Many articles about employee motivation have been written, and unfortunately, there is a reason for that. We see many internet searches on this exact topic, and in order to make it easy and manageable to find specific things that you can consider as a leader, we have put together our five best pieces of advice here.
Retention of employees and employee well-being are two of our areas of interest, and our app for weekly surveys among employees also encompasses some of the pieces of advice listed below.
1. Give feedback and communicate with your employees
It is important to remember that everyone is different, and your communication should also reflect this. Therefore, communicate one-to-one with your employees, so that each individual’s wishes are heard and so that you find out what motives each of them. Make sure that you lead based on the individual and not the team as a whole.
You will experience that some of your employees need freedom to grow, while others are more comfortable with a pretty structured approach. Keep the lines of your communication with your employees open, so that you can avoid that your employees are working with tasks that they are not comfortable with.
2. Create meaning
A strong factor for employee motivation stems from the feeling that you are doing something meaningful and valuable. When you can no longer provide a reply for why you are doing something, it gets hard to justify having to do it. Help your employees define and make sense of the work they do. The first step is to, among other things, follow the first piece of advice. After this, you can make a survey and, in that way, make your employees think about the following:
- What is possibly not making any sense to them regarding their job?
- How they contribute to something bigger via their work
- How they can focus on the aspects of their job, when they experience that it makes a lot of sense
- What their colleagues mean for their work
After this, you can also consider whether your employees find it hard to make sense of the work they do, because they are bored. Employees who are bored at work generally find it harder to see any point to what they do. This is why communication is extra important in order to spot the employees who have lost the love of their work tasks.
TIP: Employee motivation also comes from having been taken good care of during the entirety of one’s employment, and it is especially important for the recruitment and onboarding stages.
Employee motivation often comes from being seen and heard, so make sure to acknowledge your employees’ work, opinions, and suggestions. But be careful: Acknowledgement can quickly turn into meaningless platitudes, if the manager hands out compliments left and right.
Acknowledgement is not about settling with compliments for the lowest common denominator, but it is about supporting the individual employee in the behavior and competences that are conducive to a positive work environment. Your employees can easily sense if your acknowledgements aren’t sincere. If you want acknowledgements to work, they need to be credible and usable. To praise someone is not the same as acknowledging or valuing them.
4. Healthy work environment
Companies do not define company culture. People do. And as a leader/manager, it is important that you contribute to a healthy work environment and that you lead the way for your employees. Therefore, you need to set clear boundaries that protect your employees so that they know, that reporting sick when they are sick is okay, and that it is okay to say no to work tasks they do not have time for. It is important that leaders address these things in order to create trust and get rid of doubt and worry.
If you aren’t focused on making sure that your employees are happy for their job and for the company as a whole, you might have problems retaining employees as well as attracting the most qualified new employees.
5. Events that aren’t work-related
Besides the fact that Friday bars and Thursday cake are really cozy things, it also strengthens the community to have something that isn’t work-related, so that the employees can shake off the workday and be social. Make sure that your employees get to know one another via non-work-related events.
The company could maybe make an agreement with the local fitness center so that employees can get a discount. In this way, the employees are able to work out together before or after work, and on top of that they can also strengthen their physical and mental health. You can also arrange dinners for each department a couple of times a year so that you can get a social setting outside of the workplace. This can also greatly strengthen employee motivation.