Motivating your employees – 5 useful tips
A happy and motivated workforce is a productive one, and this is what every business depends on. However, many businesses do not give enough thought to the emotional and developmental needs of their employees. Staff are not robotic minions mindlessly carrying out the business’s functions. They are people who need to feel appreciated, interested in what they’re doing and comfortable in their surroundings, in order to be motivated to work.
The following six tips will help you understand what motivates the people in your office, and advise you on what you can do to keep them motivated and ultimately nurture a more successful workforce.
Your employees are accustomed to doing the standard tasks that are required of them, the ones that are part of their job description. But job enrichment is hugely important to keep employees from getting bored or even complacent in the role. Frederick Herzberg has stated that job enrichment is vital to staff motivation. He points out that businesses need to stay on top of how well their employees are doing, because those who demonstrate increasing levels of ability deserve increasing levels of responsibility, i.e. promotions.
He argues that jobs need to utilise an employee’s full abilities. They need to be challenging enough to make sure that the employee does not start to feel like they can ‘do the job in their sleep’. Jobs that do not utilise an employee’s full abilities are not sufficient motivators; businesses should consider replacing the employee with one who has a lower skill for that job, and will therefore be sufficiently challenged.
It boils down to making your employees feel valued, but without overloading them to the extent that they become stressed (a de-motivator). Most employees thrive when they feel like they are doing something important or valuable, or when they have more accountability for tasks and bigger projects.
Similar to responsibility, businesses need to be aware that employees will become bored and ultimately de-motivated if there is not enough variety in their role. All employees sign up for a particular job description, and will usually have some interest in what they’ve agreed to do. Ultimately, if the requirements of the role are not right for them, they can leave. However, it is possible for an employee to be intrinsically interested in the job role, but to reach a point whereby the role has stagnated. Every day it’s the same thing over and over.
If it is possible and if there is enough flexibility in the job description (and there isn’t always; it does sometimes depend on the nature of the job), consider giving the jaded employee some variation in what they’re doing. This can be a powerful motivator. It could be a promotion or extra responsibilities (see Point 1), or it could simply be helping out on another task or doing some bits and pieces for another department – not necessarily greater responsibilities, just a change of pace.
Often a fed-up employee will already have some ideas about how to enliven their work and may approach you with those ideas. Listen. Try to find a workable solution. Good communication and being seen to appreciate your employees’ wants and needs are also very effective motivators.
Recognition is something that is forgotten by a startling amount of businesses. Too often the bosses point out when employees have done or are doing something wrong, and never tell them when they’re doing something right. Recognition and praise are widely agreed to be the biggest motivators in the office. Fiona Thomas, Director of Education at Net Languages, argues:
“If the person who is directly responsible for us does not seem to notice or care when we perform outstandingly, we understandably feel unappreciated. This in turn can affect our work performance to the detriment of the organisation we work for.”
Thomas goes on to say that praise and recognition from those high-up in an organisation are very effective at keeping employees motivated. There needs to be a general sense that the people in charge of a business appreciate those who are helping to maintain the business’s success, i.e. the workers. Employees who feel appreciated, and feel that they are doing well and doing things right, will want to continue to be successful so that they continue to impress the powers that be.
Businesses should consider a policy of informal recognition – patting someone on the back when they’ve done something impressive or valuable for the business – as well as formal appraisals. Appraisals should be used not simply to highlight areas for improvement, but to highlight areas in which employees are meeting and exceeding expectations – i.e. “You did that job very well” and “I was particularly impressed by your work on that”.
Create an inspiring office environment
Your surroundings can be important motivators. A simple lick of paint, a more suitable temperature and better lighting can all have a positive effect on your employees’ motivation and productivity. Statistics from DeskTime.com reveal the following:
Multiple computer screens, making it easier to have several different documents and browsers open at once, have been shown to increase productivity and efficiency by between 9% and 50%.
Comfortable, safe, well-lit and well-ventilated workplaces can increase productivity by 16% and job satisfaction by 24%, as well as reduce absenteeism.
Workers in windowed offices have been shown to be 15% more productive than workers in windowless offices.
Send Business Centre offers modern, refurbished, fully equipped serviced offices in Woking, with stunning views of the Surrey countryside and the River Wey Navigation Canal. One of the reasons Send chose the site was because of the surroundings, which create inspirational office environments for all of Send’s loyal tenants. For more information about Send’s serviced offices, call 01483 225617.
Brainstorming and company decisions
This is another way of making your employees feel appreciated, valued and utilised – by involving them in brainstorming and company decisions. You are demonstrating that you trust them and value their input. By doing this, you foster a culture within the business whereby your staff really do matter and are instrumental to the business’s future and success.
Involving your employees in decisions and brainstorming actually has a dual benefit for the business; feeling valued in this way is a powerful motivator, plus your employees could come up with ideas that benefit the business that you never considered before.
Rewards for completing particular jobs and tasks well, or for continued impressive performance, can come in many forms. They do not have to be grand and permanent changes like pay rises or promotions (though these kinds of rewards should always be considered for employees deserving of them). Smaller gestures of appreciation can have a huge impact on motivating employees. Consider some of the following examples:
- Taking your team out to lunch
- Dress down days
- Commissions and bonuses
- Profit sharing opportunities
- Going home early on Fridays
- Team days out
Do you have any motivational strategies that you would add to this list? How do you keep your staff motivated in the office?