Key Tips for Motivating Staff

Motivation is an important weapon in any manager’s arsenal. A manager must understand that if an employee is not motivated, then the chances that the employee will be productive drastically go down. Acknowledging this is just the first step to solving the problem of unproductive employees. The next step is figuring out how to actually motivate your employees. Here are some guidelines to help you figure out a strategy to motivate your employees:

  1. Respect the employee

Many companies still believe that the company is doing them a favor by providing employees with jobs and that the employee is lucky to be there. However, what the management must first and foremost understand is that the employee is just as equally important to the company as vice versa. The company has spent time and money hiring and training the person; the employee is an investment. This is especially true if the job is of a specialized nature, which means that employee may have some skills that are required for the job. However, if the management treats the employee as a run-of-the-mill, use-and-throw labor force, then the employee is not likely to give his best or to actually stick around for long. Hence, respect the employee and treat them fairly. Remember, the investment only grows if it is taken care of.

  1. Lead by example

In order to have productive employees, one must be a productive manager. If you are being productive and doing what you must, then the employees will follow your example automatically. However, if instead you are either taking personal calls the whole day, watching cat videos, taking long lunches and/or breaks, then naturally the employee will wonder ‘why should I work when he doesn’t?’ Furthermore, you are setting an example that these things are acceptable in the office; if you can do it, why can’t he? At the end of the matter, if it appears that the management doesn’t care about the work or the company, then the employee has no incentive to.

  1. Make employees part of the process

In order for employees to be productive, they must feel involved. They must feel some sense of ownership or responsibility. Ever heard the phrase, “employees make the company”? This is because it is true, at least to some extent. If the employees do not feel that their time and effort is being put to a good use, then they are less likely to offer it. However, if they know exactly what needs to be done, what their part in the process is, and how their role is significant to the project, then, they are more likely to work harder and provide results.

  1. Focus on employee happiness rather than employee motivation

It is a generally accepted truth that ‘a Happy Worker is a Productive Worker’. If the employee enjoys what he does, then obviously he will work harder at it. If the employee is satisfied about his roles and responsibilities, then he will try harder to fulfill them. On the other hand, if he is stressed, unhappy and feels discouraged then he is more likely to slack off and do the bare minimum, only so as to not get fired. Employee Happiness has a direct correlation with Employee Motivation. A happy employee works harder, does a better job and is more likely to put an increased effort to meet and surpass his responsibilities.

  1. Institute an open door policy

At times, what hampers an employee’s motivation is the feeling that nobody is listening to him or that nobody actually cares about him. One of the best things, a manager can do is have an open door policy. This implies that any employee can walk in at any time and discuss any problems or concerns they might be dealing with. Just listening to the employee can have a significant impact; a little empathy goes a long way. However, the employee shouldn’t feel like the manager is just listening to him, without actually providing any answers. If the employee has a question or a genuine problem, make sure that you answer that question and address that problem.

  1. Create an encouraging environment

Furthermore, a manager should ensure that they are encouraging their employees to achieve their potential. At times, this could include just a push in the right direction, or even just hearing about an idea that the employee may have, which may even prove to be beneficial. The act itself takes just a few minutes but may have significant repercussions. For example, if an employee is encouraged to think and share, he may come up with a new idea, which if implemented may cut production time by up to 25%.

  1. Appreciate employees

Another way to motivate employees is to appreciate them. A few kind words go a long way. If an employee feels that he is being appreciated for his work or for the ideas and contributions that he is making to the project, then he is more likely to continue doing so. However, if he feels ignored, slighted or unappreciated, then he is more likely to continue doing just and exactly just what he is told, no more, no less.

  1. Incentives

An employee wants to be sure that they are being paid what they are worth. If he is being paid minimum wage, do not expect him to go up and out of his way for his work. Ensure that the salary is market competitive, and even if you can’t provide a higher salary, incentives are one of the easiest ways to motivate an employee. The incentives do not even have to be monetary; they can include anything from a prize, a gift card, a dinner or even an appreciation certificate presented in front of the other staff for a project well done. This has various benefits, not only will it incite other employees to work better, but it will also improve employee morale.

  1. Make sure employees share in the company's success

Employees also tend to perform better, if they feel that they have a personal stake in the matter. Think about it, wouldn’t you take better care of your own dog, then say your neighbor’s. This is because it is human nature, we care more about ourselves and our things, than for others; we are selfish. Hence, programs such as employee stock programs are so popular these days; they actually make employees a part owner in the company. Who wouldn’t work hard to make their own company grow? Even if you can’t opt for an employee stock program, there are other options. If the firm gets a new client or a new project, treat the employees to lunch or dinner, have a small party in the office or provide bonuses to the employees who played a part in getting the project.

  1. Understand that each employee is different

However, despite all the previous points, the most important guideline is to remember that each employee is different. Hence, what may work for one employee, will not work for another. So, treat each employee as an individual and see what works for each one. The worst thing that you can do is to assume that all employees are the same and to treat them as a herd, rather than individuals. This will leave the employees feeling as having no individuality and their work will follow suit, giving the company no benefit of the employees’ personal skills.


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