Motivated employees are more productive, they’re happier, and they’re more loyal. All these things add up to a stronger employer brand image, a lower employee turnover, and faster business growth.
However, it’s easy for employees to become unmotivated. Too heavy a workload, micromanagement, or even external pressures can lead to disengaged and unhappy employees.
So how do you prevent this from happening? How do you keep your employees motivated and engaged so that they turn up happy and ready to work?
Incentives – such as commission for salespeople – can be an effective way to encourage staff to reach (and surpass) their goals.
Other examples could be staff discounts, company days out or retreats, or pay rises.
However, if you have an unhealthy working environment, no incentive can counteract this.
Incentives can also cause a competitive (and potentially unhealthy) working environment, so be wary of that if it’s clear that one person regularly outperforms the rest of the team.
Communication is everything.
From managers clearly explaining what they expect from employees, to employees telling managers what they want, to CEOs telling everyone within the company what the plan is for the business, the more informed employees are, the happier they are.
Not only that, but because they know what is expected of them and what direction the business is likely to go in, they can make more informed decisions that are more likely to help the business to grow faster.
Effective communication is 50% listening and 50% how you speak, so if an employee appears to be struggling, take the time to talk to them in private and find out what’s going on. It could be that they’re having personal issues and there isn’t anything you can do, but your willingness to listen shows that you value and support them.
Start with why
Even if you haven’t read Simon Sinek’s book (where have you been?!) you’ll have heard the phrase ‘start with why’.
Explaining to employees why something is done, not just what needs to be done, helps them to see the bigger picture.
As Garry puts it, “everyone wants to do something that feels worthwhile and sometimes the dots aren’t obvious to connect.”
Don’t assume that just because something makes perfect sense to you, that the connections are obvious to your employees, too. Sometimes the boring, tedious tasks are necessary as part of the wider picture, but the value isn’t always clear if you’re not aware of what that wider picture is.
Ask yourself how you can help your employees
When you’re in charge of a team, it can be easy to fall into the trap of wanting employees to help you, but in order for them to help you, you must first help them.
Ask your employees regularly how you can help them and what they need to do to succeed in their role.
Inspire them to learn
The longer we go without learning something new, the easier it is to get bored. That’s why it’s important to always encourage your employees to learn new skills both inside and outside of their area of expertise, and inside and outside their job.
You never know what skills will come in handy – especially when you work for a startup – so the more skills you and your team have, the better.
Healthy debate avoids groupthink and prevents the team from falling into a comfort zone. There’s often one person in a team who’s more vocal than the rest – make it clear to everyone that their opinions are just as valid, even if they disagree.
Give them their own projects and hold them accountable
As a manager, you can’t do everything. And you know what? You shouldn’t.
Giving employees control over their own projects empowers them. It also takes the pressure off you, as a manager, because that’s one less thing you have to worry about.
Play to your team’s strengths but don’t be afraid to challenge them, too. Giving them tasks outside of their comfort zone helps them to grow in skills and confidence.
Get regular updates on the project and make it clear to your team that you’re always happy to help if they get stuck.
Make everyone a part of the team
No matter how long someone has been a part of the team, they should be made to feel valued. This value comes from gratitude, communication, and including everyone in the goings on within the company.
It shouldn’t matter how long an employee has worked there – their ideas could be just as beneficial, maybe even more so because they can approach everything with a fresh perspective.
Say ‘thank you’
There are two words in the English language that hold more power than any others. They’re simple words. Ones you’ve probably used today without even thinking about it. And, as you’ve probably guessed, those two words are ‘thank you’.
When you say thank you to your team for their hard work, it makes them feel appreciated. This triggers oxytocin – the warm and fuzzy hormone.
This feeling not only makes employees happier, but also creates a sense of loyalty that means they’re more likely to stick around.
We all want to feel like we’re making a difference. Thanking your employees reminds them that their efforts are worthwhile, even if the reasons why aren’t immediately obvious.
Sometimes it’s the little gestures – like saying thank you or taking the time to listen – that make the biggest difference. Incentives and pay rises can help, too, but these aren’t what breed loyalty – making someone feel appreciated is. Appreciation comes in many forms, from investing in employees’ skills to taking the time to listen to them. Never underestimate how a small gesture can make a big difference.
Cronofy helps HR software providers to connect their software to their users’ calendars. To find out more, book your demo today.