Simply hiring excellent people doesn’t mean that they’ll deliver excellence for your organization day in and day out. Not only do they need a supportive work environment but also a morale boost from time to time. Disengaged employees can quickly turn into liabilities for your business so it’s important to keep them driven to excel in their roles.
If you’re looking to learn how to motivate your employees, here are a few proven strategies that you can use to improve employee morale and make them perform at their best.
13 Proven Methods to Motivate Your Employees
There are no quick-fix solutions for low employee morale. You must create a company culture that fosters an environment where workers feel motivated and driven to perform at their very best. Motivated employees will strive harder and be more dedicated to the company’s mission statement.
The added benefit of increased employee engagement is that they’ll be less likely to look for employment elsewhere, thereby reducing employee turnover for the organization. It’s best not to immediately give up on employees who were performing well before but seem to be missing the mark now. Focus on finding what might be affecting their morale and take steps to remedy their concerns. Utilize the following methods to increase employee morale across the organization.
1. Recognize Effort and Hard Work
Employees who have been putting in a lot of hard work will often wish for recognition of their efforts. It’s human nature to seek such validation. If they repeatedly feel that their efforts aren’t valued or that all their hard work goes unrecognized, they’ll start to become demotivated and their performance will drop. They’ll justify this lack of performance to themselves by saying that it wouldn’t make a difference to the company if they worked hard or not.
If this is the company culture, the demotivation can quickly spread across the entire workforce and seriously impact productivity. Don’t withhold praise when you notice employees who are doing a good job. Just a few words of appreciation are often all it takes to boost their confidence and make them feel good about the work they’ve been doing. Provide them with glowing feedback on their efforts so far in their performance review.
Ideally, your organization should have formal systems for recognizing the work employees at all levels have been doing. It could either be a dedicated time during team meetings to highlight people and teams who have been particularly great, or a few words of appreciation from the CEO during an all-hands meeting.
2. Offer Rewards and Incentives
Give people a reason to stay with your business. It’s a long-standing industry practice to offer rewards and incentives for increasing employee motivation. The idea is to make them feel adequately compensated for all of the efforts that they’ve been putting in. These incentives could be provided in several forms.
For example, provide them with performance bonuses when they’ve gone above and beyond to deliver great business outcomes. For project-based incentives, gift cards can be given to employees across all levels as a token of appreciation. Even extra vacation days can go a long way to show them that you care about their well-being, particularly after they’ve worked longer hours.
It may seem like a trivial method but it’s extremely effective. Your employees know that the company will award them for a job well done. They will have that motivation in the back of their minds and will push to achieve exceptional results.
3. Set Clear Goals and Expectations
Effective communication is key to increasing productivity. Your employees must be absolutely clear on what their roles are and what’s expected of them. Only then will they be able to unleash their potential and deliver for the company. Set clear and specific goals for employees so that they have a benchmark to meet and exceed.
It wouldn’t be good for employee motivation if they’re unclear about their responsibilities. This can also lead to conflict among employees as they’d be setting over each others’ proverbial toes in trying to get the job done, not knowing precisely who’s supposed to be doing what.
If you recognize signs of this happening in your work environment, perhaps it would be best to call an all-hands meeting and clear their roles and responsibilities. Reiterate what the company’s goals are so that they have a sense of the bigger picture and can visualize where they fit in it.
4. Provide Regular Feedback and Communication
Employees shouldn’t feel apprehensive about approaching you when they require feedback or communication from the company about their responsibilities. The company culture must not be one where asking questions is discouraged.
On the contrary, you must be proactive in providing feedback to your employees when they do a good job and even when their work leaves room for improvement. Constructive feedback will help them feel that their work is being valued and that the company wants to see them succeed in their role, so they’ll feel motivated to elevate the quality of their work.
5. Give Empowerment and Autonomy
Micromanaging employees might sound like an effective strategy to manage your employees but it can often be very counterproductive. If you constantly check on them to see if they’re doing their tasks properly, they’ll feel that you don’t have confidence in their abilities and won’t want to give it their best shot.
Provide your employees with the freedom to make decisions within their roles. This will help them feel trusted when they see that the company has entrusted them with a responsibility and it’s willing to let them take the lead. The more empowered your employees feel, the more stimulated their motivation will be to do their very best for your organization.
6. Promote Work-Life Balance
Providing a healthy work-life balance is a great way to get the best out of your employees. Remember, they have lives outside of work, with their own set of challenges, stresses, and responsibilities. They can quickly reach the burnout stage if both their work and personal lives remain intense at all times.
A burnt-out employee is certainly not going to be among the high achievers. If anything, they’ll be barely scraping by. Create an environment that fosters a healthy work-life balance. Encourage your employees to take breaks. Provide health and wellness facilities in the workplace such as gyms, yoga studios, meditation rooms, etc.
Give them the confidence to take time to focus on their mental wellbeing. You can also support them by providing flexible work options, such as allowing them to work from home or remotely on specific days. All these factors will contribute to improving employee morale across the organization.
7. Help Understand the Impact and Purpose of Work
Employees need to see the big picture. They need to realize that the work they’re doing is aligned with the goals of the company or, depending on the industry they operate in, will contribute to the greater good of society. Once they understand the purpose and impact of their work, they’ll be more likely to do their best.
It’s up to you to make sure that your employees see this big picture so that they feel a sense of fulfillment. Help them understand the larger business strategy and the impact of your products or services on society. Managers can follow up with employees so that they remain cognizant of their purpose within the wider organizational context.
8. Offer Opportunities for Growth and Development
Monotony is the enemy of motivation. If there’s a lack of new challenges or opportunities to expand their skills, employees will ultimately grow tired of doing the same thing every single day. The monotonous routine will not stimulate them intellectually enough to extract their full potential.
Provide your employees with opportunities to learn new skills that can help them improve their performance. Organize training and workshops that impart valuable skills that not only help them to do a better job for your organization but also enable them to progress in their career.
The simple act will show employees that you’re dedicated to helping them learn as much as they can and that you’re investing in their success. Training doesn’t have to be limited to their roles only. These could be general training as well, such as first aid. Show them that you care about expanding their skillset and they’ll return the favor with better productivity.
9. Organize Team Building Activities
“Teamwork makes the dream work” isn’t just a cliche. The state of your employee morale also depends on how well all of them get along with each other. If there’s a lot of infighting or the team doesn’t work as a unit, you’ll start to notice the negative impacts of that disconnect in their work.
You need to provide an environment that builds camaraderie and fosters a positive company culture. Organize team-building activities that are fun but also a learning experience for employees so that they can understand the value of working together to deliver great results for the organization.
There are any number of team-building activities that you can plan for your employees. Take them on a trip and plan fun yet collaborative games such as relay races or tug of war to highlight the importance of working together as a team.
10. Show Empathy and Support
Your staff members have lives outside of work with their own challenges and demands. It often happens that something on the personal front affects their performance at work. Don’t admonish them unnecessarily for not being able to achieve their true potential at work when they’re facing a challenging time in their personal life.
It’s much better to show them empathy instead. Make them realize that you understand their struggles and provide them with any support that you can to help make the situation a bit easier for them. For example, if someone is unable to come into the office but they can work from home, let them, so that they can better manage the personal challenge.
This may seem like a trivial gesture but it’s going to mean the world to your employees. They will be glad to see that their employer shows them empathy and understanding when they need it the most. This will motivate them to work harder for the organization and make a bigger contribution to its overall success in the long run.
11. Celebrate Achievements
It’s very important to recognize the achievements of your employees so that they feel motivated to keep up the good work. Perhaps an employee has outdone themselves on a project or they have gone out of their way to help a coworker. If they take the initiative to put in the extra effort, you should celebrate it accordingly.
It’s a matter of principle since people who receive recognition for their hard work feel motivated to keep up their performance. Your employees will feel fulfilled and will enjoy what they do. They’ll know that every effort that they make is going to be duly recognized and praised.
This will go a long way in improving employee loyalty as well, particularly with those who have come to your organization from a place where their efforts weren’t recognized properly. This helps reduce employee turnover as happy workers tend to stick around with their organization for longer.
12. Provide Opportunities for Creativity and Innovation
The next important step in how to motivate your employees is to provide them with the freedom to be creative and innovative. Be open to their ideas and suggestions. Perhaps they feel that things could be done a bit differently to improve productivity and efficiency. Don’t brush them off and be rigid in your procedures.
Make an effort to actively encourage your employees to think outside the box and come up with innovative ideas. This will provide them with a sense of ownership that the company is receptive to their ideas and they can influence change that will have an impact on how things are done.
This provides your employees with the motivation to excel as they realize that they can play a much bigger role in the success of the company. Fostering this sense of ownership is key to not just improving employee morale but also making them more loyal to the organization.
13. Create a Pleasant Work Environment
Your employees shouldn’t dread coming to work. This will require providing them with a pleasant work environment. That’s precisely why some of the biggest companies on the planet invest so heavily in their facilities and provide a wide variety of conveniences and privileges on-site so that their workers feel motivated about coming to the office.
Plan your workspaces in a way that fosters communication and collaboration. Adopt open-door policies so that workers can easily interact with their managers whenever they have a question or concern.
Focus on designing and furnishing your workplace that aids productivity, so incorporate open spaces, natural light, and other conveniences such as health and wellness spaces, green spaces, dining halls, etc.
The Secret to Motivating Your Employees is Being Proactive
Don’t wait for employees to become disengaged before you try and boost their morale. The secret is to be proactive. Don’t let things get to the stage where your employees feel unfulfilled in their jobs. Be on the lookout for signs of low morale and utilize the methods highlighted above to turn things around.
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Can a simple “thank you” make a difference in motivating employees?
A simple thank you can go a long way in motivating employees. They’ll feel noticed and think that their efforts have not been in vain. Focus on motivating in other ways also, but sometimes, a simple thank you can also suffice.
How can I handle demotivated or disengaged employees?
Look out for the signs of disengagement in employees. Consider asking them for their perspective on things and make efforts to remove whatever concerns they may have. Utilize the general methods of improving employee morale to prevent similar occurrences in the future.
How can I maintain employee motivation during challenging times?
It can be particularly difficult to maintain employee motivation during challenging times. Don’t let the fear of failure cloud their judgment and provide them with the environment to do their best without worrying about the outcome. Striking a tone of positivity will help turn their outlook.=
Is it essential to tailor motivation strategies for individual employees?
Some employees might respond differently to the many strategies for improving employee morale. Whether one is more receptive to words of encouragement or rewards, see what your employees respond to the most and tailor your strategies accordingly.
How often should I recognize my employees’ accomplishments?
A performance review is a great time to recognize your employees’ achievements. You can also provide them with words of encouragement during team meetings so that they feel their efforts are being adequately appreciated.