How to Motivate Employees – The Complete Guide
Whether you oversee a business, a project or a specific department your goal should always be growth. But, don’t forget that growth only has market value when it is consistent.
Growth is a marathon, and just like any marathonist who prepares themselves both mentally and physically, you need to be in possession of the right tools for the long run. Even though marathon runners win titles alone, the team supporting them is arguably one of the most decisive aspects for their winnings. Within business the same happens, your employees are your team and they are the most important and decisive element on how your business is going to perform in the future.
It is essential that you understand what you need to do to keep your employees engaged and focused on the common goal. The secret to motivating employees is about knowing your team individuals and customizing the way you recognize and motivate them according to their specific preferences.
You will always need to spend at least as much time building an engaging ecosystem and improving your employee experience as you do hiring new people and motivating your staff.
- Stop Micromanaging
Even though people often look at you as you were Superman, it does not mean you have superpowers. Being a manager, and at the same time, an employee is something that only Clark Kent could dream of. Nonetheless, many are the managers who try to do that and end up being neither a good manager nor a good employee.
Alysa Gregory wrote a pretty insightful post on how you can effectively address this common problem with specific techniques. The problem with micromanagement is that it will make your employees too much dependent on you for direction and therefore less likely to learn, think and produce quality outcomes for themselves. Provide direction and give assistance when required but also provide freedom for employees to do things their own way and surprise you.
Salvador is a Portuguese 25 years old person that has been self-motivated to support young entrepreneurs since university. He’s helped several young entrepreneurs shaping up their business models through a youth entrepreneurship organization named Bring Entrepreneurs Together.
Now, he’s a young entrepreneur himself, specifically the CEO of Tap My Back – a software that supports companies adapting to the way millennials communicate, through instant public work appreciation and continuous feedback. Before joining Tap My Back, he did a Master’s degreeon Business Strategy at Católica Lisbon School of Business & Economics.
- Give ownership
Over time workers can develop what’s called tunnel vision making them to start focusing only about their own duties and deadlines. Rather than working for the company goals, they work towards meeting their role minimum requirements.
A Forbes article recently explores the advantages in leveraging something they defined as “psychological ownership” – the extent to which an employee feels as though their organization or their job is “theirs” (i.e., “this is MY company!”) to the point that the company becomes an important part of an employee’s self-identity.
To foster this mentality across your team you should guarantee that each collaborator gets to understand how his role impacts directly the final customer as well as his colleagues.
Make sure your team feels responsible for what the customer is buying
- Push employees out of the comfort zone
Even though some managers feel their staff does little further from what it is required of them, the fact is that by nature most people do get bored of being asked to do a specific task repeatedly. Besides, this demand makes people to automatize the work they do lowering the probability of contributing with out-of-scope work.
A key ingredient to make people step out of the comfort zone relies in leadership. It starts with you. Step out of your comfort zone and describe the process to your staff as well as the reasons why. Your behavior will soon resonate. Then, be ready to identify barriers and understand what motivates the individuals to guide your employee’s breakthroughs.
Staying within your comfort zone is a good way to prepare for today, but it’s a terrible way to prepare for tommorow –
David Peterson, Director, Executive Coaching & Leadership at Google –
- Share information constantly
When you are growing fast, assumptions and goals change in the same pace. As a business leader, you have a clearer perspective on the bigger picture than your employees do.
Spreading the intel gets everyone on the same layer as you are and at the same time strengthens the feeling among workers that they are an important part of the organization. Nowadays, you can easily share information through several different ways.
- – Standup meetings
- – Daily wrap up emails
- – Open Documents (Google Docs)
- – Team instant messaging tools (Slack, Facebook for teams )
- – Project management tools (Trello, Asana )
- Create an environment focused on the top performers
All the efforts you put into improving your team working conditions should always be focused in satisfying the top performing employees. Eitan Sharir develops a thorough analysis on the impact a team build upon an high-performance culture may generate.
Your mission is to understand the best way to motivate your most talented employees to improve their production rate. Get to know what are the roadblocks they’re hitting and make sure you clear them so that they have no barriers to get the most important work done.
- Use a simple employee recognition tool
Recent studies indicate that employees feel recognition more fulfilling than any money rewards or gifts. By recognition, I mean any type of word or behavior that indicates employees they have done a pretty good job at something or that they need to improve their work at something else.
Even though almost everyone already get this point, managers struggle to deliver constant recognition/feedback when there’s no system implemented that eases the process. Tap my Back tackles most of these challenges. It is a tool designed to facilitate both upwards and downwards recognition in a fun and frictionless way. Either for remote or local team’s recognition may be made publicly or privately to any specific worker.
A plus of using such a tool, is the fact that it provides team leaders with analytics and insights on the recognition given throughout the organization allowing them to become better and more informed managers.
- Fire underperformers
Even though it may seem a paradox in terms of team motivation, firing underperformers works well on motivating your best employees. When other employees see these individuals getting away with underperformance, then they feel it’s ok within the company culture to perform at lower levels. Therefore, firing—if you explain to your team why people were fired—can motivate employees to improve daily.
- Encourage Innovation and Creativity
As a manager, you must realize that the clear majority of innovations come from the people who are manufacturing your products, designing your services or the ones who are interacting with customers.
Fostering creativity across your team will not only bolster employee motivation but also helps creating a more flexible and comfortable working environment where creativity is much welcome.
Disruption either in terms of products, markets or processes is the common ground of every growing company
- Invest in staff learning opportunities
People who get the chance to grow their skills and expertise take more pride in their jobs, you should encourage employees in your organization to gain new skills. However, providing trainings and learning programs is not enough. You must ensure that employees are able to apply the knowledge gained to accomplish their work and further benefit their career utility.
You can do this in many ways, such as providing on-the-job training and other opportunities to teach your employees new skills.
- Do not hire Clones
It often happens that new employees dress, sound and think the same way as the one who recruited them. The last thing any entrepreneur should try is to recruit a bunch of “mini-me’s”. Rather try surrounding yourself with experts who excel in different areas and bring unique perspectives. It will create a much more exciting environment for everyone on your company.
This article was originally published on Tap My Back. To download the free guide on Best Practices to Engage Employees, please click here.
Photo Credit: brendendamo Flickr via Compfight cc