Employee motivation is one of your company management’s biggest concerns. Better employee motivation amounts to better productivity and commitment. Simply put, an unmotivated employee is most likely to use their time at work to surf the internet for personal entertainment. They may even be looking for another job, doing the bare minimum of expected results, and compromising your company output.
According to Paul Phillips, global head of talent acquisition at Avanade, it takes “more than a good salary and great benefits to keep good employees today.” The modern workforce has become complex. With this in mind, HR professionals should rethink their strategies if they are to keep their most valuable talents.
Where does one start? Here are some tips.
Set Clear Directions
Nothing kills an employee’s drive more than the feeling of being stuck in a dead-end job. Setting goals and setting clear paths for their career growth is an efficient way to engage and motivate your employees. It gives them a clear reference for success, thus giving them direction and motivation to develop higher performance standards.
Work with them in setting goals, and show how their opinion matters. Draft SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timed) goals with a healthy amount of challenge to push the employee to grow and improve.
Create an Awe-Inspiring Work Environment
Investing in improving your work environment will better motivate employees. It’s known that physical working conditions have an impact on a person’s quality of work. Studies have shown that the physical office environment can have a significant effect on the perception and behavior of employees. Moreover, employees who are more satisfied with the work environment are more likely to be more productive.
Instead of stereotypical motivational posters, consider rebranding the office space by putting the employees’ thoughts into consideration. Collaborate on a decoration project or meeting space, or have meaningful policies such as pet-friendly policies or nature-friendly policies. An employee-centric mind-set when it comes to office solutions can help inspire employee engagement and productivity.
Gratitude has been proven to improve mental health by releasing dopamine and serotonin, two of the brain’s feel-good chemicals. Recognition and gratitude are not just about acknowledging employee contributions; they’re also about having employees take pride in their efforts in the organization. Anyone thrives in their jobs when they know what they do has meaning. A simple “Thank you” or treating them to lunch may suffice.
Make Work Fun
A little competition won’t hurt anybody, and there are so many creative ways to make the extra challenge fun.
For example, hand out a trophy baton (the bigger, the better) to recognize an outstanding employee of the month. At the end of every month, the employee must add something to the trophy—a trademark of some sort—before handing it over to the next deserving employee.
Continue the monthly tradition so that, at the end of the year, the trophy will have had 52 trademarks on it. The trademarked trophy will not only mark a fun year but also symbolize many shared memories that are both collective and personal. Buy a display case where you can showcase the trophy to motivate and remind everyone that work, in fact, can also be fun.
Give Your Team Autonomy
Giving employees a place in big-picture decision-making or in important tasks gives a sense of ownership. Never micromanage. Learn how to delegate tasks instead. This increases employee commitment, helps retain your best employees, and creates an environment where people will actively be contributing.
Mind the Small Things
Know that everyone wants to succeed (and defining goals is a good start), but also know that employees are all very different. One of the biggest mistakes a manager can make is to create or force a one-size-fits-all approach on a diverse workforce.
There are introverts, extroverts, independent workers, some fresh out of college, and others may even have kids in college. It’s important to note that employees have different personalities, backgrounds, are at different stages in their lives, and therefore are motivated by different things.
As leaders or managers, it does not hurt to sit down with employees every once in a while and look at them beyond the work they do in the office. Little things such as giving them the autonomy to decorate their space (for creative employees) or to make small adjustments in work hours (for new parents) can mean a lot to employees.