If you’re wondering why highly motivated employees are the key to a successful business, you’re in the right place! We have the research that shows just how important it is to continually work on improving your employees’ motivation as well as actionable tips on how to improve their productivity.
Motivating your employees and making them feel like a part of the team is a vital process in securing your company’s success. Their level of faith, commitment and drive can not be bought or learned. It has to come organically, from a workplace that cherishes freedom and self-growth.
Once you create such an environment, you can expect a higher level of productivity and output. Here are a few ways you can foster positive company culture and encourage your employees in a sincere way.
An engaged employee is a productive employee
Employees who aren’t motivated, and don’t see the bigger picture, won’t give their 110%. They won’t inform you of occurring problems that need to be solved and won’t work for the greater benefit of the company.
This is one of the biggest missed opportunities you can encounter – having employees who are working on a project see what problems will come up in the future and not do anything about it because they don’t care and don’t want to get themselves involved.
Your employees should be the biggest supporters of your brand, products, and services, even hold the role of your brand ambassador. When other people see their enthusiasm and how much appreciation they have for their workplace, they will think fondly of your brand and be more inclined to apply for your job openings, which benefits you in the long run.
That is why it’s so important to periodically work on your employees’ motivation and engagement. The biggest benefits are – higher productivity levels, more innovation, higher levels of employee retention, and easier recruitment.
Let’s break it down. A group of researchers in the USA in the 1930s wanted to see what could be changed in a factory setting to motivate the workers. Once the researchers made the light in the factory brighter, the productivity levels went up. To everyone’s surprise, once they dimmed the lights, the productivity rose again.
This is the Hawthorne effect and it shows that the workers responded to being singled out and asked about their input, and not the change (in this situation the light) itself. It shows us that if we want to find out how to help motivate our employees, we have to ask them.
Management can usually be out of the loop regarding what goes on in their company on a day-to-day basis. That leads them to make assumptions about the quality of life their employees may have. If you truly want to get to the bottom of your employees’ issues, you need to be proactive and ask them how they feel about their workplace.
The best way to find out how your employees feel in their work environment is to measure their level of satisfaction using a well-being assessment. You can share the results with your team afterwards, and organise a meeting to discuss the way forward together. This will show them how much you want to engage your employees in the future of the company.
Make sure to be transparent about which changes you’ll be implementing and which issues will take precedence over others. The last thing you want is for your employees to turn on each other. That is why you’ll need to openly discuss which issues take priority and how it all fits into long term goals.
Once you show you truly care, it will snowball into higher productivity levels and better innovations. It’s only natural for employees that know they are appreciated to want to put their ideas forward, knowing that they will be heard and compensated.
You don’t want your competition to find your flaws and exploit them and that is why you need to encourage your employees to tell you about any obstacle they may have found and how they would resolve it.
Furthermore, encouraging your employees will bring other long-term benefits, such as lower rates of employee turnover, since people are more inclined to stay where they are appreciated.
The more freedom they have, the more engaged they will be, and engaged employees have the drive and motivation to put their best foot forward and work towards the greater benefit.
Great innovation comes from people who are closest to the product or service at hand, and if you create an open space for your employees to pitch ideas and ways of improving your products and services, you’ll benefit in the long run.
Don’t let them slip out of your fingers and take their ideas to your competitors!
How to encourage your employees
There is no one way to encourage employees that will work for all industries and all employees. It is of the utmost importance to listen to your employees and work from there. It is essential that you build a trusting relationship with your team and ease into things over time.
Here are some examples of encouragement you can incorporate into your management efforts after you talk to your employees and figure out what could be improved.
Talk about the long term vision
Everybody wants to feel like their work matters on a larger scale. If your employees feel like they are changing people’s lives for the better in any way possible, they’ll take pride in their work and that will reflect in the quality of their job.
Make sure to recognise good work and award your employees for reaching their goals, giving amazing input and foreseeing any problems you may have in the future.
Your long term goals can also reflect the ways in which you want to help your community, by giving back or sharing your corporate social responsibility strategy with your employees. Maybe one person can’t make a huge difference in their community, but a group certainly can.
Make them a part of your efforts and let them share their experiences with their friends and family on social media.
Give your employees autonomy
A lot of companies reacted to the global pandemic by allowing people to work remotely, with flexible hours. That type of freedom to organise your day on your own gives people the feeling that their management trusts them and wants them to have a great work-life balance.
It goes a long way to incorporate asynchronous communication, which is in sense sending a message without expecting an immediate response. It helps people to have a continuous workflow and not get interrupted by unimportant messages and ad hoc project requests.
Seeing how work-related communication is no longer limited to a physical office, workers can experience burnout quicker just by the amount of information they receive on their phones, smartwatches, and laptops.
Eliminating the need for stopping your work in order to respond to messages leads to a more productive workday.
Create a positive workplace environment
If you’re not sure about how your employees perceive their workplace, start by creating anonymous surveys for them to express their complaints. Once you get a clear picture of their opinions on what can be done to improve things, you can start working on it.
Make sure to go into this with an open mind, without expecting to hear that everything runs smoothly. Often managers think that certain issues are behind the team, while the team still deals with them every week.
Once you work out the bigger issues specific to your company, you can focus on the smaller ones, like bringing in plants to decorate the office, bringing in more coffee and tea options and organising educational workshops and team buildings.
Once you create a safe space for your employees to communicate openly about any matters that they may find pressing, you need to work on finding solutions and measuring your employees’ productivity.
The only way to do that without micromanaging is to measure in on a yearly basis. See how many projects your employees worked on, how many sales they closed, how much revenue did they generate and how many mentees did they educate.
If you see a steady increase in all those areas, you’ll know you’re on the right track. If you see a decline or even a too fast increase, you need to reevaluate your efforts for creating a positive work environment.
About the Author
Petra Odak is a Chief Marketing Officer at Better Proposals, a simple yet incredibly powerful proposal software tool that helps you send high-converting, web-based business proposals in minutes. She’s a solution-oriented marketing enthusiast with more than 5 years of experience in various fields of marketing and project management.