How to Motivate Employees
What is Employee Motivation?
What is motivation? Employee motivation is a term that directly relates to the energy and commitment employees bring to their jobs. A motivated employee is someone who does more than simply go through the motions on the job while keeping a sharp eye on the clock when it gets close to quitting time. Employees who are engaged and connected with their work actually enjoy it, and it shows in their productivity levels.
One of the questions most managers struggle with on a daily basis is how to motivate employees, and they often make mistakes concerning cultivating true motivation. Small business owners in particular often have problems generating the kind of motivation they’d like to see in their employers, particularly if they’re also highly involved in acting as hands-on managers in their business. After all, they put a great deal of hard work into getting their businesses established, and undoubtedly made significant sacrifices along the way, and because of this, handing off responsibilities to employees can be a challenge for them. They never really learn how to motivate employees as a manager because they’re too busy micromanaging everything, and they often convey a lack of faith in the abilities of their employees.
Although this dynamic is common in small businesses, it also occurs in medium-sized businesses and even in large corporations when managers fail to provide those working under them with the ability to experience workplace empowerment. Workplace empowerment simply means that employees are engaged in their jobs on a personal level.
Components of Employee Motivation
There is no one-size-fits all answer to the question of how to motivate employees in the workplace. A common misconception is that there is no better motivation than financial rewards, and while it’s true that compensation helps make employees feel valued, a high salary alone isn’t going to result in a motivated employee. Other methods of motivating employees include overall job security, working conditions, flexibility that allows for optimal work/family balance, and opportunities to climb the ladder.
Importance of Employee Motivation
Workplaces where employees go through the motions after punching a time clock usually aren’t nearly as productive as they could be, and this results in losses for everyone. The company doesn’t make the profits it could otherwise be making, meaning that salaries are lower across the board. In fact, the bottom line is usually the reason why business owners and managers seek ways to motivate employees and increase productivity.
Tips to Motivate Employees
The first step in developing a successful employee motivation strategy is to set a good example by setting a positive tone. It’s very difficult for anyone to feel engaged in their work if managers and business owners aren’t that way themselves. It’s also essential to cultivate an atmosphere of respect in the workplace — under no circumstances should superiors ever harshly reprimand employees in the presence of others.
Methods of motivating employees in an organization include transparency, cultivating trust and cooperation from the top down, and offering regular feedback on employee performance. Although teamwork is an important part of how things get done in the modern workplace, too much focus on the team itself rather than on the individual employee can serve to decrease levels of motivation. Other motivational techniques used in organizations include tuition reimbursement programs for those who want to increase their skills, sharing positive, big-picture outcomes, and providing small-but-consistent rewards for hard work.
Keep in mind that there is no one-size-fits-all blueprint that shows you how to motivate your employees effectively. Even businesses that provide the same products and services are slightly different from one another, and employee motivation and performance strategies should be custom tailored to the individual workplace.
How to Motivate Employees in 10 Ways
Although many managers and business owner wonder how to motivate employees without incentives, pay scales only play a small role in fostering a company culture that promotes an engaged, motivated workforce. Following are just 10 of the many creative ways to motivate employees:
Create volunteer experiences
Shared community activities are fun ways to motivate employees. Some companies adopt a cause or a nonprofit organization, such as a local animal shelter, while others prefer to mix it up by volunteering at different charities on designated days.
Create a company sports team
Company sports teams also provide a great motivational tool, but be sure to create opportunities for everyone to be involved even if they don’t personally play a sport.
Cultivate a hands-on management style
Hands-on managers show that they’re a part of the team instead of operating somewhere above it. Get to know employees as individuals and make sure no one feels they can’t come to you with questions and concerns.
Create a constructive criticism process
Criticism might seem counterproductive to the motivational process, but it can actually serve a purpose if employees feel as if their complaints are being heard. An anonymous suggestion box provides a risk-free way for employees to make their voices heard.
Make room for advancement
Employees who want to move up in their careers are naturally going to be more motivated if they see a clear chance for advancement.
Promote a happy work environment
Cold, sterile workplaces all but kill motivation. Include features in your work environment that serve no other purpose than creating joy, such as well-tended indoor plants and art. Allow employees to decorate their work spaces to suit their personal tastes and preferences.
Provide flexible schedules whenever possible
Allowing employees with opportunities to work at home on some occasions and to choose the hours that are best for them results in a happier, more engaged workforce.
Provide job-appropriate decision-making opportunities
Most people have more motivation to perform if they’re provided with the opportunity to make applicable decisions regarding how they do their job.
Provide fun incentives
Fun things to motivate employees include after-work happy hours, group lunches, and other social activities are great ways to thank employees for doing great work.
Promote an atmosphere of trust
Even the most dedicated employees struggle with feeling motivated when management is constantly hovering and otherwise expressing distrust. Have an open-door policy in case an employee needs direction, but be mindful that watching too closely conveys a lack of confidence in the employee’s ability to do the job.
Lessonly provides businesses with the tools necessary to answer the question of how to motivate employees without money. Please feel free to reach out to us for more information on cultivating a motivated and productive workforce or get a demo today.