Before we can begin to address the question of ‘How to motivate your employees’ we must address the ‘Why’?
Why is it even a matter of concern for an employer to actively seek ways to keep their employees happy and satisfied so that they can work efficiently?
Research shows that only 13% of employees worldwide are engaged at work, according to Gallup’s new 142-country study on the State of the Global Workplace. In other words, about one in eight workers — roughly 180 million employees in the countries studied — are psychologically committed to their jobs and likely to be making positive contributions to their organizations.
Keeping your employees engaged and motivated leads to increased productivity and allows an organization to achieve higher levels of output.
In Fact according to Anne M. Mulchay, former CEO of Xerox corporations, “Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person – not just an employee – are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled. Satisfied employees mean satisfied customers, which leads to profitability.”
Therefore it becomes imperative to any organization that has a vision and a mission for long-term sustained success, to address the issues of how to keep their employees motivated for them to work efficiently.
Now coming to organization structures, there are all kinds of employees, ranging from Enthu Cutlets to Sleepwalkers. To address the ‘How’ of this problem, we can divide employees into two sections:-
Employees who require external motivation
No doubt that both kinds are crucial for the success of any company. They are an asset to the company, otherwise, why would the HR hire them in the first place. Having said that, the two categories are not homogenous and there are different strategies to motivate both kinds of employees.
Employees who are Self Motivated
Essentially speaking, this kind of employee is motivated to work because he or she enjoys their work. They don’t seek external stimuli for them to produce good results. On a day to day basis, they are responsible and perform better than the rest.
These are essentially people who strive for better if nurtured well, they can become future leaders in your organization. Therefore it becomes essential for managers or bosses to acknowledge their effort regularly. “An employee’s motivation is a direct result of the sum of interaction with his or her manager”.
Employees who require external motivation
Some people need that extra push and that’s just how they are. Needing an extra push doesn’t mean that they don’t even do the bare minimum, but again the problem is, that just does the bare minimum!
These employees have found hacks for everything, they are lazy, however, do not underestimate their laziness for inefficiency because as the ever-wise & genius Steve Job once said, “Choose a Lazy Person To Do a Hard Job Because That Person Will Find an Easy Way To Do It”
So, let’s decipher ways how you as an employer keep your employees motivated for better results and higher productivity because the same Run-Off-The-Mill ideas won’t work in this century or centuries to come.
10 sure shot ideas to motivate your employees
Be grateful, always!
Yes, you pay them a handsome salary, but this conversation is beyond the transactional mindset that we have been carrying from previous centuries. Salary is a value you pay in exchange for their labor and that system suffices. However, if you want your employees to put in their best so that your company can see greater heights, this parochial mindset will lead to disappointment down the road. So, say thank you more often, remember your employees don’t work for you, you work for your employees.
“Leadership is not about being in charge. Leadership is about taking care of those in your charge”- Simon Sinek, therefore always show gratitude to your employees.
Communication is Key
Communication is the fuel that allows the engine to function smoothly. The more you communicate the better! Get creative with your communications strategies, talk to your employees in person, send emailers, connect via social media(LinkedIn) preferably, etc. It is of utmost importance to make your employees feel like it’s a safe space for them to share their ideas, good or bad doesn’t matter, healthy communication is more important.
Dig the Data
We all know how important data is in today’s day and age. Use data as a tool to get information about your employees, keep a track of their birthday, wedding anniversaries, and any other detail that you as an employer might not consider significant but is of value to your employee.
Another way to work with data is by coming with questionnaires for research purposes. Get your employees to give your quarterly feedback. Not every employee is going to be comfortable chatting with their manager across the table, some of them might be better at MCQ’s and there is nothing wrong with that. It’s just another useful way to engage with your employees and based on the results come up with better strategies. There is no fixed formula to this, tweak and course correct your way through it.
Recognize and Reward
Recognize the motivated employees and reward them for their outstanding work, even if it may seem small to you. Rewards don’t always have to be monetary, think outside of the box or best ask your employees what kind of rewards would make them happy. Writing your employees a heartfelt review on LinkedIn will be seen as a BIG reward for any employee!
An environment such as this enables healthy competition amongst employees too. “When healthy competition prevails – you come out to play and you play to win.” – Lorri Myers, and we couldn’t agree more! It’s a win-win situation for all parties involved.
Set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Bound) goals
Let your employees know in crystal clear words what are your expectations from them and what their deliverables are, and if you want to go one step ahead, also mention a reward as a brownie point! People are not working individually, it takes a village, as they say, therefore it is important for everyone to be on the same page.
Focus on Work-Life balance
This is not the age where your employees should feel or look like walking zombies because they are overworked! Encourage your employees to develop a healthy work-life balance. It’ll keep your employees happier and healthier, which will directly result in higher performance.
Establish a creative workspace
It is a fact that creativity boosts performance, in fact, ‘Creativity is intelligence having fun’ ‘ as said by the eccentric genius Albert Einstein. No enjoys looking at a dull boring wall day in and day out. You don’t have to go out of the way all at once, keep adding elements now and then. Ask your employees what vision they have for their workspace. Elements such as plants help relax the mind, putting up eye-catching artwork always adds the fun element, funky wallpapers will give visual relief, or just as simple as a photo collage of office celebrations would work! Create teams to work on these elements every month and see healthy competition and creativity foster!
Up-Skill your employees!
Of course, money is a key motivation, however, other things would motivate working professionals such as upgrading one’s skill sets. Organize skill training workshops every month either department-specific or something that would benefit every employee! There are various online and offline courses and workshops available in the market, pick some that would intrigue your employee and would enhance their performance in the long run!
Don’t forget to Celebrate!
All work and no play make for a dull working environment and no one wants that! Celebrate small and big wins! Someone had a baby, celebrate! The marketing team achieved its desired monthly goals, raise a toast! The CEO received an invitation to as a keynote speaker at a conference, celebrate! Celebrating will set a happy tone in your work environment and research shows that happiness can get addictive!
Answer the ‘Why’ and not the ‘What’
People are interested to know what you do, however, they will be hooked if you can convince them why it matters what you do! When you focus on the way, you focus on the larger picture and everyone wants to sail on a boat that will take them to undiscovered territories! It adds a touch of novelty to your work! Communicate clearly with your employees on why you work and see how eager they will be to share their ideas to jumpstart the boat!
If you can figure out the why of the problem, the how will follow! Get as much information and clarity on your employees by talking and engaging with them, asking for regular feedback, etc. Keep the conversation healthy and active and work towards maintaining a healthy relationship! Work with data as a tool to assess your company’s performance, the impact of any strategies to come up with to increase motivation amongst employees.
Remember that it’s not a code that you can crack in one go, it’s a habit that one must develop over time. There is no size fits all for all companies either, what works for you would probably be a disaster for someone else. The best bet would be to keep a track of all your efforts, analyze, and course correct whenever needed!