Motivation can be energizing. Do you remember a time when you were inspired or you motivated someone? Do you remember what it felt like? The thrill of the spark igniting within you, or helping a child, friend or employee help themselves and seeing the ember catch fire. The energy is contagious.
That same energy is in your organization, namely your people. You know you’re likely to put in more effort and care when you are motivated and feeling good about what you’re doing. Your employees are the same. They will put in extra effort if they are engaged and feel appreciated.
Increase engagement, increase profitability
In a recent global Gallup poll on employee engagement with 82,000 teams, the results showed 21% higher profitability for those organizations in the top quarter compared with those at the bottom. Shockingly, 85% of employees are disengaged or actively disengaged.1 That’s a lot of people who need motivation and a good deal of profit that never makes it to the table. Obviously, there’s a great deal of work to be done globally. Yet, it’s your business we’re focusing on now.
You probably think about motivating your employees with salary, benefits and a nice work environment. Those incentives are a given in the current labor market. You need to do more. The good news is that you can and it doesn’t have to cost you much.
Start motivating your employees today
- Be authentic when you praise a job well done. Acknowledge good work but don’t dilute your compliments by praising all the time.
- Find out what motivates your employees individually. People are inspired by many different factors. Observe and ask what motivates each person. Then, acknowledge them in the way they prefer.
- Work with employees who are causing problems or not meeting expectations. Your employees are watching how you handle someone who is not performing. Don’t ignore or downplay the problem. Your employees are impacted and want you to step in to handle the situation. Be honest and helpful to the person who is struggling. Find out what he/she needs to be successful. If you don’t see improvement after making a good effort to support them, you will likely have to let them go. Sometimes, an employee doesn’t fit with a company’s culture or have the skills to do the job. Be supportive and fair so your employees know that you treat everyone fairly.
- Talk to your employees about their development. What work fuels their passion? Is there an area they want to explore? Providing a safe environment for employees to discover new talents can keep them inspired and engaged. Share in their discovery. Acknowledge their abilities and support them in strengthening their weaknesses.
- Hear what your employees are saying. Listening to your employees is the most cost-effective way of acknowledging and engaging them. And you could learn something you didn’t realize about your business and the people who keep your business running.
Uncover what motivates your employees
Here’s a simple way to get specifics about what motivates your employees. Ask them! Let them compile a list of options for recognition for a job well done. Some examples of both monetary and non-monetary items could be
- Time off work to participate in a community or non-profit event; like Habitat for Humanity
- Opportunity to take on additional responsibility
- Breakfast or lunch with a more senior employee or company executive
- Development class, seminar or conference that is of interest to the employee and the company
- Time off; an extra vacation day or a few hours on a Friday afternoon
- Gift card or small cash award
- Public recognition among peers; like at a department meeting
- Trophy or award certificate
- Tickets to a sporting or cultural event of the employee’s choice
- A small token of appreciation, like a food gift basket, sent to the employee’s home so that his/her loved ones can see the company’s appreciation.
Talking with employees about how they like to be recognized and motivated is an opportunity to communicate about performance, expectations and the value of your employees. Always connect any recognition with performance and the value an employee brings to the business. Reinforce the behaviors and skills needed to make your business successful.
Below, share some ways a company has actively engaged you?
1 Building a High-Development Culture Through Your Employee Engagement Strategy, Gallup, Inc. Washington, DC, 2019.
Paradise Workplace Solutions, LLC works with business owners to improve productivity and profitable growth by aligning people strategies to the company’s business plan.