Look around at the successful leaders you know or have learned about. What made them successful? Reasons for leader success are many and complex but one of the underlying reasons for success in most businesses is employee motivation.
If your employees are not motivated, your business will suffer from the inside out and it could begin to crumble one employee at a time. Soon, you’ll be surrounded by poor, dissatisfied employees with the good ones gone seeking job fulfillment.
Without question, people work to make money, to make a living and support their family and the lifestyle to which they’ve become accustomed or would like to achieve. But, if you strive to maintain a healthy environment it must go beyond monetary reward. If we fail to gain fulfillment in our work and feel needed then the paycheck becomes secondary and may not be worth it at all.
Here are several key, basic human elements to motivate employees:
1. Treat your employees with respect. If possible, learn their names and address them as such each time you see them. If their job gives them no dignity they will dread coming to work and want to leave as soon as possible. Without respect, there is no company loyalty and they will undermine you each chance they get.
2. Earn your employees trust. For instance, make them feel an important part of the company’s success. Share company plans for change and expansion. Communicate with employees individually and as a group because not everyone will understand the message the first time.
If they hear about a change in their company from an outsider or on the news, they feel left out and even betrayed. Interoffice memos, 1 on 1 meetings, and group meetings are very beneficial when communicating important news. Lack of communication with employees is one of the chief reasons for inter office turmoil.
3. Listen to what your employees have to say. In many cases, your employees are closer to the job than you are. They have a feel for what’s right and what’s wrong and will be willing to share this information with their employer if they’ll listen. Listening is KEY! You may not want to take action on all their suggestions, but give them an opportunity to vent. You may be surprised at what’s going on right under your nose.
4. Show your appreciation. Merit raises are nice but sometimes not feasible. If you don’t recognize your employees, they may lose effort. Schedule an appreciation day with a small party or get together. Perhaps name an employee of the month. If you reward people, they will notice and most people will work harder so they can be noticed as well. It must be genuine recognition though.
Present them with small tokens of your gratitude such as a bonus, employee pin or a coupon for dinner. Frequent boosts of employee morale are essential.
5. Provide employees incentives for advancement. No one wants to work in a dead end job. Find out what each employee wants in the job and in life in general and express an interest in helping him or her to fulfill those desires. Many times you’ll learn they want nothing more than to love what they do and feel they’re contributing to the overall effort.
Your employees deserve to have your respect, trust and appreciation. Communicate with them and provide work incentives and your employee motivation skills will greatly improve. So will your business if people truly know you care and have their best interest at heart.