Motivation. It is that thing that gets you fired up to do something and keep doing it. In the workplace, studies show that motivated employees out perform their counterparts so employers need to take it seriously.
Motivation comes in two forms: extrinsic and intrinsic. A simple example of the difference between extrinsic and intrinsic motivation is playing a sport to win a championship compared to playing a sport simply because you enjoy it.
When it comes to the workplace, extrinsic motivation manifests as employees being driven to work by the desire to get rewarded for it, while with intrinsic motivation the drive is there because the tasks they are doing are personally fulfilling.
Due to the enjoyment aspect, there is a common misconception that intrinsic is better than extrinsic motivation but the truth is both serve a unique purpose and complement each other. Managers need to find a balance and make use of both; extrinsic motivation can be effective in inducing interest for a task someone might have considered boring for instance.
There are many ways to motivate your team, here we explore eight key ones to consider:
Set clear goals-people need to know what they are doing
Imagine spending half a day doing the wrong task. Unfortunately this is far too common in work places. Managers need to make sure that company goals are clear for all employees, and also make sure that weekly, monthly and quarterly goals are clear.
It is important for team members to know what their individual roles are in achieving the bigger picture. This will lead to enthusiasm and motivation to get to that goal.
Avoid the temptation to micromanage them
Human beings crave autonomy and one of the ways to motivate your teams it to allow them some freedom. They will feel like you trust them to do a good job and this will in turn motivate them to want to do a good job.
In his TED talk, career analyst Dan Pink emphasized three things that motivate workers; autonomy, mastery and purpose. “Autonomy: the urge to direct our own lives. Mastery: the desire to get better and better at something that matters. Purpose: the yearning to do what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves. “
Maintain healthy communication
Giving your team autonomy doesn’t mean being totally hands off, keeping channels of communication open is important. Communication is the only way you can facilitate exchange of ideas that lead to growth and learn about concerns that are demotivating your team.
Encourage the members of your team to fully participate by inviting their input and suggestions on how to do things better, and, whenever possible, implement their solutions.
It should also including both praise and feedback on where employees can improve. Remember that meaningful communication is two-way, not just top down from bosses to employees.
Take some time to know your team
This might be difficult if you run a very large team but responding to people as individuals is one of the ways to motivate them. If you have this knowledge you will be aware of their strengths and weaknesses and support them to make the most of the former and how to improve on the latter.
You will also know what rewards will work best for which people and will not risk giving concert tickets to someone who cannot stand crowds.
Appreciate your employees
Gratitude in the workplace is often under-looked but it has the same benefits it has in people’s personal lives. A simple thank you costs nothing but will result in more motivated and engaged employees. A survey done by Glassdoor found that four out of five employees were motivated to work harder when their bosses appreciated their work.
Appreciation can also be in the form of bonuses and several other rewards. Some companies like the North 6th agency went one step further and actually let employees pick their own rewards. Because individuals are different, they choose the reward that motivates them the most. They can select from the categories of health, travel, experience, transport and housing, quality of life, dream pick and money too.
Give challenging tasks
Doing the same thing over and over again can get very boring and make workers disengage. Another great way to motivate your team is to give them tasks that will take them out of their comfort zone. However these should be tasks that are reachable.
Offer your support and let the individuals know they can come to you with any questions in the course of executing the new task. Challenging tasks are capable of revealing new skills and interests that both employee and manager may not have been aware of.
Offer advancement opportunities
Can your employees see themselves being better in their career in the next couple of years? If they do not, their motivation will likely suffer. To motivate them, prioritise advancement and not only in the professional field but also in their personal life.
Employers can offer in house workshops or send teams to external conferences to help them learn new skills. Their value to your company and to themselves will increase.
Recognise the star performers
Closely tied to the previous point is recognition. One way to motivate your team is to promote those who excel. If someone consistently does great work and they are constantly in the same job position, they might begin to wonder why they are trying so hard.
While promotions are ideal, they might not always be possible. Managers can use other means, from public praise, days off, giving an award to writing about star performers in the next company publication. Some companies establish recognition rituals where at the start of every weekly meeting people whose efforts were outstanding the previous week are recognised.
There are numerous ways to motivate your team, luckily, most of them are absolutely free. A combination of some of the tricks above will lead to the right motivation formula for the unique members of your team. Remember, motivating a team isn’t a one-time activity, it has to be a way of life.