Successfully motivating your employees can result in improved morale, reduced turnover, and an increase in production and profits. The problem is that motivation does not come in a “one size fits all” package. Different people are motivated by different things. In other words, what motivates you will not necessarily motivate your employees.
So, in order to be a successful motivator, you need to know your employees. Learn what their interests are and what is important to them. Show a genuine interest in their lives – not only will you learn more about what motivates them as individuals, you will be building a relationship with them and they will appreciate your efforts.
Walk Your Talk.
Instead of talking about better communication, start communicating better. By developing open two-way conversations that are energetic and contagious, your employees will feel comfortable to speak their mind. Make sure you listen to what is not being said. Include employees in meetings to get their perspective. Make your meetings interesting by surprising your employees with a new incentive or a message of appreciation. These ideas show that you are not just the leader, but one who really cares.
Ask what they want out of work.
Just knowing that an HR manager or boss is interested in a worker’s goals will make many employees feel better about their jobs. It can be difficult to get a quick and accurate answer to this question, however. Some workers may say that they want to work on a prestigious project, for example, only to discover once they have been assigned to the project that it isn’t what they expected.
Consider each employee’s age and life stage.
There are exceptions to every generalization, of course, but workers nearing the end of their careers are often less focused on the next promotion than those who are just starting to climb the corporate ladder. Younger workers may also be less accustomed than older ones to waiting patiently in a job they don’t find interesting.
Be An Example
You can’t expect your employees to work hard or behave the way you want them to if you don’t lead by example. If you show your excitement about the company’s goals, your employees will get on-board and work to achieve those goals. Good moods are always infectious — especially in the workplace.
Incentives are always motivation boosters — and they don’t have to be expensive. You can offer incentives like an extra paid day off, gift cards, tickets to the movies, or other low-cost ways to show your appreciation. Of course, cash rewards are always good incentives as well.
If you’re nothing more than a face on a newsletter or a name on an email, what motivation will your employees have to meet your goals? The importance of employee communications is often overlooked. You should communicate with them frequently, and actually speak with them face-to-face. Your staffs need to know they are valued, and communicating in person with them is the best way to show your appreciation for their hard work.
Discuss the weaknesses in the system without blaming individuals. Look at employee wish lists and follow-up with their requests. Ask them what they need from management to feel more valued. Employees need to know that their concerns are being heard. They need not only constructive feedback, they also need positive comments. When employees meet deadlines or suggest creative solutions that positively affect the bottom-line, recognize the behavior immediately. Include their names in a company newsletter, write a personal note and send it to their home, or place an advertisement in the local newspaper showing how much you appreciate your great people.
Don’t Rely On Stock Options.
If money is an unreliable motivator, stock options are even less likely to motivate most workers. Employee worth goes up and down with a company’s stock price — something very few workers feel they can control.
Keep Employees Focused On Their Cheerleaders And Fans.
Have your employees make a list of ten clients or co-workers that are thrilled with them and the way they conduct business. Ask your employees to figure out new ways to service their clients to help them in any way they can. Employees will shape their own future as they build relationships with their fans.
Empower Employees To Feel Liberated.
Managers and employees need time alone, time to think creatively. Intense and important work requires reflection. Companies that are obsessed with productivity usually have little patience for the quiet time essential for profound creativity. An element of fun lifts morale and increases productivity.