It can be tough for a business owner or manager to understand how to motivate employees while still making a profit and increasing employee productivity. There are monetary or time costs often related to employee motivation. So, managers and business owners often hang pictures of cats and mountains on the walls and hope that gets employees going. Unfortunately, a poster with “hang in there” and a cute kitten does not count as actual employee motivation. It’s simply wall art.
Many employees feel that office promotions and raises are given because of chance, personal favor, or even simply because it’s “bonus time.” This can deaden motivation and halt employee productivity. It can make employees that work hard feel that simply clocking in and clocking out are all they are in control of.
There are more factors behind employee motivation than pep talks or team building exercises. These factors include: assigning projects based on skill level, feedback after a project is complete, understanding why a task is significant, and being rewarded for a job well done. Here’s a breakdown of each of these points:
Tap Existing Skills
You hired employees because they have specific skills. Perhaps one is an excellent salesperson while another is a whiz with Quickbooks. However, instead of automatically assigning a project or task based on your basic understanding of that employee’s existing skills, find out what else your employees can do or enjoy doing. Your salesperson may have a flare for public speaking, allowing her to reach out to hundreds of people instead of one person at a time. Give your employees a chance to show their potential and earn a promotion, create a new position, or get a bonus.
If an employee has no understanding of whether or not their project was successful, it can be difficult for them to know which aspects of their expertise they should hone and where they are already sharp as a tack. Feedback also serves to help acknowledge an employee for a job well done.
Understanding One’s Significance
No one wants to feel like a cog in a machine. Each and every employee is doing something to contribute to the overall business plan. It may be that the janitor creates a gorgeous working environment. Perhaps the salesperson is providing clients with the opportunity to use a superior product of system. Knowledge of why what one is doing is important can help get your employee’s head in the game and keep him or her improving.
Another aspect to understanding one’s significance in the overall picture is employee training. If an employee can see why he or she is benefiting your company, that employee will be able to glean much more knowledge from webinars, seminars, and classes. This not only improves how valuable they are or can be, it allows them to take part in boosting their potential for bonuses, raises, and promotions.
It is vital to show your employees how important a job well done is to you. That means issuing rewards when an employee steps up and produces. Perhaps your receptionist is so stellar that everyone who walks in the front door or calls mentions his genuine warmth and friendliness. It could be that your project manager boosted production while reducing overtime by simply doing her job and managing her people well. No matter what the action, excellence should be rewarded.
There are many ways to reward an employee. These include:
- Giving them a raise or a bonus
- Providing a promotion
- Giving them the long-coveted corner office
- Acknowledging them in front of the rest of the office
- Providing them with an additional paid vacation day
- Presenting them with a present like a fruit basket, bouquet, or box of chocolates
- Announcing their excellent work on your website
- Buying them a lunch of their choice
- Allowing them to work from home one day a week
- Giving them an extra long lunch
- Providing time off for a child’s soccer game or date night
There are so many ways to provide rewards to your top producers. I’m sure you can think of more.
The point is to give rewards to those people who show excellence and produce at a high level. If you staticize their work, the graph will show that they are working harder and producing on a consistent basis.
When employers provide rewards or give choice projects to employees who don’t produce, they will simply get dejected employees who will not produce. What would motivate a productive employee to be energetic about his job if he sees an unproductive person reaping all of the rewards? Nothing, that’s what. But if your top producers get rewarded and your low producers do not, this will motivate your lower producers to get to the top producer level. And, when a lower producer begins to be motivated and becomes effective, be sure to reward this motivation.After all, that’s what you were working for!
Many employers are frustrated and don’t understand how to motivate employees. They paste inspirational quotes all around the office and wonder why this doesn’t make more production happen. Our management consulting services can help you increase employee productivity and keep employees motivated. Contact us today for a free business evaluation.