- Elon Musk, Investor & Entrepreneur
Keeping staff motivated is one of the primary focuses of responsible executives. But figuring out how to keep your staff motivated can be tricky, especially if things are different for every industry. Let’s break down the best ways you can motivate your staff one by one.
RECOGNIZE GREAT WORK CONSISTENTLY
First and foremost, you can motivate your staff more effectively if you recognize great work as soon as it’s done. While many modern bosses and executives expect the best from their employees, they make the mistake of not thanking their employees even when that excellent work is produced.
The truth is, humans crave recognition and praise, especially from their superiors or bosses. As an executive, you have a responsibility to keep the morale of your workforce up – it’s one of the main aspects of your job! You should constantly be recognizing phenomenal work by praising the employee directly and, at times, offering them even greater room to grow or special promotions.
This doesn’t mean you should overly praise every employee in your office. But you should praise those who deserve it. Even employees who don’t get frequent praise may feel more motivated when they see that hard work is duly rewarded.
USE REWARDS FREQUENTLY
Speaking of rewards, dole these out relatively frequently. While there’s something to be said for rewarding your workers so much that they become overly relaxed or rest on their laurels, this is a hard line to toe appropriately. It’s much more frequent that bosses don’t use enough rewards and fail to properly motivate their employees as a result.
What do we mean by rewards? Essentially, small tokens of appreciation or other indications of excellent performance are usually enough. While pay raises are appreciated, they aren’t always possible given company budget restrictions.
Instead, good reward ideas can be things like:
- small gift cards to restaurants or local store chains
- employee of the month plaques or pictures
- newsletter shout outs
- special workplace attire, like a shirt showing employee greatness
- and more
In this sense, the act of rewarding your employee is somewhat more important than the reward itself. Do note, though, that your reward should actually be appreciated instead of something overly cheap or “lame”. Employees might feel unappreciated if the reward for their effort is completely underwhelming.
USE AN INCENTIVE PROGRAM
Related to the above, we’d recommend using an incentive program whenever you can. This is more or less achievable depending on your business type – for instance, businesses that have a sales department can easily implement an incentive program offering bonuses or other rewards to those who sell the most products or company services in a month or quarter.
Still, the idea of an incentive program is a great way to motivate employees across most industries. Such programs allow employees to “soft” compete with each other, and provide an actual scoring system where employees can see their progress and really recognize how their work impacts the company.
Furthermore, an incentive program is a great way to reward employees when a regular paycheck doesn’t always feel like enough. True, employees get paid for the work they do, but a bank account number going up once every 2 to 4 weeks just doesn’t have the same rewarding feeling as the end result of winning an incentive program.
TALK TO EMPLOYEES ONE-ON-ONE
Another great way to keep your employees motivated is to talk to them one-on-one, and frequently. One-on-one chats will help you connect with your workforce on a more personal level and can be valuable from an executive standpoint. These chats will allow you to get employee feedback regarding your operations, identify pain points so you can improve things, and even collect ideas so you can improve your business as a whole.
More importantly, talking to your employees one-on-one shows them that you’re listening and you care about their well-being. Employees who believe their boss is directly interested in how they’re doing at work or wants to know about their lives will be more motivated to do great work than those who don’t.
It’s also a good idea to make these one-on-one chats a regular part of your executive routine. Employees might be surprised and a little flattered if you talk to them once, but their motivation may falter if you never talk to them again.
Instead, it’s a better idea to talk to them one-on-one at least once every quarter, if not every month (depending on the size of your organization). If you can’t do it yourself, have other supervisors or managers do the task for you and give you the feedback they receive from your employees.
KEEP YOUR WORKPLACE PLEASANT
A huge way to motivate your employees is also one that can boost workplace productivity: keep your workplace pleasant. A clean and well-organized workplace that’s also comfortable to work in will do wonders for employee morale.
The logic behind this is very simple. Employees are more motivated to come to work and do a great job if they enjoy spending time there. A cluttered or dirty office or a cubicle farm where no one can see the outside light is more likely to depress employees than it is to inspire great performance,
BE FLEXIBLE WITH SCHEDULING
Employees like feeling that they have control over their lives, even if they do have to show up to work five days a week for most weeks of the year. You can help motivate your employees by being as flexible as possible with scheduling. You can still set limits on minimal hour requirements, for instance. But giving employees as much control over how they log those hours is a great way to motivate them.
You should also try to be as relaxed as you can with time off. These days, employees know that European countries are a lot better when it comes to parental leave and taking sick time off. The more you emulate these progressive organizations, the more motivated your employees are likely to be. On the flip side, employees that have to go through the same schedule every week and who don’t feel like they can ask for time off are more likely to be unmotivated in comparison.
DON’T OVERWORK YOUR WORKERS!
Lastly, don’t overwork your employees! We can’t stress this enough. Employees that don’t get enough relaxation time or enough time to handle family or matters outside work will be overly stressed and won’t perform good work, nor will they be motivated to come to work and do a good job.
Strive for an excellent work/life balance across your company culture and you’ll have much more motivated employees.
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Thought leaders & celebrities share their tactics for success on the Lisnic podcast by Lisa Teh & Nick Bell