For managers and execs, perhaps the top working priority is staff productivity. As many business leaders report, however, the project of fostering employee motivation can quickly morph into a Frankenstein’s monster. Particularly if there are monetary rewards involved, employees can begin to view working as an unhealthy competition with their office-mates, ultimately spelling slapdash output and a faster turnover for the company.
Fortunately, the following methods of motivating employees in an organisation will have exactly the opposite effect on the workplace atmosphere, encouraging productivity without feeding unhealthy inter-staff competition.
It’s all too easy for employees (and particularly those who work in larger organisations) to begin to feel like cogs in a machine – and since cogs are apt to doing the bare minimum in terms of work, you’ll want to avoid this kind of malaise.
Remind your staff constantly that you’re an inspiring leader. Live and breathe the company’s vision until it’s so infectious that your employees just have to join the bandwagon. Studies have shown that if people have a purpose – if they feel part and parcel of a larger and worthwhile endeavor – then they’re far more likely to exert themselves at work. If you show them that your business’ enterprise is worthwhile by being a decent role-model (and perhaps by rehearsing some inspiring rhetoric), you’ll inject a vast amount of employee motivation into the pot.
Endorsements of individual value can motivate even the most difficult of employees. Being a respectful employer means showing your workers that their health, well-being, and career satisfaction matters, and not just in a quantitative sense.
Do this by being a flexible boss who (as far as is practical) allows his or her staff to work in the way that best suits them. This means allowing employees to stay active at work, and expressing understanding around personal issues. Remember that the number of hours in-office isn’t always the best measure of productivity – happy and stress-free employees are much more valuable human resources.
The ability to give specific and sincere praise is regularly identified as a top quality in leaders (indeed, verbal praise can enact more than any paycheck bonus). If you don’t pay attention to the things your employees do right, then it’s only natural that their productivity rates will plateau.
So rather than solely addressing things to work on in face-to-face chats with your workers, identify the strides they’ve made. Make sure, however, to be specific: use all of the statistics, graphs, and tangible comments or numbers necessary to show the employee what worked well (so that, of course, they can do it again).
Show your workers that you’re interested in them as people, and you’re sure to influence them to work productively. Dining in the cafeteria and making an effort to regularly catch up one-on-one with each staff member will do wonders to lessen the distance between employee and employer.
Brainstorm ways to foster a working environment of harmony, collectivity, and productivity. Volunteering as a group, for example, is a great way to level with your employees outside of work, and better yet, it does the community and your company’s PR a world of good.
Employee-employer relationships are tit for tat: what you give, you’ll be sure to get back. Therefore if you want to maximize employee productivity, be generous – if business resources can stretch to a team dinner, an outing to the theater, or a conference away, then make it work.
As you’ll note from the group-focused activities suggested above, one trick is to set collective rewards over individual ones. This way, no one employee gets favored over the other and members of staff will support each other to reach the target(s) that you’ve set.