Running a successful business takes a lot of work. Businesses have many moving pieces and managers have the daunting task of making sure everything is running properly. With so many responsibilities, it’s understandable that managers may have a hard time giving the proper amount of attention to every duty they have.
One of the most important responsibilities managers have that should never be neglected is keeping employees motivated. Committed employees can be a powerful resource for any company. The question is: how do you keep your employees motivated? The answer may be different for several managers and there isn’t really a “one-size-fits-all” answer.
There are several ways to keep employees motivated. To learn some of the best motivational methods, we reached out to managers and CEOs to learn what worked for them and their employees. In this first part of the series, we take a look at how showing genuine care and appreciation for your employees can increase motivation and lead to success.
- Show Them You Care
“We live in an uncertain time and communication has become the single most important job of a strong leader. Employees need to be motivated, need to feel like the job they are doing matters and that they are part of something bigger than just the tasks or role at hand. The person best in your company at sharing the vision, figuring out how each player fits into that vision, the role they need to play today and in the future to accomplish the vision, needs to own that function.
Your employees need to know they are not a number, they matter and that you care about them both personally and professionally. I find the strongest teams and most productive people are the ones that know that their direct boss cares about them as a person. You take the time to chat with them, you pick them up when they are down or let them know you care, you celebrate their successes both personally and professionally and you support them through their times of grief.
You share with them the company vision, you ensure they know how they fit that vision today, in one year and in five and you help them get there through solid coaching, and feedback. You keep score! More often than not, as leaders, we are quick to point out what didn’t go right! We are there to correct poor performance or to share disappointment but it is equally important to spot all the accomplishments and successes they have no matter how big or small. It is your job to ensure if you are not on the senior leadership team, that you are sharing the employee’s accomplishments with the President or CEO, and getting them the recognition they deserve for their work. If you need a system to ensure this happens, create one today because your employees need it and so do you.
Personal confidence comes from experiencing success over and over and being recognized for it. Confident people are decisive, they are able to make good decisions, they get more energy and determination for the job at hand, and they work more! The end result, happy, more successful employees leading a more successful company.
I had an employee who worked for me in another state and I consistently shared with that individual praise and recognition for the work being done. I sought out opportunities to praise and balance that with goals I had for them in the company, mapping out what it would take to get them there. In my career, I have never seen a more successful, competent leader. This individual began taking on more and more responsibility and saw an exciting career path ahead of them. As soon as I transferred that role and responsibility to another member of our senior management team, the employee became less engaged, frustrated and has since left. Turnover costs money. As the President or CEO, there is no more important job than engaging your best and brightest employees. They are the key to your success. Delegating your #1 priority is never a smart decision. Learn from my mistake and ensure as the top leader in your company, you never lose sight of your #1 priority.”
Employees are more than just assets to be used. When managers are able to see their employees as people who can provide value, they can get more out of them. Take the time to get to know them and acknowledge their successes. By recognizing what they get right, they’re more likely to keep getting things right!
“As CEO of a digital marketing agency with a team of 17, I’ve made a transition in how and when I talk to my team. I schedule a few one-on-one coffee meetings a week with my employees. I ask them how they feel, if they are fulfilled in their role, how they can become a better version of themselves, and how their department and/or the whole company can improve. I find ways to support these conversations, whether it’s just listening or providing advice. I’m now more connected with my team on an individual level, and in turn, I’m seeing a noticeable difference in the level of enthusiasm and motivation across the team.”
A personal touch can go a long way. One-on-one time can help you get to know your employees and your employees get to see that you actually care about them. With these types of meetings, you can also show your employees you value them by setting time aside that is just for them.
- Rewarding Success
“I like to keep employees motivated through transparency, especially in a start-up situation. In order to succeed, everyone needs to be on the same page and working closely as a team toward a common goal. Therefore, laying those goals out are important. Celebrate your wins, whether through drinks after work, gift cards, or any token of appreciation for hitting the metrics set out. Also, everyone likes to be commended if they are successful in their position, so make an effort to recognize members of your staff when they are doing something well. Whether that is in a staff meeting on Monday mornings, or on a conference call, we all like to receive praise in front of our peers. Keeping everyone motivated isn’t always easy, but it’s essential to get the most out of your team.”
There are many ways to show appreciation and acknowledge success. Find out what your employees like and what their interests are. If one of your employees loves to read, a gift card to a popular book store can be a simple way to show him or her that you care and recognize their efforts. Public praise can also be powerful. Share their successes within the company.
Showing appreciation and concern helps build trust and respect. When employees feel an attachment to where they work, they’re more likely to work hard. This requires managers to go out of their way to get to know their employees.
Next time we’ll take a look at some unconventional methods of employee motivation. See you then!