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10 Ways to Motivate Your Employees

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Kathryn Terry from Inspiring Interns. Her opinions are her own. 

If a happy workforce is a productive workforce, employers should consider motivating their employees a worthwhile endeavour. Employers are often regarded as an important driving force in motivating their employees. That doesn’t mean they get the job done, though.

So how can you motivate your employees?

1. Be a hands-on manager

In order for employees to feel motivated, they need to see that their boss is hands on, interested and welcoming. There are lots of ways to ensure your employees feel as though you’re a hands-on boss. Here are a few:

  • Have an open-door policy. Balance explain that an open-door policy encourages open communication. This allows for employees to not fear discussing problems and concerns with their boss.
  • Inc. suggests learning “what makes each employee tick.” In finding out what ideas and goals each employee has, employees will feel motivated by your interest in them.
  • Get to know your employees. Showing your employees that you have the time and desire to get to know them as an individual, rather than just a worker, will help them feel more motivated to work for you.

Ben, CEO of Inspiring Interns employs such a policy and believes it’s important to strike a good relationship with employees.

I don’t want to be the sort of boss employees never see and feel they can’t approach. It’s important for me to have great rapport with all employees and important for them to come to me if they have any problems, want to ask a question or just want a chat. For this reason, my door is always open.”

2. Act on suggestions and ideas

Prove to your employees that they’re more than just a name on the payroll. If you listen to your employees’ suggestions and ideas, employees will stop believing in the Us and Them divide. Your employees will feel more valued and, therefore, more inspired to get the job done.

How to find out how your employees feel:

  • Have a suggestion box so employees can put it in anonymously and senior management can act on suggestions.
  • Ask your employees if there is anything that would help make their role easier and more efficient. Some people wouldn’t feel comfortable bringing it up outright but will be happy to disclose when asked.
  • Respond to emails swiftly. Show your employees that although you are busy, you value their suggestions.

3. Make room for employee progression

According to Forbes, “talented people generally…want to advance in an organisation.” Giving your employees new responsibilities and opportunities to progress up into a different role could ensure they stay on the ball. This way employees will feel as though your company wants them to progress.

This can be discussed in yearly or bi-yearly appraisals. Find out how they feel in their role at the moment, and if they would like to/ be able to take on extra tasks. Working a job with day-to-day variety is less likely to cause employees to feel jaded and get easily distracted.

Allowing employees to take time out to undergo training courses which will aid them in their roles demonstrates that you care about your employees’ skill development.

4. Organise team activities and celebrations

Workplace happiness is not just down to a high salary and financial perks. Many companies are increasingly paying attention to company culture and socials.

Mark Batey, senior lecturer in organisational policy told the Guardian “this is the human era of the workplace. The perfect workplace also gives people flexibility and autonomy as to where and how they work, built on a culture of growth and trust.”

By organising work socials demonstrates that you acknowledge that having time to unwind after work is important and that employees should have a good balance.

It’s a good idea to ensure your employees have events to look forward to. These events could include:

  • Seasonal parties (do not avoid the Christmas staff party)
  • Outings to fun activities like inflatable parks, bowling or a rock climbing centre.
  • Pub quizzes.

5. Provide employee incentives

Providing rewards for employees can go a long way. Don’t just put the carrot on the stick, provide the carrot if employees truly deserve it.

Incentives could be social events – Friday afternoon drinks trolley whereby each employee gets a drink of their choice to wind down into the end of the day, monthly lunches or dinners, or team building activities.

Financial benefits such as bonuses, gift cards and discounted gym memberships.

Related to work life balance, such as greater work flexibility or the occasional late start/ early finish.

6. Create a happy workplace

Psychology has often highlighted the importance of a positive working atmosphere. So, as an employer, it’s important to create an environment employees thrive in. What can make a more stimulating workspace?

  • Bring in a foosball table/ping pong table
  • Provide free food and drink
  • Install a television in a “chill out” area
  • Include plants and other decorations in the office
  • Put up calendars, whiteboards etc for employees to track progress and events.

Office perks are by no means everything, but they definitely can create a positive and exciting office to work in.

7. Trust your employees

In order to have a healthy and helpful relationship between you and your employees, you need to trust your employees. Balance advise employers to not “micromanage”; to trust employees to make their own decisions and succeed in doing things differently to you. Employees who feel trusted will feel like an important member of the team.

8. Provide flexibility for your employees

Not everyone copes well with 9am – 5:30pm. Some are late risers and others prefer a longer evening. Promising flexitime allows employees to choose the hours that work best for them. Allowing employees to work at home, even just now and again or for a day a month will make them feel more motivated to work. Research on flexi-time has demonstrated that employees achieved more, were off sick less and were happier in their jobs.

9. Encourage a work-life balance

Every employee wants a boss who genuinely cares about their work-life balance. Every employee has a life; so make sure they know you care about theirs. For example, you can do this by cutting the working day short every Friday or allowing a monthly late start.

If employees know you value the “life” portion of a work-life balance, they’ll feel more motivated to work hard in the “work” portion. It also incentivises them to work hard when they are being rewarded.

10. Get your employees engaged

Ensure your employees are motivated by putting effort into them being engaged in important decisions. Encouraging employees to actively get involved in vital processes will show employees you value their opinions and ideas.

Having weekly or monthly meetings where employees can share ideas and collaborate will make them feel more connected to their work and colleagues and work better together.

Motivating your employees can never be overvalued. Make sure it’s at the top of your agenda. When you show an interest in motivating your employees, your employees will show an increased interest in working for you.

Kathryn Terry

Kathryn is a recent English Language graduate who spends most of her time writing. When she's not writing, she's tackling her "to be read" pile.

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