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How to Improve Workplace Motivation

How to Improve Workplace Motivation

Employee motivation has a trickle-down effect on your business. Employees are motivated when they’re satisfied. The more satisfied employees are, the more engaged they tend to be. And, engaged employees make better employees. Good employees make happy customers.

How, though, can you effectively motivate staff? We cover everything you need to know right here. Let’s get started.

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Hire intrinsically motivated employees

Psychologists have been trying to wrap their heads around the science of motivation for nearly a century. And, no, it’s not so simple just to dangle a metaphorical carrot in front of their faces and hope for the best.

What we know is that motivation can come in two forms: intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation.

Intrinsic motivation is a desire to accomplish goals and develop professionally. This kind of motivation comes from within. If something is intrinsically motivating, we do it for inherent satisfaction rather than future results or consequences. In short, intrinsic motivation comes from a love of the game, and a passion for what you do.

Extrinsic motivation are incentives to do something that comes from outside oneself. It may come from the desire to avoid punishment or receive a reward. [Insert carrot metaphor here].

Hire intrinsically motivated employees. People who love what they do, have a passion and interest in people, and the products you sell are more likely to stay with your business, provide excellent customer service, and act as brand ambassadors for your business.

Extrinsically motivated people, however, might be more difficult. The salary, benefits package, flexible working schedule, and any other incentives you offer your employees will work for a time. But, people who are entirely motivated by extrinsic rewards may eventually become cynical, disengaged, and, ultimately, underperform if they don’t intrinsically enjoy what they do.

Make sure to ask questions in your hiring process that really target your interviewees motivations with regards to your business, their career, their passions, and their interests. Try to conduct these interviews in person, too. You should be able to gauge if someone is as hyped about your business, and what you do, as you are.

Empower your employees

We appreciate if you’ve already hired some people that may not be as ‘intrinsically motivated’ as you would like, you might still be scratching your head on how to get them moving and grooving. Let’s start off simple.

Give them responsibilities for which they can be held accountable. We don’t mean trying to burden them with extra work that you’re going to tell them off for if they get it wrong. We mean talking to your employees, listening to them, and understanding what they enjoy doing, and what they would like to do more of. Making your employees responsible for your business’s success appeals to people’s intrinsic desire to accomplish goals and overcome challenges.

Also, understand that your employees will not be with you forever. Don’t market this extra, or alternative, workload as a chance to make you more money, or because you need an extra hand. Listen to what they want to do in the future. Try and offer them positions, and roles, that will enable them to build foundations, in terms of responsibilities, that can serve as the bedrock for their future careers.

Empowering employees could mean delegating decisions to them, regularly asking for their input, setting targets for them to reach, and providing guidance and mentoring. A meta-analysis led by organisational psychologist Alan Lee in the Harvard Business Review found that this leadership style encourages creativity, builds trust, and leads to higher employee engagement. Employees felt as though “their job had meaning and it aligned with their values, that they were competent in their abilities, and that they could make a difference.”

Create a culture of recognition

Who doesn’t like being told they’ve done a good job? Human beings are hardwired to appreciating positive affirmation. Try to make sure that your employees are being recognised for exhibiting desired behaviours, such as giving outstanding customer service or going above and beyond their role. While it might be nice to believe that your staff will go above and beyond simply because they want to, the majority of employees will be more likely to exceed expectations if they know that they’re being recognised and accredited for good work.

It’s also important to recognise employees for reaching goals or milestones, for example, exceeding their sales targets, or staying at your business for a number of years. Recognition helps retain your best employees, encourages engagement, and leads to high performance.

Set clear and measurable goals

People like having things to aim towards. Obviously, your employees might not be too enthusiastic about quotas, and unrealistic expectations and targets. But, if you create achievable goals, your employees will have something to work towards which can help give their work, and any additional effort, a reason.

Sales per employee shows you how well staff are performing on average, but you can get much more fine-grained by using modern commerce software. Invest in a point of sale that helps you track individual sales performance, upsell percentage and customer capture rate.

Encourage feedback

In all likelihood, your employees have something to say about the way your business is run, how they’re treated, and what could be done to make their lives easier. If you fail to listen to them, you could end up with no employees left. While it’s tempting to defend your ego, it’s more fruitful long-term to listen to and act upon employee feedback. By doing so, you can work towards avoiding further departures in the future

Make employee feedback a regular feature of your management style. During staff meetings, ask employees if anything is bothering them and encourage suggestions to improve their day-to-day. You may uncover problems you never knew existed.

Feedback is a golden opportunity for improvement. It can also strengthen bonds with employees by demonstrating that you value their input. Valued staff are happier staff, and happy staff mean lower employee turnover rate.

Prepare employees for success

Employee motivation grows when they feel their employers are invested in their success and progression. It’s also beneficial to your business to have employees acquire the skills and knowledge to do their job better.

Hold regular training sessions throughout the year to keep your employees up-to-date. Training can include:

  • New tech and equipment: adopting a new point of sale or inventory management software? Insufficient technical knowledge can lead to frustration and stifle intrinsic motivation.
  • Rules and best practices: keep staff up to date about your business’s best practices and approaches to things like customer service, marketing, and sales strategy. This can foster motivation in new employees who might feel overwhelmed by their role.
  • Career progression training: do your staff want to have a clear career path within your business? Create employee roadmaps and the requisite training, skills, and experience that staff need to get to the next level. Transparency is really important here as your staff will know what their training is working towards.

Be aware of your employee’s needs and challenges

Every employee is different. It’s important to get to terms with any specific needs and challenges employees might have, so that you can most easily set them up for success. Your employees may be juggling their job with family responsibilities, medical issues, or studies. Knowing this can help you accommodate things like schedules and working hours to their needs.

If an employee realises that you’re attuned to their personal needs, they’ll be more motivated to do the best job they can, at the capacity they can.

Regular check-ins

Check-in with your team to share insights on the business, give feedback on their performance, and see if they have any concerns or questions.

  • Ask your team what works well and what needs improving to make their day-to-day life easier.
  • Make sure staff are listened to, their input is valued and everyone shares the vision for the growth of the business.
  • Weekly meetings allow management to gauge morale and address potential issues before they get worse.
  • Are employees feeling understaffed? Is there any tension within the team?

Find out so you can find a solution and maintain a harmonious, positive work environment.

Motivate your staff the right way

A working understanding of the science behind motivation can do a lot for staff morale, which will have a massive knock-on effect on the health of your business. So what are you waiting for? Get motivating.

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