What are the secrets to successfully motivating your employees? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.
I'll start off by asking the opposite question: What would you do if you wanted to seriously de-motivate your employees?
First, you would hire people who don't care about the job, the team, or the company's mission. So, the first secret to successfully motivating your employees is to hire motivated people. That may seem obvious, but many companies hire based on experience while never considering attitude. Good attitudes are contagious. Hiring a few motivated people will make everyone else care a little more.
Another way to tank morale is to pay people as little as possible, thus keeping them in a constant state of financial stress. Worrying about how to pay the bills is seriously de-motivating! Instead of doing that, pay your people a fair wage that gives them enough money to live comfortably. If you can afford it, give high performers incentives such as bonuses for a job well done.
You could try never listening to your employees, never asking their opinion about what needs improvement, and generally acting as if they are unimportant. Instead of that, try regularly talking to employees to see how they feel, how their managers are, who they love working with, and what processes, tools, etc. are driving them crazy. Survey your employees, or even take them to lunch occasionally to hear from them directly.
Probably the best thing you could do to crush the spirit of your company is to give everyone a job where they can't see or relate to the impact they're making. Motivated people love to make an impact, and one of the best ways to make sure people feel their impact is to keep team size small, with a clear mission. Companies like Amazon organize into "two pizza teams", small enough to feed the whole team with two large pizzas. That means everyone on the team has a daily impact on the team's success.
A bonus demotivator you could do is to paper-over the brooding discontentment of your workforce with "perks" like ping pong tables and free lunch. This stuff is all fine, but too many companies mistake cool office perks for culture. Instead of free lunch and secretly brooding employees, try having a party to celebrate a company success like hitting a revenue goal, landing an important customer, or delivering on a big project.
A lot of these secrets are just uncommon common sense, but the first step to motivating your employees is to care, so congratulations, you're already on the way!
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