Your employees are the backbone of your company. While you probably make most (or all) of the important decisions and help keep the company/business running smoothly, your employees are the ones who make sure your visions come to fruition. In a very real sense, they are the heart and soul of your company – and should be treated as such.
Of course, there will come a time when you’ll have to let an employee go (for whatever reason) but for the most part, you’ll want to work with the people you have. Keeping your employees motivated in the workforce is a good way to make sure that energy levels stay high and that everyone is fully invested in their work.
Check out our blog post for six easy and productive ways to motivate employees:
1. Let your employees know your intentions and expectations
It’s hard to be motivated when you don’t know why you need to be doing something. This is especially true in the workspace, where communication breakdowns can result in little to no work getting done – often because employees simply don’t know what to do. The solution is surprisingly simple: communicate with the people who work for you.
This doesn’t just mean an office-wide memo sent out at the beginning of the week (though that’s important too). It means taking a few minutes to set each new employee on the right track. It means making sure they know that their questions will be answered. Give your employees a reason to work, let them know your high (but fair) expectations, and they will rise to the challenge.
2. Make your employees’ work space comfortable
Making the workspace comfortable is one of the best ways to motivate employees. This doesn’t mean you have to go the Youtube HQ route with nap stations and play rooms. But what it should mean is that you work hard to make sure your employees have a healthy, restful work environment. It can be hard to feel and stay motivated in a dingy office with uncomfortable folding chairs and no air conditioning.
Of course, that is an extreme example…but there are some businesses where that picture isn’t far from the truth. Hire an interior decorator to add some tasteful paintings, lamps, and seating to the various spaces in the building. Make sure that your team has access to good technology (not slow, clunky PCs) so that they can do their work even more efficiently. Strive to make each person’s workspace something to be enjoyed – not endured.
3. Give employees more leadership responsibility
Leadership is one of the greatest ways to motivate employees. When your goal is to motivate your employees, you have to understand that not every employee is the same. Some are simply there for the paycheck, while others understand and share your vision for where you want to take your business. It can be difficult at times to separate the people working for you into those two categories…but you really need to.
Try making yourself available and open to suggestions about different business models and proposals. The employees who come to you are probably the ones who feel a personal connection to your company – they know it can be even better and they want to share their ideas with you.
Once you have a good idea of which employees deserve greater opportunities, elevate them to a higher position of leadership – even if it’s simply leading a team on a small project. The best employees, the ones you really want backing you, will rise to the challenge and become even more motivated to work well within the company and help it succeed.
4. Motivate your employees with bonuses and other rewards
This method is tried and true – but that doesn’t mean it won’t be appreciated. When dealing with the headache of a Christmas rush, it’s common to present employees with bonuses. But you should also be on the lookout for other opportunities to reward specific employees.
When they know that you see what they’re trying to do for you and the company, they’ll be enormously motivated to do even better. Use rewards like bonuses, promotions, and extra vacation days sparingly…but do use them. It’ll provide a boost to your employees and, by extension, your business.
5. Let them see you smile
What employee feels motivated when their boss is constantly tired, irritated, or demanding? Everyone has bad days of course and you don’t need to be peppy and upbeat 24/7. But showing your employees that you’re happy and excited to go into work will motivate them to match your mood and meet your expectations.
Happiness is one of the best ways to motivate employees. Let your employees know that you’re happy with them when they accomplish a goal – big or small – and your positive attitude will start to rub off on them too.
6. Let your employees know they don’t go unnoticed
Have you just received a great report from a happy customer about one of your employees? Let them know! Make a big deal out of it! Nobody wants to work day after day with little or no appreciation. Knowing they made a customer happy enough to send in some good feedback will make their day and motivate them to treat the next customer even better.