Even the most committed and talented employees sometimes need a little extra motivation every once in a while and as an employer your job is to make sure you provide this to ensure you get the best out of your workforce.
So how do you do this? The trick is knowing what drives your staff to want to achieve better results. The obvious answer is money, however in reality this is not always the case. Of course your employees want to receive a wage that reflects their hard work and talents, however most do not put money at the top of their priority list.
Areas that are important to employees include interesting and fulfilling work, a relaxed and friendly working environment, good managers, and a realistic career progression. These are the foundations on which to build a productive workforce.
If you’ve already got these basics in place but feel your staff could do with some extra motivation, here are some tips to help you get the best out of your workforce:
Know your team
Keep in mind that your employees are individuals with different personalities, interests and goals. This may seem obvious but many managers that make the mistake of thinking what has inspired and motivated one member of staff will work for another, but more often than not this isn’t the case.
You should know your team as individuals so you can adapt your managerial style to suit their personality. If they work better independently with minimal input from others then let them get on with projects and just ask for regular updates about their progression. On the other hand if they prefer managers to be more involved in their work, make sure you regularly check in with them to see how their project is going and offer regular advice and guidance.
Beware of praise
Many managers hand out praises constantly as they believe it will help to keep staff motivated and appreciated. Praise will do this, but if workers feel they are being praised for the sake of it, rather than for their hard work and results, it will soon lose meaning and dilute its impact.
By all means praise employees, but only do so for work that deserves the recognition. Also be careful how you hand out the praise some employees like to receive the recognition in front of their colleagues, while others would prefer it being given in private.
Although some employees thrive in competitive environments most, however, find it more draining and disruptive to their work. Unless your business is in an ultra-competitive industry where staff know that it is part of the job, it is best to steer away from encouraging competitiveness among your staff. Often it will make workers distrustful or one another and can lead to a negative, even hostile, environment. Instead most employees work better in environments that feel supportive and friendly, so encourage initiatives that help to bring your team together and focuses on supporting each other.
A great way of keeping your employees motivated is by giving them projects that sparks their interest. This can either be an individual or a team effort, however it should be something that will genuinely be worthwhile or else your staff will feel that their time is being wasted. This type of project will not only motivate your workers, but will also make them feel appreciated and trusted.
Training and resources
Ambitious staff will want to be at the forefront of their profession, so make sure that your employees are provided with the training they need to do their job well. Also if employees feel that you don’t care about how well they’re trained they will start to lose interest and enthusiasm for their work.
Additionally, ensure that your staff have all the resources they need to do their jobs. If your workers have the resources they need on hand they will be more productive than if they are constantly struggling with inadequate tools and software.
Systems and procedures
Do you find that your staff are spending unnecessary amounts of time on paperwork that is not relevant to their job? If so then consider reassessing your systems and procedures. A lot of extra paperwork, systems and procedures build up over time and become more and more complicated and time-consuming. The majority of your workers would rather get on with the jobs they are paid to do than deal with unnecessarily systems that prevent their productivity.
Providing a flexible working environment, whether you allow employees to work from home or offer flexible working hours, will help your staff feel that they have more control over their day. Most workers have out-of-work commitments and therefore appreciate the ability to juggle their working hours around these commitments. If you show that you respect and value your employees they will more likely want to work harder and be more committed to their jobs.
Written by Derin Clark, a writer, editor and blogger