Looking to motivate staff? Think smaller

 In Staff Retention

At one point or another, all great performers struggle with motivation.

Volleyball players, musicians, chefs, chemists, business owners, and accountants all have to fight through daily responsibilities and routines.

Some days it’s easy, some days it’s not.

Some days we feel fully invigorated to do our jobs and to do them well.

Other times, it takes grit and fortitude (and, let’s be honest: lots of coffee).

Luckily, there are techniques that can make it easier for us to stay engaged and motivated in the work that we do.

We can use these tactics for ourselves, but also put them in place for the people who work for us and with us.

It’s important that the strategies we use to motivate are ones that actually work.

According to Inc.com, “Companies with engaged employees outperform those without by up to 202%.”

That’s a pretty big percentage.

And if we start with that end in mind (increased motivation and engagement), we’ll have a better focus when we put motivational strategies into place.

Here’s what I mean:

If you simply read a motivational strategy technique off of a blog article, or an email article (like this one), and implement it in your business, you may not get the results you’re hoping for.

That’s because the number one thing we have to do when we put HR strategies in place is to be intentional.

The second, is to be personal—in regards to your organisation and the people that work there.

“Motivation is highly personal and universal. Find what works for your team and make sure that you do what you can to keep staff excited about what they do and you’ll see the benefits,” shares Aj Agrawal in Entrepreneur magazine.

I have to agree with Agrawal on this one.

Finding what works for your team

Dale Carnegie, renowned lecturer on self-development and author of many books including How to Win Friends and Influence People, identified five main areas of motivation in the workplace:

Achievement: Employees feel invigorated when they have challenges set before them and then conquer them. They experience satisfaction when they are consistently doing things well.

Recognition: When leaders and other workers recognise a person, effort, or accomplishment in a positive way, employees feel more motivated to keep performing.

Honesty: Offering and facilitating feedback, like in a touchpoint conversation, is essential for employees to feel valued and know where they stand. Truth and honesty are necessary ingredients to genuine motivation.

Simplicity: Small actions matter. Simple encouraging gestures, positive words, and smiles are at the core of organisation’s culture.

Positivity: Relationships and connections are everything. When positive people and a positive environment surround you, employees are more motivated to go the extra mile.

These five key areas of motivation can be embedded into any workplace at any time.

Some of them don’t take much work or money. For example, recognising employees might look like sending out an email sharing the story of a job well done. Or it might include noticing someone’s good idea in a meeting.

As Carnegie says…

Small actions matter.

We don’t have to create expensive systems of incentive bonuses and winning trips to Fiji (by all means, if you have these in place, don’t stop now!)

But, truly, motivating employees is found in the basics.

Pool and table tennis tables are great, but the real key to motivating people when then feel flat is to ensure they:

  • Are clear on what they need to do (they know what success looks like for their role). And that they have the skills, capabilities and tools to carry out what is expected of them – it’s when we procrastinate or don’t know where to start that we can feel demotivated.  
  • Understand where the company is heading and the role they play in the vision.
  • Feel safe and comfortable in their environment – this also includes their wellbeing.
  • Work with people who make them feel challenged in a good way – i.e. provide them with learnings and care about their development
  • Celebrate small milestone wins, gratitude and recognition – as well as the big wins
  • Feel empathy and flexibility around personal and family circumstances
  • Feel like they really belong and are a valued member of the team

Your role as a leader is to take your team from being dependent to independent and successful. If you do the above, you will move them towards this goal.

We need to challenge the traditional types of motivation i.e. drinks afterwork or time away…

… As these are becoming more and more demotivating and stressful as more people may not be drinking (or doing health challenges), have family responsibilities that they need to plan, or they can become resentful of additional time away (if outside working standard hours).

They definitely do have a place (i.e. for getting people on the same page, team bonding, and for some particular type of teams), but make sure you read the response from your team if you are wanting to do it for motivation.

This is why having regular touchpoints with your employees is so important. It helps to learn what you need to do to most effectively lead your team.

Be sure to download your copy today: Touchpoint Interview Form


This Month’s Focus

Open up the floodgates of healthy communication with regular touchpoint interviews. This month download my easy to use Employee Touchpoint Form and roll out this valuable process in your business.

Any questions?

If you have questions on this topic or any others, feel free to reach me by email or set up a free one-on-one consultation session, or drop me a comment below.

Thanks for sharing!

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Paulette Kolarz

Customer Support

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