20 OCT, 2017

5 Tips for Keeping Employees Motivated

keeping employees motivated

It has often been noted that a unified team can overcome all kinds of challenges and obstacles to achieve a successful outcome. Conversely, an unmotivated team can be set up for success, having every conceivable advantage at their disposal, and still fail to deliver.

One of the defining factors of all great teams is that they are highly motivated. For a team to be successful, each team member must be motivated and working towards a common goal in unison with the other team members.

But how do you go about building and sustaining motivation within your team? Below you’ll find 5 quick and easy-to-implement tips that can help you accomplish just that.

Tip #1: Use Praise

In 2004, a far-reaching Gallup poll surveyed over 4 million employees worldwide and concluded that those employees who receive regular praise are more likely to stay with their current organization, more likely to increase their productivity, and more likely to increase engagement among their colleagues (teamwork).

Using praise is straightforward, but there are a few simple points to remember to do it right. The praise must be genuine and it must be for something that warrants praise. It must be given in front of others. By doing this you create a warm, happy sense of achievement within the individual receiving the praise. They’ll be motivated to work hard in order to receive this praise again.

But giving praise doesn’t just influence the person receiving the praise. We all crave attention and want to belong. This need is inbuilt within all of us and is a very human trait. The beauty of giving praise publicly is you’ll trigger this desire within the other people in the room, causing them to want the praise they see others receiving. Because of this, praise can be used as a very subtle way to get your underperformers motivated, encouraging them to up their game through their desire to receive praise.

Tip #2: Be Fair and Even

In management theory, there is a concept known as the Equity Theory of Motivation, which states that an employee will balance their inputs against their outputs relative to others to create a sense of fairness. In a nutshell, this means that they will adjust how hard they work if they perceive that others are getting more than them. This usually means others are getting more pay, but it could also be that others are perceived as being awarded unearned bonuses, or being given more interesting projects to work on etc.

To avoid this and maintain a sense of fairness, you’ll need to ensure you treat everyone in your team the same. Where one person has been awarded in some way and another has not, to preempt any sense of inequity, it might be useful to discuss why the other person has been given the award with the rest of your team. Again, this approach can give rise to a psychological desire within your other team members to want to achieve the same award. An employee recognition platform can be highly beneficial in this case.

Tip #3: Promote a healthy work/life balance

By promoting a healthy work/life balance your team members are going to feel more in control of their daily working lives. Examples of initiatives promoting work/life balance include allowing employees to work from home, allowing flexible working hours, and the promotion of health initiatives.

This obviously benefits employees, but it can also greatly benefit the organization by increasing productivity, promoting a less stressed team, and lowering absenteeism.

Tip #4: Communicate Frequently

As a manager, when you’re thinking about how and when you communicate with your team, it can be easy to fall into the trap of thinking that your team perceives no news as good news. However, this simple isn’t the case. All teams like to receive regular updates about what’s happening, even if it’s just to hear that there has been no change since the last update.

If you share regularly how everything is going, both the good news and the bad, and share how the team is contributing to the overall success of the organization, then your team members are more likely to understand their role within the organization and how they contribute to the strategic direction of the organization. If a person understands how they contribute to the success of the organization this usually leads to increased motivation.

Sometimes as a manager you won’t know what’s going on or have all the answers. It’s okay to share this information and the challenges you face. It may even lead to some great suggestions from team members and bring the team closer together.

Tip #5: Co-Create Plans Where Possible

Sometimes, especially in challenging situations, directives just need to be executed. But in most modern business situations that is rarely the case.

Co-creation of plans means that you create your plan(s) with the full collaboration and engagement of your team from start to finish. Co-creating plans can improve motivation for your team to succeed.

Your team will have had input to the entire process, meaning they will feel a strong sense of ownership of the plan. This sense of ownership and buy-in means that if issues do arise during the execution, your team will be much more likely to proactively find workarounds to make the plan a success. This will happen because their sense of ownership will make them want to succeed.

Co-creating plans with your team will also make the entire team come together and feel like they are all on the same page. This is quite the opposite of what would happen if you simply thrust your plan at your team for them to execute, without asking for any input into creating the plan.

Summary

These five tips will help you to get and keep your team motivated. And motivated teams can achieve great things—as Michael Jordan said, “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.”

By remembering to use praise effectively, be fair and even, promote a healthy work/life balance, communicate regularly, and co-create plans, you can build a foundation of motivation at your organization that can lead to great successes for the business and create champions of your employees.


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