You need to walk a fine line when it comes to trying to get the most from your employees and overworking them. American companies lose $350 billion a year because of unmotivated employees. The key to solving this is providing the right employee motivation. That can be extra tricky when it comes to creative employees because creativity can’t be forced—but that doesn’t mean all is lost.
This graphic from Company Folders breaks down how to motivate employees based on your workforce. The most surprising takeaway? Offering them more money is rarely the best solution. Below are a few ideas to help you get started.
1. Be positive
A negative atmosphere in the workplace can be toxic. It drags everyone down and decreases productivity, preventing you from getting things done efficiently. Conversely, a great motivation technique is to establish a positive environment.
Trust your employees and treat them with respect. Allow them to exchange ideas and solutions to projects without fear of judgment. But don’t be afraid to give them feedback as long as it will help them grow and be better employees. Celebrate victories and accomplishments, as well as birthdays and other special occasions such as weddings. This shows employees you value their lives outside of work, which they will remember and appreciate.
2. Job security
Employees can be distracted if they feel that they don’t have job security. Instead of being a productive member of your workforce, their heads are filled with thoughts of feeding their families and paying their mortgages. Relieve them of this unnecessary stress by assuring them their jobs are secure.
Take it a step further by giving them ownership of their work and offering training to stay on top of the latest trends in their fields. Meet with them to learn more about their interests, develop a career path, and formulate a plan to follow it. Provide advancement opportunities to increase retention.
Worries about appointments and obligations outside of work can preoccupy employees and leave them unengaged in their work. Flexible scheduling can be great motivation in the workplace, whether it’s allowing employees the opportunity to work from home or floating a lunch.
This is another thing that shows your employees that you value their lives outside of work and you understand some things can’t be done outside of the workday. After all, furnaces don’t break and pipes don’t burst only on the weekends. Allowing employees to work from home while they wait for repair people means they don’t have to burn any of their personal days and they don’t fall behind in their work. In addition to these perks, insist employees take breaks. Research shows regular breaks boost productivity.
While competitive salaries are great motivators, that’s not all employees are looking for. A great benefits package can be a key technique for increasing employee motivation.
Employees want to know their health is valued. They also don’t want to spend much of their salaries paying mounting medical bills because they didn’t have the proper coverage, which is why health insurance is critical. A proper retirement package is also a great benefit to help employees plan for their future and show appreciation for their time with you. Vacations are just as important; they allow employees to spend time with family and friends and recharge their batteries.
5. Encourage Collaboration
Peer motivation can be a very powerful method of motivating employees. Set up team building exercises to allow people to get to know each other better, thus improving their abilities to work with each other on projects.
Alternatively, create a healthy competition among peers. If done well, this will bring out the best in your employees and serve as great motivation as they try to outdo each other. On the other side of that, be sure to encourage collaboration, too. Some of your employees’ best work could stem from tweaking an idea a colleague developed during a brainstorming session. Support experimentation for innovative solutions and creations.
6. Offer Rewards
For some people, extrinsic motivation is the best way to get to them. This is when employees work to achieve and get rewarded with positive results or avoid negative outcomes. One example is working late to earn extra time off later.
Your rewards can be as big or as small as your budget allows, as long as employees know they are working toward something. It can be a possible promotion, extra vacation time or a bonus. For special projects, you could even offer a free trip. This not only provides an incentive for employees, but it also shows your appreciation for their hard work.
7. Good Management
More than 30% of employees leave their jobs because of bad management. That means any other type of incentives you provide won’t be good enough if you don’t follow the rules of good project management.
Set clear expectations for employees so they know what targets they are trying to reach and what is not allowed. Give them attainable deadlines to show you respect them and their time. Along the lines of giving them ownership of their work, don’t micromanage. No one likes to feel like someone is hovering over their shoulders or watching their every move. Let them showcase their talents. Most importantly, don’t forget to say thank you on a regular basis (not just on holidays or during big projects).
Remember, what motivates you might not work for someone else, so it’s important to get to know your workforce. Use anonymous surveys to keep your fingers on the pulse of your business and find out what your employees value. Try to chart productivity based on the incentives you offer to find out what works the best. It’s hard to find employee motivation techniques that will work across the board for your business, but hopefully, these tips can help you get started.
Do you have any other ways to motivate employees? I’d love to read about them in the comments below.
Max is a SaaS enthusiast and loves actionable content that provides direct value.