A happy team of employees leads to a profitable company. But employee happiness isn’t something that just takes care of itself. It’s a piece of your company culture you must actively work toward from the top down.
It takes a healthy mix of leadership, incentives and empowerment to motivate your team. Here are seven of the best ways to breed satisfied, engaged workers.
Lead By Example
Motivation starts from the top. If your employees see you trudging into work whenever you feel like it and shirking from your responsibilities as a leader, it’s going to be difficult for them to feel invested in their own jobs.
Lead by example. Get in the trenches during brainstorming sessions. Stay late with the sales team as they prepare for a big pitch. Confidently make the tough decisions required of you as a boss.
Reward Effort… Not Just Success
When I was in my last corporate job before striking out on my own, I had a motivating moment I’ll never forget. I was a junior account manager and had spent my weekend doing grunt work at an event for a client.
Monday morning rolled around and it was as if I’d never even left work on Friday. I was exhausted and not exactly thrilled to be coming in. I walked into the office and found a crisp $50 bill sitting on my desk. It had a post-it not stuck to it that said ‘thank you.’
It wasn’t like I had a choice to work the event or had achieved some big success; it was an expected part of my position and something junior employees were regularly charged with. I was just doing my job. And yet my boss had taken notice and rewarded me for my effort.
Just knowing that my effort was appreciated went a long way to motivate me to keep doing a good job. The $50 didn’t hurt either.
Give Them Something To Work Towards
EY’s Global Generations Study found that minimal wage growth and lack of opportunity to advance were two of the top five reasons workers cited for quitting their jobs. When there’s neither a raise nor a more senior role to work toward, employees can quickly lose their will to put forth extra effort.
Behavioral experts say it’s more effective to incentivize the behavior you want rather than to punish the behavior you don’t want. It works for dogs, children, and yes, employees, so make sure yours always have something to work for.
If raises aren’t on the table, get creative with alternative incentives like extra PTO or floating work-from-home days. If there’s not a position available for an employee who’s ready to advance, consider creating one.
Show Them Your Trust
“I thrive under micro-managers,” said no employee ever. No one can do their best work when they feel like their boss is judging their every move.
Motivate your employees by showing them you trust their instincts—and then empowering them to put said instincts to use.
Give your managers space and freedom to manage. Encourage non-management team members to take on leadership roles in their departments. We discuss seven reasons it’s in your own best interest to motivate your employees in this post.
70% of employees say they’re most engaged when members of the leadership team continually update and communicate with them on company strategy. On the flipside, as many as 25% of workers say they don’t trust their employer.
These numbers tell us two things: 1) employees value transparency highly, but 2) they’re not getting enough of it. Motivate your team by keeping them in the loop on what’s going on and why.
But being transparent alone isn’t enough; you must also be genuine. Nothing’s worse than when a CEO takes the microphone and attempts to disguise impending layoffs as an “new direction” for the company. Keep it real with your employees and they’ll value you for it.
People want to feel heard, whether it’s by customer service when they have a complaint or their boss when there’s a problem at work. Have an open-door policy and be accessible to your employees rather than aloof.
When they know they can approach you with feedback, your employees will feel motivated not only to speak their grievances, but to share new ideas and bring you solutions for improving the company.
Respect Their Lives
Surveys show nearly half of workers feel that their personal lives suffer because of extra demands from work, while three quarters of employees rank workplace flexibility as a top benefit.
At the end of the day, no employee is ever going to care as much about your business as you do. The best thing you can do is make their time spent at work as positive and fulfilling as possible, so they can also fully enjoy their time away from work and come back motivated to do a great job day after day.
How do you keep your team motivated? Share with us in the comments below.
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