Whether through job boards or direct hire staffing agencies, you’ve pulled together an amazing team of employees. Unfortunately, that is only the beginning of the battle. Now you must keep your workers. With everyone being individual and working differently, this can be an increasingly difficult task. Knowing how to motivate employees organically is key to keeping your workforce happy and energetic.
According to a recent Gallup study, only 36% of workers are motivated and engaged in their work. Of course, this is not ideal. But the idea of throwing benefits and raises at employees, while seemingly effective, is anything but. Motivation starts from the top, and with these six tips, managers can help implement strategies that keep employees wanting to come to work and provide their best effort.
1. Positive Feedback to Motivate Employees
Being recognized is fantastic. If you are working hard, you want to hear it. This awareness goes beyond the basics of psychology. As humans, we want to be heard and accounted for. Therefore, letting employees know when they’re doing a good job is crucial to keep them doing a good job.
Ultimately, this seems like common knowledge. Sure, as a manager you might pile on compliments whenever you get a chance. That’s an okay start, but it is not the overall goal. Genuineness is crucial. Therefore, telling a worker they’re doing a good job is not enough. Take the time to see what the person is doing positively, then let them know the specifics.
Furthermore, when an employee feels like their work is valued and important to company growth, they are likely to want to continue their work. Not only do compliments make employees feel useful and happy, but it also gives them a stronger personal connection to the job itself. No one wants to feel replaceable so letting people know how they are not will motivate them to continue to be successful workers.
After all, you don’t want a workforce of pawns. You want knights and bishops.
That was an awful analogy, but you get the point.
2. Be Transparent
We have all heard it countless times from people complaining about their bosses. Passive aggressiveness is a quick way to turn an environment caustic, and in return, destroy the motivation of workers.
Sure, being a manager can be tough. Toeing the line between being too critical and constructive is something that takes countless hours of practice and an unbiased viewpoint. It is not easy, but that’s why you’re the manager. Your job is to be the leader. Henceforth, be the leader.
If someone’s performance is not up to par, let them know. Not only does this help nip problems in the bud and move towards better performance, but it also transmits a level of respect to your employees. Be real. Having a problem with someone and trying to get them to figure out why not only causes stress but makes you look like an inept leader. Confrontations may be difficult, but they are necessary. Tell the employee what they’re doing and how to rectify it.
At the same time, there is an area between too harsh and too squishy. No one wants to be too mean in criticisms, but it’s better to be too mean and get the problem handled than to be too easy and let the problem grow. If an employee feels they are constantly in a dance with being in trouble, motivation diminishes. Getting things out of the way quickly will keep workers motivated.
Overall, you have to learn each of your employees as individuals to approach them uniquely. Everyone is different. This leads to our next tip (great segue, I know).
3. Know Your Employees to Learn How to Motivate Them
One form of managing does not fit all. Regardless of whether you’re working with a temp agency or full-time staff, knowing how each member clicks will allow you to keep them motivated in their own ways. This is one of the most important parts of being a leader in any facet and is pivotal in knowing how to motivate employees.
Employee A works better if I set weekly goals while Employee B is more efficient if I let them work autonomously. Employee A needs more feedback while Employee B does not do well with stern criticism.
Take the time to analyze all of your workers individually. Find out what makes them tick. Be attentive. Not only does this allow for you to create motivation techniques that attribute to each of them, but it also shows that you respect all of them equally. Knowing every employee shows respect, and therefore employees are more likely to be motivated to work for you and the company.
After all, you are the figurehead of your company in your department. Show them you care by knowing how to work with them. Everyone is different, and that is the beauty of human nature. Get to know each of your employees through trial and error and personal conversations (when the time permits).
Much like positive feedback, knowing each employee and how to work with them will show that they are irreplaceable, making them more motivated to be a hardworking part of the company.
4. Create a Comfortable Workplace
This tip may not always be applicable in the strange world of 2023. But for companies that still work at offices, this can be significant.
No one has the will to work in a place that is stagnant and sterile. The visual and comfort levels in a workplace are psychological keys to motivating employees.
Furthermore, bean bag chairs and couches may be a bit too much in regards to comfort, depending on the type of office, but even small things like paintings can go a long way in motivating employees. Nothing drains the soul more than a boring office. Try to keep things colorful and happy.
This endeavor does not need to be expensive. Maybe ask your employees what you should bring in to make the office feel more homely. If some workers are artists, maybe ask them to bring in their work to hang up. Consequently, a workspace should be a place where everyone feels comfortable. The subtleties of this will only push motivation in the right direction.
5. Motivate Employees by Creating Team Goals
No one knows what the company needs more than those who work for it. Yes, it is your duty to establish your department’s goals despite what the workers believe to be important. Some may be more shortsighted than others. But allowing your team to create goals with you is a great tool to keep them motivated. After all, you cannot see everything needed, but they can.
During meetings, allow for your employees to speak their minds. What do they think should be a goal for the month?
This simple question only has positive effects. Not only does it allow for the employers to feel like they’re important to the company (they are), but it makes them feel heard and valued as workers. This tactic plays into various motivation techniques listed before and may ultimately give you a better idea of what is going on on the floor.
6. Offer Rewards
It may seem simplistic in nature, but rewards go a long way. Throwing prizes and money at your workers will not keep them around if everything else is toxic. But having rewards for goals is a colossal positive on motivation.
It doesn’t have to be anything drastic. Maybe implement a small bonus if a quota or goal is met or provide for a percentage raise during performance reviews. Maybe allow employees to throw a party when a larger goal is completed.
Along with positive feedback, having an award keeps employees motivated. As stated, everyone wants to be recognized for the work they’re doing. Everyone wants to be valuable. Continuing to let employees know that they are seen and heard is the best way to keep them working hard.