a leader can do to ensure team members feel heard.
Always be ready to listen to your employees, and understand that everyone has different communication tactics, so pay attention. Employees need to know they can share the challenges they’re facing, and for managers to provide any necessary support. ‘Active’ listening is an important skill that will enhance the trust within your team and build loyalty in a business.
Lead by example
Anyone can tell someone what to do and then admonish them for doing a bad job. But leading by example is a great way to motivate staff as you are continuously teaching employees how to perform better. This way of management can come in many forms, from professional conduct to how a task is completed.
Employees typically respect a leader more if they’re someone that can participate and add value. Leading by example also allows you to manage expectations, so employees are aware of the standard of work that’s required. It also allows for true fairness and individual employee growth if clear objectives and professionalism are followed, after all, it shouldn’t be a ‘do as I say, not as I do’ policy in a business.
A study in 2021 showed that 83% of employees would prefer compliments from their managers over any other type of reward. So, never underestimate the power of appreciation and praise for your employees.
Motivation encourages employees to do their best work and a motivated team creates a strong foundation for the overall goal of achieving business success.