Everyone understands the importance of having a motivated workforce. Unfortunately, many employers consider motivational efforts to mean monetary rewards and this is not always feasible. The great news is that whether you are a small business just starting out or a large corporation with hundreds of employees you can help motivate your employees without spending a lot of money.
Ask Them For Their Ideas On Everything
One of the most important things an employer can do is make their staff feel like they are an important part of the operation. When you are considering something new, call a meeting and ask your employees what they think. Take their ideas into consideration. In the end, you have the final decision-making authority, but by allowing employees to voice their opinions, you not only create a feeling of well-being among the employees but you also allow yourself the chance to see things from an angle you may not have noticed. Everyone benefits.
Let Them Have More Autonomy
How many times over the years, especially on your way up in the company, have you thought to yourself “I know what I’m doing. I wish the boss would leave me alone and let me do it!” You hired your employees and trained them. Now let them accomplish what needs to be done without constant checking and input. Maybe you would complete a task one way but the employee feels more comfortable doing it another way. As long as the end result is achieved, does it really matter how it was done? By asking that something be done and then allowing the employee the space to do it without constantly checking on progress, you are showing confidence in your employee. You are in effect saying you trust them to do what is asked. This trust translates into the employee doing things willingly.
Celebrate The Wins Publicly
By recognizing achievements of your employees or the business as a whole, you allow your appreciation to be seen. When you make this appreciation known publicly, you let your employees feel that all their effort has been appreciated and that they truly matter to you and the company.
Brainstorm The Losses Don’t Ignore Them
You may feel that ignoring the losses will make employees feel better because you aren’t showing disappointment. Unfortunately, silence can be much worse in a person’s mind than being criticized. When something happens that indicates a loss or failure, sit with the individuals involved. Help them figure out what went wrong and figure out how to change things so the failure doesn’t happen again. Let them know you have confidence in them and are there for support.
Random Acts Of Kindness
Think about the daily events that mean something to your employees, even those not related to work. Family births, deaths or anniversaries have meaning. Daily, on the job, minor victories may not mean a great deal as a whole, but they may be important to your employee. Every so often, surprise employees with something special. It can be tickets to their favorite team’s game, a lunch or a gift certificate to somewhere you know they enjoy. These gestures, coming out of the blue, often mean more than things like annual bonuses.
Show Them You Know Who They Are
You know what role your employees play in the business but do you know who they are outside work? Did Joe in Accounting just experience some loss in his family? Did Jenny in Personnel just see her daughter graduate? Show your employees that they aren’t simply placeholders in your company but that you recognize them as humans with full lives outside the company. Comment on personal things to let them know you care.
Share Your Vision And Encourage Collective Goals
Let your employees know what your vision for the company is and help them not only become a part of that vision but also set their own goals within the bigger scheme of things. Ask what they would like to achieve as an individual and help incorporate that goal into the major goal. Show them they matter.
Give Them The Backstage View
History is full of employees coming to work one day and being told the company was closing in two weeks or that there was to be some major change that seriously changed their lives. Don’t let that happen. Let your employees know regularly where they stand in your company and where the company itself stands.
Generate Friendly Competition
Most people enjoy friendly competition. It helps them improve. Set up internal contests that have employees vying to beat a certain goal. Have them compete with another branch to reach a goal. Give them a reason to do their best.
Have Them Help You Set The KPI’s
If you expect your employees to work toward your KPI, it helps to allow them input. Maybe your idea doesn’t make sense to them, give them a chance to tell you why and ask for their suggestions.
Tailor Your Communication To The Individual
Communication is a major key to so much. Every employee is different. Some simply want to know what needs to be done, others want to know why and still others want input on how. Learn the communication style of each employee and use it in talking with him or her. Let them feel you connect with them personally.
Let Them Choose Professional Development Options
Few employees want to remain where they are within a company. Find out what the career goals of your employees are and help them work towards achieving those goals. Maybe they need more schooling or need the opportunity to work in another department to learn a certain skill. Give them the opportunities they need to improve and grow toward their ultimate goals. Even those who see themselves in a similar position as yours one day deserve the opportunity to try. Mentor them. Employees who are allowed to grow toward their best vision of themselves will give their best performance now.
Write Processes In Pencil And Welcome New Ideas
Growth does not take place without some kind of change. Be willing to put aside “that’s how we’ve always done it” and listen to new ideas. Allow employees to give input on how to make things better within the company. Consider policies and procedures as semi-permanent things that are allowed to change and grow as the company does. What works today may be considered outdated tomorrow. Welcome ideas from everyone. You never know when one may be the perfect way to set your company in high gear.
Motivation is being willing to give your best. By treating your employees as people first and workers second, you give them the incentive to do their best. You might be surprised at the intelligence and future-oriented thoughts that lie beneath the humble manner of some employees. Let them know you see them and you care and they will show their appreciation with loyalty to you and the company, and an internal wish to make it the best place it can be.