How to Motivate Your Employees

As a manager, it often falls to you to ensure that you’re properly motivating employees towards the tasks at hand that will benefit the company. Motivating employees to go above and beyond their minimum job description can boost company morale and your bottom line. Here are some suggestions and tips on ways that you can motivate your employees.

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Positive management styles

Positive managers can have a big impact on creating a positive work environment where productivity can flourish. Some methods of this management style include:

    • Provide constructive feedback. Many employees like knowing how they are performing against the expectations of their jobs and their peers. Provide feedback in public by recognising accomplishments at meetings, and in private through emails that feature constructive criticism.
    • Understanding employees’ needs. Taking the time to understand your employee’s needs may help in determining what their individual motivations are. For example – employees with children or ageing parents at home may need to adjust their schedules to provide care for them. Others may be most productive in the early mornings and may appreciate having meetings scheduled for the afternoon.
  • Managing your involvement. Communication is vital to determine the progress of tasks or projects assigned to your employees. Excessive communication or frequent check-ins can be perceived as micromanagement, which may leave your employees feeling mistrusted.

Lead by example

Setting an example of the type of work ethic that you expect to see from your employees motivates them to adjust the output they may need to demonstrate. Even when you are spending time on projects that may not involve them, leading by example with your personal work ethic shows that you do not take your management position for granted.

Incentives and competitions

Supplementing an employee’s compensation with appropriate, yet exciting, incentives can leave them feeling more appreciated with their place in the company. Productivity or sales competitions between individuals can encourage creative thinking and trying new techniques. Having team-based competitions can invigorate morale amongst groups of people that may not have worked together before. Special incentive programs can motivate an employee to think about their work beyond specific tasks or goals that they are required to achieve.

Advancement opportunities

Having a career path can go a long way towards focusing the attention of employees who are discouraged because they may not see a future with the company. Having an outlined advancement path can motivate employees to stay on task and enhance their output. Make sure that your employees do not lose sight by:

    • Ensuring open communication. Maintaining open channels for communication will allow employees to share their goals and any obstacles that may be in the way of reaching those goals.
    • Showcasing skills. Through special assignments, accounts or leadership opportunities employees can step into the spotlight and show off additional skills they have which may be beneficial to the company. Offer constructive feedback when this happens so they are encouraged to continue developing these skills.
  • Continuing education. If available, encourage your employees to participate in professional development courses and training. Having an invested interest in improving your workforce may leave the employee feeling they have a future with the company.

Engage influential team members

Regardless of job titles or seniority, many companies have a handful of individuals who are natural leaders among their peers. When it comes time to motivate a group of employees, these individual leaders are a great place to start. A well-liked employee performing an undesirable task can sometimes be received better than when the instruction is handed down from someone in a management position.

Re-frame goals

How you present goals to an investor or a group of managers will be received differently by your employees. Having large, annual goals is a great way to keep your company on a successful track, but the same goal can seem intangible to an individual employee. A broad quarterly or annual goal can feel more achievable if it is broken down into monthly, even weekly, tasks. Small, quantifiable steps can motivate an employee to take action, especially when they see how their efforts contribute to the larger goal.

Share the big picture

A roadmap is essential in knowing where you are going. While many job descriptions are precise about the tasks and duties that an employee is responsible for, some may be motivated by understanding how their job contributes to the big-picture goals of the company. Knowing where management is looking to take the company in the next few months or years gives everyone an idea of where they fit within the company. Learning how to effectively motivate requires time and attention to develop. Taking the time to understand your employees’ talents and needs can go a long way in developing motivational tactics that can significantly impact their overall productivity and happiness, which can positively affect your bottom line.

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