You, as a business owner, can hire the most talented, educated, and experienced employees in the industry to grow your business. But, if they’re not motivated to bring their best selves to work every day and to work together for the good of the company, all of that talent will be wasted.
The hiring process is just the beginning. Once you’ve onboarded your team, it’s time to get them motivated and keep them motivated. The future of your business is at stake.
How to Motivate Employees in the Workplace
There are many tactics you can utilize to inspire your employees’ best work. Understanding how these will affect your team members is the first step to improving workplace satisfaction and ultimately your bottom line.
1. Competitive Pay
It seems fairly obvious. If you don’t pay your employees what they are worth (and more), they will underperform. They’ll always have one foot out the door from the moment they start.
Underpaying your staff sends the message that you don’t value their hard work and their talents. If you don’t value their hard work, they won’t either.
Here’s how to make competitive pay work for you:
- Before you float a position, research the general pay scale and then go above it. You will attract brighter talent and foster more loyalty.
- Stay abreast of how raises are being handled in your industry and do even better. Institute performance based raises in addition to cost-of-living raises.
- Make sure that your brand new employees are not coming in at a higher salary than your seasoned employees. No, you don’t want your employees discussing salary. And yes, they do it anyway. Nothing tells your experienced employees that they are expendable like bringing in a newbie at a higher pay rate.
Pay your employees well and they will return more rewards.
While health insurance is the first thought that springs to mind during the benefits discussion, it shouldn’t be the only one. Employees expect health insurance, so offering that doesn’t set you apart from the crowd or motivate your staff.
It’s time to think outside the box:
- Wellness programs – this can include gym memberships, massages, weight loss or smoking cessation support, You can offer monetary rewards for participation and completion. This not only motivates employees, but also decreases sick days and may lower your health insurance costs.
- Tuition reimbursement – Students are graduating with more and more student loans every year. In addition, some employees may want to go back to school so they can move up in your company.
Offering money for tuition or towards student loans can help motivate your employees to grow and improve. It also sends the message that you appreciate personal development and want your employees to have upward mobility.
- Telecommuting – People love to work from home and to make their own schedule. Whenever possible, give your trusted employees the option to skip the office and work from the comfort of their homes.
Creating their own schedule can be appealing to many employees and you will likely find that they work more efficiently when given this freedom. This will also keep them from feeling like they are being micro-managed, a situation which will ensure that your employees do the bare minimum and harbor resentment towards management.
Get creative with your use of benefits and your employees will thank you in improved performance.
2. Ensuring managers have leadership qualities
Your employee is doing a fantastic job in their current role so you reward them with a promotion. This seems good in theory, but what if that employee isn’t management material? The Peter principle states that “managers rise to the level of their incompetence”.
Managers need to possess leadership qualities. If you plan to promote for a job well done, make sure that:
- a) the employee already shows these qualities, or
- b) you give them sufficient training to succeed in their new position.
When you promote (or even worse, hire) a leader without leadership qualities, the employee will suffer, the team will suffer, and your business will suffer.
3. Performance reviews
It may seem counterintuitive for anyone who has ever had the dreaded “review”, however checking in with your employees on a regular basis and discussing their performance can be a win-win situation.
- Review expectations: Here’s what’s expected of you.
- Offer positive feedback: Here’s what you did well.
- Provide constructive suggestions: Here are the areas in which you need to improve, and how to do it. (be specific!).
- Utilize financial rewards and incentives: Bonuses, raises, promotions, etc.
- Create a safe space: Allow your employee to review the leadership and motivation they are receiving. And don’t forget to listen.
4. Engage with them personally through staff meetings
No one wants to work for the Wizard of Oz, a giant talking head who can’t be bothered speaking to his team. The best bosses are the ones who know their employees on a professional level, yet also care about them on a personal level.
Take the time to speak to your employees through one on one meetings and staff meetings, and most importantly, listen to your employees when they speak to you. The greatest ideas, breakthroughs, and solutions will come from the employees that are in the thick of it.
Front line, middle management; these are the people who understand how your business is run. Take advantage of this wealth of knowledge and show your appreciation for their hard work.
No matter what type of building you occupy, how much you’ve spent in equipment or inventory, and how much you love your customers, your employees are your biggest investment and your best assets. Treat them with respect and provide them with constant sources of motivation, and your business will boom.
|Written by: Brad Mishlove, CEO and founder of Catapult Groups, an executive coaching organization is committed to inspiring business owners and entrepreneurs by keeping them accountable for their own success through peer advisory groups and one-on-one executive coaching.|
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