Employees need a more compelling reason to give 150% every day they go to work beyond the paycheck they’ll receive for the time they put in. The following are the best ways to get employees motivated to do their best and are at minimal cost to their employer.
- Don’t do a blanket punishment for the entire team if just a few people are doing badly at their jobs. This is highly de-motivating for the people who are performing towards the top and middle of the group since they’re making a concerted effort to try but they’re getting punished right along with the people who aren’t putting in the work. Take the lower performing people aside and make it clear they need to start doing better. You wouldn’t fire everyone on the team because two people were underperforming so don’t punish them this way either.
- Give people a meaningful reason to try so hard. Losing weight is easier if you have a good reason to do so like to stop being winded after walking a small distance versus setting unrealistic goals that will only result in failure. Apply this to motivating people since people who have a passion for their jobs will naturally perform better and they’ll stay in the job and with the company for much longer than someone who feels like they’re just a cog in the machine and will only work hard enough to stay employed and nothing more. Let people see how their efforts are helping both the company and their own professional growth so they have tangible proof of what they’re accomplishing on a daily or at least yearly basis.
- Make the yearly or bi-annual reviews more valuable. Is the person doing their job? Great, but what more can you tell them in terms of how they can do their job better or how they can grow within the department? Don’t be stingy with the ratings either. If they’re a top performer then their ratings should reflect that. Just because you hate giving five out of five to people doesn’t mean you’re right and you’re keeping your people from getting better raises due to your arbitrary rule. Treat the reviews as a sort of map you want to help them to follow so they’re working in the right direction and you’re both on the same page of both current and future goals. If you stand by your no 5’s rule then tell your people what exactly needs to be done to earn this rating and if they accomplish it then give it to them. Don’t be a ratings overlord.
- Bring back the perks that went away due to the recession. Things like Christmas parties and catered lunches are not all that expensive but they give your employees the feeling that your company cares about them as people not just numbers. If the company can pay their CEO’s hundreds of thousands if not millions a year in yearly bonuses, then they can afford to take their people out for lunch at the Olive Garden for a annual meal as a team or offer free things like t-shirts with the company’s name on them.
- Review what the workloads are for your employees. Are they realistic in what the job description described and can the employee comfortably do all of the duties in a 40 hour week without it hindering on their emotional or physical health? No, you don’t want your employees to be sitting around with nothing to do but if every single person has struggled with keeping up with the job, ask them what it is that’s making it difficult and see if the harder duties can be altered or delegated. One person can only do so much without either going crazy or burning out very quickly. Keep them busy but not to the breaking point.
- Give your employees the feeling that they are trusted. Make them feel like their opinion matters and their decisions will be supported by management. Trust is such a major issue for employees since they want to feel like the employer will stand behind them when they’re forced to make a decision that may not be well received with a customer or they have to do something they aren’t comfortable with. Make them feel safe with making decisions and they’ll make the right ones rather than the easy ones.
- Provide the tools to succeed. Not just a working computer and telephone but also multiple resource avenues for when they have a question. Some companies solely rely on online handbooks to answer questions but what about the questions that aren’t address in the handbook? How is your employee supposed to quickly and correctly answer it if there’s no on the books way to do it? Provide multiple training sessions after the initial new hire training so people can get better at the jobs faster than expecting everything to be on the job training. People develop bad habits if they’re not trained the right way in the first place so help them build the good habits first instead of unlearning the bad habits later.
- Give people control over their day. Some companies will schedule the person’s day completely including their break times. Yes, this makes sense in some environments but even in these environments, the people need to have room to take a break away from their desk if they’re having a particularly bad day. Let people choose a time frame of when they want their breaks to be so it’s not a huge disruption to their systems. Let people decide what they want to work on and when they do it since they know what their attention spans are like better than you do. If an early bird is expected to do mentally tasking work in the afternoon they’ll do far worse than if they can do it first thing in the morning when they’re wide awake. Give the expectation things need done but don’t micro-manage to the point that you have it scheduled out for them during a time that isn’t going to do well for them.
- If you use the Gallup survey to determine employee engagement, don’t hold special meetings basically demanding the employees give top ratings to the company. First of all, this is highly unethical but highly common in major companies and second of all you’re giving a false impression of the work environment you’re providing not only to future employees but to the general public. The survey is supposed to show the company where it needs to improve much like the yearly employee reviews are meant to help them improve. Employees can’t bluff their way to a 5 out of 5 so don’t threaten your employees to give the 5 out of 5 if that’s not what the employee would actually rate it.
- Make communication a priority but don’t hold more meetings to do it. Meetings are time sucks that rarely if ever produce anything useful other than telling people information that could just as easily been delivered via email. People like and need to know when changes are being made and what the changes are going to be. If you must hold a meeting, make it as short and to the point as humanly possible. People stop listening after the first say thirty minutes of a meeting since they’re bored or concerned of all of the work they have sitting on their desk that needs to be done. Make the new information/changes available online and email your employees anytime something new is added so they’re immediately aware of it.
To read more about the top traits of a bad manager, click here.