How to Motivate Employees in 8 Simple Steps

Business owners and managers are constantly trying to maximize productivity with a given budget. One of the best ways to stretch the return on labor investment is by learning how to motivate employees. If you can make each employee enthusiastic about putting in their best efforts, you will get more work done for the same labor costs.

Boosting employee motivation is important for more than just the costs and benefits. If you want to be a good employer and attract the most talented employees, your employees need to feel excited about coming to work. When employees lack motivation, they are more likely to quit, show up late or call in sick. In order to make your employees work to their full potential, you need to be constantly motivating them.

How To Motivate Employees In Simple Steps

Let’s dive into the best practices when it comes to how to motivate employees:

1. Support Their Development

When an employee is hired to do a specific job, he or she expects to receive the necessary support to achieve results and even grow within the company. For this reason, it is crucial that there is a manager supporting the employee’s professional development. This means training, giving feedback, listen to suggestions, and guiding the following steps. In a general manner, employees should receive coaching from higher-level managers to be constantly learning. 

In addition to offering personal guidance to support employees’ development, employers should also provide all the resources necessary to allow employees to perform as expected. This means not only covering the costs of courses and training programs, but also providing access to tools or new software.

These learning opportunities make employees feel like you are investing in their career. In addition, the employee will feel like they are gaining useful skills from their work that can help their long-term career goals.

2. Make Their Work Meaningful

Some employees are passionate about their job from the day they are hired. However, most employees need to see the bigger picture before they become excited about their work. This means that as a manager, you must take some time to explain the “why” of everything that your employees are doing. You must be constantly communicating the company’s vision, as well as the purpose of each individual task that they are working on. 

Employees must understand why their tasks and the company’s goals are important. If they understand that, motivating them becomes easy. If they compact with the purpose of their work, they will automatically be more willing to put in their best efforts.

3. Offer a Valuable Employee Benefit Package

Offering valuable employee benefits is one of the most common ways to motivate employees to do their best to keep growing inside the company. The truth is even though employees love what they do, they have external factors that they need to take care of, such as a family or their own health. And taking care of these external factors motivates employees to keep working. If employers offer the right employee benefits — the ones that cover these external motivation factors — they can make employees even more enthusiastic about their job.

While some employers offer the same benefits to every employee, other companies take a personalized approach. The ideal approach is to design a personalized employee benefits package based on what motivates each individual employee. For example, good health coverage may appeal to an older employee or employees with many family members. Meanwhile, a high-achieving salesperson may be extremely motivated by earning commissions.

4. Acknowledge Their Achievements

Think back to the last time you did something nice, and the person never even noticed your efforts. It is frustrating. Not being recognized for achievements drastically reduces motivation to do it again the next time. 

On the other hand, when a manager demonstrates appreciation when employees accomplish a meaningful task a cycle of motivation is initiated. It is a part of human nature to want recognition and acknowledgment for doing a good job. Smart managers know this truism and remember to show gratitude for their employees on a regular basis. 

Not only this will increase the motivation level of the acknowledged employee, but it also will trigger the motivation of other employees who will want to be recognized in the future as well.

5. Encourage a Friendly Work Environment

Some companies offer creative perks such as campus bicycles or snacks in the employee cafeteria. Indeed, these are excellent methods is to make employees enjoy being in the work environment. The more comfortable they feel the more productive they will be. 

However, you don’t have to go all out to create a welcoming office. All you need to do is make a friendly, pleasant work environment. Everything starts by encouraging healthy relationships among employees. Having friendships within the work environment will only make the workflow better. Conflicts among employees must always be taken care of. Make sure your company offers a safe place where employees can relax and feel comfortable.

6. Set SMART Goals

Every company has goals. But not every company has SMART goals. SMART is an acronym that savvy managers use for goal setting, and it stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely. 

A goal must be specific because your employees must know exactly what is expected of them. Goals must include numbers, percentages, deadlines or any measure that will allow them to track achievement. For example, instead of telling an employee that the company needs to increase social media engagement, you must tell them that you want to increase social media engagement by 15% by the end of next month, for example. Notice how this is also a timely goal. Employees need to have a deadline because it allows them to prioritize their work and set milestones.

Furthermore, for your goals to be effective, they must be challenging to a point that employees will be stretched to their full potential, but they also must be achievable. If the goal is unrealistic and unattainable, it will only demoralize your team members.

You should also make sure that the goal is relevant to what they are doing and what the company needs.

7. Encourage Creativity and Listen to Their Ideas

When people feel like you are listening to them, they feel acknowledged and want to share more of their ideas. This makes them more inclined to work harder. Moreover, if your employees feel like you appreciate their ideas, they will strive to think of new ideas that can help the company.

No matter how great a manager is, frontline employees have a unique perspective and understanding of the business. They have firsthand knowledge of what customers want, how certain procedures actually work and what things need to be improved. By getting feedback and ideas from your team, you can troubleshoot for problems before they become a major issue. Once they know that you are open to their ideas, your employees will be more likely to share their thoughts on how to streamline your company’s processes and get rid of inefficiencies.

8. Prioritize a Work-Life Balance

In the workplace, chronic stress is one of the most common health problems. A good work-life balance helps to reduce stress and tension. It also reduces burnout, which can result in better employee retention rates for your company.

Over time, chronic stress can cause problems like digestive issues, heart problems, hypertension, and chronic pain. People are also more likely to develop anxiety, depression, and anxiety if they are under chronic stress. When someone deals with stress over a long period of time, they become burned out and less effective at their job. Burned-out employees cost American employers an estimated $125 million per year or more.

When you give employees a better work-life balance, you have healthier employees who are more productive. This allows you to save money on labor costs. In addition, your employees will be less likely to quit and more enthusiastic about their jobs.

The Bottom Line

Ultimately, motivating employees is about more than just avoiding potential problems. You have to make your team members excited about coming to work. Whether you add a new commission scheme or offer a better work-life balance, the ultimate goal is to make the work environment a place where people want to be. Through a few changes and a new attitude, you can get better at motivating your team and enjoy a more productive workplace.

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