Motivate Your Employees. Your company’s most valuable asset isn’t its well-kept trade secrets or fancy equipment, but its employees. After all, secrets can be exposed and machinery deteriorates over time. Employees, however, are the main reason your company exists. They think of ways to solve problems that your business deals with; maintain good relationships with your customers; and drive the passion in your organisation.
Take note that treating your staff as the valued resources that they are is not just for their own benefit. Your business has much to gain from a highly motivated workforce. Here are several ways you can inspire your employees:
Celebrate their first day of work
Motivating your employees starts on the very first day they start working in your company. Begin by sincerely expressing how pleased you are to have them as part of your team. Make sure you hold a team lunch to make them feel welcome. Aside from the gesture, team lunches serve as an icebreaker and give your new employees a chance to get to know the others more. If you’re busy on that day, just reschedule the activity. See to it that the lunch happens soon so that new members can interact with everyone in a casual setting. This will help them feel more at ease.
Another way to make new hires feel that they belong is to furnish their calling cards on their first day of work so that they have something to show their family when they come home.
Conduct morning huddles
Hold team huddles every day, preferably during mornings. This practice is similar to what sports teams do–all players/members gather together in a small circle to plan strategy and motivate everyone. The huddle has become a useful means to share ideas, develop teamwork, and promote productivity within the team. You can also use huddles to announce good news, celebrate milestones, and inform your team about its challenges.
If you have the verve, you can personally lead the huddle to invigorate your troops. To make others feel more involved, rotate the responsibility of leading the huddle among your members. You, however, should set the tone by showing energy when you lead the huddle.
Provide a good working environment
Another way to motivate your employees is to provide for them a good working environment. While the term “good” could signify a lot of things, it generally includes the following attributes:
- There is an open, two-way communication between employees and management.
- The organisation promotes work-life balance.
- The employees are developed through training.
- The workplace looks presentable, and is well-ventilated and comfortable.
- The organisation promotes a sense of unity through team-building activities.
Set career paths
Nobody likes working in a dead-end job. If employees feel that they’re stuck in one, they get demoralised and become less productive, which is bad for business. To avoid this problem, and at the same time inspire your workers, you have to show that there’s room for growth within the organisation. While it’s true that professional growth isn’t assured (advancement, after all, should depend on performance), having a career path available to them gives your employees something to aim for within your company, not outside of it.
Assign leadership roles
Want to motivate and engage your employees? Consider giving them leadership roles. But don’t limit their roles by name–give your employees the authority to actually make decisions (e.g. preparing work schedules or hiring applicants in their department). Bear in mind that you don’t have to promote employees to a managerial position just to inspire them. You can also assign them to oversee other workers. For instance, you can appoint someone to facilitate training sessions or–as mentioned earlier–lead team huddles.
Arrange social gatherings outside the office
Occasionally hold social gatherings outside the office to give your employees the occasion to connect. These gatherings don’t have to be fancy; you can simply go bowling together or meet for a pizza during lunch. Such get-togethers can break the routine, develop camaraderie among employees, and boost their morale. Nevertheless, if you don’t want employees to start resenting these gatherings, you must hold them during work hours. No amount of nachos or booze will make workers appreciate attending a work-related event that eats into their already-limited personal time.
Give some time off as a reward
Do you hold competitions between teams? They’re a great way to develop teamwork, increase productivity, build morale, and further motivate workers. As a further incentive in such team contests, use time off as a reward. You don’t have to give away vacation days; in this case, time off means to longer lunch periods, additional breaks, or the much-coveted early dismissals.
For example, in one competition, you can have two groups compete over productivity and the winners will enjoy an additional half hour in their lunch break. There are employees who would actually choose extra time off instead of money.
Commend in public
You’ve probably heard of the saying: “Praise in public, reprimand in private.” This has become a leadership mantra because it works. People love to be praised! Aside from giving a verbal compliment, you can also award a plaque or trophy. Showing the employee that he or she is appreciated boosts morale. Furthermore, lauding a worker in public motivates that person, as long as the performance was really praiseworthy. But if you commend workers too often, the kudos eventually becomes hollow. To make your show of approval more effective, follow it up with a challenge to encourage the employee to do even better.
Reprimand in private
Don’t forget the second half of the mantra: “Reprimand in private.” Unfortunately, there are times when it’s necessary to reprimand an employee. When the situation calls for it, however, make sure you do so privately and discreetly. See to it that you correct with empathy, focus on giving feedback, and be careful with your tone so that you can motivate the person to do better without embarrassing him or her. Furthermore, you must be specific when correcting an employee so that he or she knows what worked and what didn’t.