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13 foolproof ways to motivate your staff

Posted on March 15, 2016

It’s a wonderful thing - the energy and dynamism of a motivated group of people. Problems get solved. To-do lists are crunched. Work begins to feel much less like work.

You have 4 staff. You have 44 staff. It doesn’t matter. Nurturing a happy and engaged workforce will increase productivity and decrease staff turnover. Which beats working with clock-watchers.

Here are 13 tips for motivating your staff, igniting inspiration and getting your employees performing at their best.

1. Pay your staff what they are worth

Let’s get the taboo over with, right off the bat. Money. People always want more of it. And while a pay rise won’t necessarily motivate your staff, not being paid enough is definitely demotivating. Good people are worth keeping hold of and they want to feel appreciated.

2. Show some gratitude

Praise is your most potent weapon for geeing up your staff. Companies with ample employee recognition have 31% lower voluntary staff turnover than companies that don’t. Know what else? A 10-year study of 200,000 professionals found that the central commonality of successful managers was the practice of praising staff frequently and effectively.

Adopt the gratitude attitude. When George from marketing nails the website updates while steering the social media campaign, show your appreciation. Be specific. “Great job, Georgie!” doesn’t cut it when her witty, confident presentation has just netted you 2 new contracts. Make your employees feel good about themselves. It might just transform your business.

3. Create the right environment

A messy office with damp on the walls, coffee stains on the floor and fruit flies buzzing around that bin full of rotting banana skins isn’t an inspiring place to work. Create an environment where your staff can work with pride - whether that’s their office, their vehicles, their IT equipment or the tools of their trade. Quality begets quality.

4. Trust your employees to figure it out for themselves

Stop micromanaging. There’s nothing worse than feeling like your boss is constantly hovering over your shoulder. If your staff get the impression that you think they need babysitting, don’t expect them to shine. Give your staff full ownership of their responsibilities. Empower them to take the initiative. Accountability and autonomy are the watchwords here.

5. Believe in your staff

Leaving your staff to manage their working day is one thing, trusting them to make the right decisions is quite another. Each employee needs to know that they have your confidence. Encourage them. It will help them fulfil their potential and grow - both as employees and as people.

6. Set clear goals

Your staff should have a clear picture of what’s expected of them and what their priorities are. Set deadlines. Find metrics for tracking progress. Watch productivity soar.

7. Provide opportunities for self-development

Spending time, money and energy on sharpening your staff’s skill sets will make them more valuable to themselves - and more valuable to your business. Send employees to the latest industry conferences. Fund industry-related qualifications. Pay for online courses that can be taken during business hours. Looking ahead, your staff also need to know that hard work and loyalty will be rewarded with career progression.

8. Give your staff a challenge

Routine is an enthusiasm-killer. Having the same day, week after week, gets monotonous and staff can begin to stagnate. Switch things up now and again by assigning different tasks. Put employees slightly out of their comfort zone. Sometimes a bit of stress and pressure is a good thing.

9. Don’t punish failure

So they messed up with a client? Oh well. Everybody makes mistakes. Your job is to help your employee understand what went wrong and explain how to manage the same situation more effectively next time. Unless you have a disruptive member of staff who is deliberately sabotaging your business, there’s no need to bring down the hammer.

10. Share the overarching goal

What are you working towards as a business? What’s the vision? Staff respond better when they can see their place in the shared purpose; see how their responsibilities tie in to the wider business. It’s no fun feeling like a cog in a machine that you don’t fully understand.

Hint: making as much money as possible might be the shareholders’ ambition, but it won’t inspire your staff. They need to feel connected with the end user of your product or service; to feel like what you offer serves a purpose and solves problems.

11. Listen

Exactly. Great managers don’t rule by fear. Staff need to feel that their ideas can be listened to openly and honestly. Be accessible. Be approachable. Be open to feedback. Transparency builds trust.

12. Celebrate successes

Won a new client? Hit an important deadline? Roared past the quarterly sales target? Then it’s time to celebrate! Take your team out for dinner. Pay for a spa day. Hit the local bowling alley. Celebrating your milestones will inspire everyone on the journey to the next one.

13. Eliminate the bad stuff

Just as important as the things you do are the things you don’t. Needless meetings, intrusive company policy, and annoying red tape - they all chink away at reserves of motivation.

To sum up...

It’s true what they say. Your staff really are the most important part of your business. That’s why it makes so much sense to keep your employees happy, engaged and performing at their best. Follow our tips to develop expert motivational powers. The kind that could make a real difference to your business.

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