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According to James K. Harter, Ph.D., Gallup's chief scientist for workplace management, 75% of workers who quit their jobs leave for reasons influenced by their managers and leaders. Often, this is because they feel a lack of engagement and motivation. Additionally, there is emerging evidence that low employee turnover is directly related to high profits. Doesn’t it make sense that keeping your employees engaged and motivated is key to maintaining business growth?
In any niche, the companies that do the best deliver something better than their competitors. That might be faster delivery of products and services, better customer service and experience, or superior value overall. In order to accomplish this, organizations need workers who are highly motivated and work at their best.
Motivated workers are more productive. They are more likely to think outside the box to come up with innovative solutions. They don’t hesitate to jump into difficult projects to help their co-workers and can be counted on to devote time to ensuring quality and consistency.
Motivating the Right Way
Sometimes what is supposed to feel like motivation often feels like pressure. And when an employee feels pressured all the time, it can have a negative result. Positive motivation is key. To boost motivation, and ultimately growth, put these four tips into action.
1. Go beyond the basics.
Presumably, you are already paying fair wages and providing a safe work environment. Those are a bare minimum, but you can do more. Remember that it isn't just basic legal standards that employees consider. Instead, most of them will judge how they are being treated and compensated according to industry standards.
Compare your employees’ pay scales, the organization’s benefits package and other perks to those offered by other companies in your niche. If you aren't doing well by (or going above) those standards, then your first action should be to bring these basic items in line with industry expectations.
2. Recognize outstanding work.
People are motivated when their work is recognized in meaningful and tangible ways. However, it's important that you implement employee-recognition programs that are actually meaningful to them. According to a Forbes article, many of these programs (such as those that reward attendance) are actually demotivating to employees.
Fortunately, there are effective ways to recognize staff. Understand that recognition should come to those who go above and beyond, not to those who simply meet expectations. In addition to this, the recognition should correlate to something employees have done, not what they will do. Promising recognition of future behaviors can encourage employees to game the system. It’s also frustrating to those who have been excelling all along without being noticed.
Recognition doesn’t have to come in the form of huge plaques or elaborate prizes. Something as simple as a priority parking spot for a week or a company-wide email congratulating a high performer is often sufficient.
3. Provide training and resources to make work easier.
If you’d like your workers to take the initiative to do more and better, give them the time and brain space to do so. Do this by providing them access to tools and training that allow them to complete their required tasks with less time and effort.
In some cases, it may be worth looking into automating or outsourcing certain jobs. For example, you might consider giving your overworked marketing team access to a copywriting service so they can spend more time working on marketing strategy.
4. Offer flexibility and autonomy.
When your team member’s work is compatible with their life outside of the job, they’re going to be happier and more motivated. That’s why workplace flexibility can be an excellent motivator. If employees have more control over their daily schedule and can choose whether to work from home or commute, they are less likely to be impacted by out-of-work distractions. Consider offering flexible schedules and the option to telecommute.
When employees are engaged and highly motivated, turnover decreases and profitability increases. However, the key to accomplishing this is finding meaningful ways to motivate your staff that don’t frustrate or create bad blood at the same time. Offer incentives that reward good performance, ensure workers have the tools they need, then give them autonomy so they continue to feel satisfied with their work.