Motivating your employees is one of those things that seems easy on the surface, but can actually be challenging with a lot of different layers to consider. You have different employees to work with, all with different jobs and goals, and all who have bad days on different days. As one person trying to do all of the motivating, it can be tough to find a good balance.
Fortunately, there are a few different techniques you can use that will help motivation across the board in all different situations. Motivation will help improve work performance all around and help create a positive company culture; so the sooner you can figure out how to motivate successfully, the better.
- Make sure they know where their career is going and that you care.
Employees are going to be more motivated if they know what they're working towards. Having an end goal is crucial, and oftentimes it's up to the employer to help make sure those goals are discussed and possible with hard work. If you don't have this discussion with your employees, it's easy for them to lose hope. Have the discussion over and over again so that future plans are clear and to reinforce that you haven't forgotten.
Of course, it's also important to make sure that you take action. All talk about where someone's career is going might work for a little while, but without action from the employer--whether that be a raise, promotion, hiring people to help, etc.--that motivation won't last long. Make sure that you're taking these discussions seriously.
- Listen and ask for ideas from employees.
If employees can feel like they're valued (and of course if they actually are valued), it's going to motivate them to do well for the company. You can help convey this attitude by asking employees about their ideas and then taking them seriously. This is a great way to show that you value their work, and it helps give them the notion that they are doing something to help the company and that they have power.
Entrepreneur and investor John Rampton teamed up with CMOE to see what employers and employees thought led to a successful work environment by asked 5 questions to 500+ people. They found that "the best practice to keep and retain employees is to have effective boss and employee communication. The topic of communication [had] been seen in all aspects of the survey and is the most vital of them all."
- Have an office that encourages collaboration.
Having an open-office layout can help improve employee motivation because collaboration is easier. Your employees can work with each other and help motivate each other so that it doesn't all fall on you, the employer. This will help make work a more relaxing and fun environment, which is naturally good for motivation.
- Take care of your employees financially, and try to align goals.
This overlaps with the first point a little bit, but talking about finances specifically is important. You have to make sure you're paying your employees what they're worth, and if they think they're worth more then take it seriously and come to some sort of conclusion. According to an Entrepreneur infographic, 26% of engaged employees would leave their current job for just a 5% pay increase. It's therefore important that you clearly define and open rewards system.
One way to accomplish this goal is to align an employee's goals with rewards. Again, this comes back to knowing where the employee is going in the future of the company, but also smaller goals along the way. Ultimately, financial respect is going to be a huge motivator.
- Stay away from micromanagement.
Once again, giving your employees space is going to be huge for motivation. One of the biggest motivation killers is the fear of failure, and micromanaging can make that fear much more realistic. Being able to create an environment where you can offer freedom is also key when it comes to attracting and retaining talent in your company.
- In the end, it all boils down to respect.
Respect is the ultimate motivator in any company. This refers to all of the items listed above, as well as a general level of esteem toward each and every employee. The more personable you can be and the more involved in everything about an employee, including what might be going on outside of work, the better sense of respect you'll give off in the office. People want to do well for people that respect them and they respect in return, so this should be your number 1 goal as an employer.