5 Low-Cost Ways to Boost Your Employees' Motivation

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BFF Manager

If you’re like most business owners, you don’t have any problem staying motivated. After all, you have a lot riding on the success of your business. If your business reaches its goals, you stand to benefit both financially and personally. If it fails, you risk losing everything. Motivation shouldn’t be a problem for you.

That’s probably not true of your employees. A recent study from Gallup found that 70 percent of all American workers are disengaged from their workplace. The reasons for the lack of engagement varied, from feeling undervalued to not respecting their direct supervisor to feeling that they weren’t compensated enough. The point of the study is clear, though. Most workers aren’t enthusiastic or motivated at their job.

boost employees motivation

That means you have to find ways to keep them motivated. You depend on your employees to perform at a high level and you need them to be enthusiastic about your company’s vision. You can’t expect them to have the same natural motivation that you have, so you’ll have to make an effort to keep their enthusiasm high.

Far too many business owners make the mistake of motivating with money. A 2014 study from TinyHR showed that few employees - only seven percent - say they are motivated by money. They may become discouraged and angry if they feel they’re being underpaid, but they’re not likely to have long-term enthusiasm because of extra financial compensation.

Instead, you have to appeal to their emotions. You need them to feel not like they just have a job, but rather that they’re part of something exciting and special. You need them to feel like their efforts are valued. You want them to be proud of the work they’re doing. When your employees have those feelings about your business, they’ll bring high levels of energy and motivation to work.

Here are five tips on how you can renew your employees’ motivation and enthusiasm:

Align job tasks and responsibilities with each employee’s skill set and interests.

Back when you started your business, you were probably driven in part by a desire to do something you were interested in. That’s human nature. We spend more time in our adult lives working than doing anything else. Everyone has a natural desire to spend that time doing something they find interesting.

Your employees are no different. They all have their own unique skills and interests. Now, their jobs may not exactly align with their interests, but you can tailor their tasks and responsibilities to make them more enjoyable.

For instance, say you have a manufacturing business and one of the floor workers has a sincere interest and desire in learning the business side of the shop. You may not be able to completely switch his role, but you could give him a special responsibility that appeals to his interests. Assign a costing report that he’s responsible for. Have him help with preparing estimates.

Find jobs and tasks that your employees will find interesting. That will give them something they look forward to at work. Also, assigning additional responsibility and unique tasks may help them feel proud of their work.

State your company’s vision and goals and make sure each employee understands their part in reaching those goals.

Very often, employees get discouraged and frustrated because they don’t understand why they have to do the things they do. They don’t see how their work impacts the business as a whole. When you leave your employees in the dark, they can quickly lose faith in your leadership and start questioning every aspect of their jobs.

There’s a simple solution to this: Don’t leave them in the dark.

Communicate often with your employees about the state of the company and where it’s headed. Layout your vision for the company’s future and make it clear how the company’s success will impact them personally.

Most importantly, share with them why their roles are so important to the company reaching its goals. Set mini-goals for specific individuals or departments to help them gauge their contributions to the business’s success. When employees feel like their work matters, they’ll be more likely to put in maximum effort.

Ask questions.

Everyone likes to feel like their input matters. You may have the final say in how your business is run, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get advice. If you’re faced with a big decision that will impact your employees, ask for their opinion on it. Form a committee to get employee feedback. Just know that you care about their input will give your employees more faith in the business and your leadership.

Even routine check-ins with employees can be helpful. Make it a habit to have a quick conversation with your employees on a regular basis. Ask them how their work is going and what they think could be done better. Ask them what changes they would make if they were in charge. You’ll make them feel valued and you may just learn something new about your business.

Praise employees in front of their peers and give them the opportunity to praise each other.

In the TinyHR study, the top three motivators mentioned by respondents were:

  • Camaraderie and peer motivation - 20 percent
  • Intrinsic desire to do a good job - 17 percent
  • Feeling encouraged and recognized - 13 percent

You can address all of those issues by putting a recognition system in place. When you recognize employees, you validate their hard work in front of their peers. You also send a message to your other employees that hard work will be rewarded.

Not all the recognition should come from you, though. Build a system in which employees can recognize each other. The TinyHR study showed a strong correlation between peer recognition and overall workplace happiness. Employees who give and receive peer recognition are likely to be more enthusiastic about their job.

From Employee of the Month awards to quarterly and annual recognition programs, there are plenty of things you can do to make recognition a regular part of your culture. Make it fun and you’ll likely see the results in your employees’ effort.

Invest in their future.

The number one workplace complaint in the TinyHR study? No chance for growth. A whopping 66 percent of surveyed employees said that their biggest problem with their job was that it didn’t offer any opportunity for professional or personal growth.

Again, this is just human nature. We all have a desire to get better at whatever we do and to expand our skillset and horizons. You can create happier and more motivated employees by helping them grow.

There are a number of ways you can encourage development. An obvious method is to reimburse for professional training and education. You can also allow employees to job shadow in other departments so they can see first-hand what other opportunities may exist.
Also, have each of your employees create a personal development plan to help them reach their long-term professional goals. Then check-in with them regularly to make sure they’re on track and to see where you can help them.

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