Why is it important to motivate employees?
Motivation is what drives employees to be fully engaged in their work and inspired to achieve results. When employees are motivated, they’re more likely to come to work happy, be ready to tackle new challenges and give their best effort. That level of engagement and energy will lead to higher productivity and a desire to find more creative solutions to your toughest problems.
In turn, motivated employees will benefit the company and themselves. Motivation gives employees the push to reach company goals more quickly and effectively, but also reach their own career goals as they’ll be more likely to make the most of their opportunities at work. Increased engagement when working on projects can help them expand their skill set and make better connections with colleagues, including those in management or leadership roles. Together, a more efficient company and more engaged employees can also better meet customer and client needs, which will likely come back and further benefit the company.
How to motivate employees
As a leader, there are a number of motivational techniques you can use to bring out the best in your employees. However, every employee will have different motivators. This means that you’ll want to figure out what these motivators are for each individual person.
Once you have a better understanding of what drives your team, use the right combination of the following tactics for the best results:
- Be transparent
- Recognize individual and team achievements
- Solicit positive and constructive feedback
- Offer a clear path for advancement
- Show gratitude
- Offer flexible scheduling
- Prioritize work-life balance
- Establish trust and autonomy
- Give employees opportunities to lead
1. Be transparent
Transparency in the workplace helps employees feel like an important part of the organization. Provide your team with a roadmap that illustrates the company’s vision for business growth over the coming weeks, months and years. Being open about organizational objectives can motivate employees by helping them recognize and know how to fulfill their role within the company. As a result, they’ll be able to directly see the impact of their hard work and how it contributes to the organization’s large-scale accomplishments.
2. Recognize individuals and team achievements
Many employees can be motivated simply by knowing that their efforts make a real impact, but just as important — or even more important — is being recognized for their efforts. Practice recognizing the achievements of both individuals and teams. While you can recognize an entire team for its contribution towards achieving a goal, recognizing the individual contributions of each member of the team can motivate each individual to continue to excel in their role.
In addition to showing appreciation for your team by recognizing them in a meeting or at a celebration, you can also reward them. Such incentives can range from spot bonuses, gift cards, a personal parking spot or a team lunch paid for by you or the company.
3. Solicit positive and constructive feedback
Giving your employees a voice lets them know their opinions and suggestions matter. The more team members can openly share their honest thoughts, the more they’ll feel like an important element of the team (and the more likely they’ll continue offering their insight and ideas).
Give employees a voice by asking them to provide both positive and constructive feedback. Encourage them to share how they feel about the development process for the last project, or what they think of the company culture. When they do speak up, listen closely and respond thoughtfully. Their feedback can not only help you provide valuable insight that can improve the company, but it can also help your employees feel valued and respected.
4. Offer a clear path for advancement
Providing a clear career path is another way to motivate employees. Schedule time with each of your team members to learn about their individual goals and how they’d like to grow with the company. Then, pinpoint ways that will help them be successful in their current role and develop the right skills to be able to advance into the next.
Related: How to Reduce Employee Turnover
5. Show gratitude
Constructive feedback is certainly important in building a strong team, but sometimes team members simply need to see that you’re grateful for them and what they do. Occasionally pull your employees aside and thank them for their efforts, whether it’s about completing the latest project ahead of schedule or staying late to meet a deadline. Actions like this can help them feel empowered and motivated to continue working hard.
6. Offer flexible scheduling
Schedule flexibility can be a big motivational driver for employees. A few ways to give more flex to your staff include offering flexible daily working hours (e.g., arrive to work early and leave early), compressed workweeks or remote work opportunities. While still maintaining a high standard of participation and timeliness, it’s still possible to be accommodating of special events in your employees’ lives or of circumstances that may require an employee to have a different schedule than their colleagues.
7. Prioritize work-life balance
In addition to offering flexible scheduling, you can prioritize a healthy work-life balance to help your employees have the energy to work hard. Encourage your team to be productive and reach goals while in the workplace, but also accommodate employees who would benefit from a vacation or day off to recover their mental or emotional strength. You can also show your team that you care about their life outside of work by scheduling weekly wellness activities, like a brief meditation exercise, for example.
8. Establish trust and autonomy
When your team feels that you trust them to effectively fulfill their responsibilities, they’re more likely to be motivated to work hard on tasks. One way to establish such trust is to give your employees the autonomy to experiment and pursue their ideas without constant supervision. This autonomy can not only encourage creativity, but it also indicates that you trust your employees to produce unique and effective solutions.
9. Give employees opportunities to lead
Leadership opportunities give employees additional responsibilities that can motivate them to work at a higher standard to succeed in their role and reach their career advancement goals. Give these opportunities by changing who leads the team on a certain project or by rotating who leads a weekly training on a new skill or concept.