Creating an environment that fuels productivity is critical to your company’s success.
Disengaged employees cost US businesses more than $450 billion in lost productivity each year.
Employee motivation and pride are key components to a productive workplace, and you can take actions every day to cultivate this type of environment. Consider what it takes to motivate and inspire employees, break your approach down into actionable steps, and you will achieve increased morale, productivity and profits.
Related Article: Smiles Are Free: How a Positive Business Culture Inspires Employees
Encourage Employees to Explore Beyond Their Department
In large and mid-sized corporations, employees who work in one department may lack an understanding of what occurs outside of their own cubicle walls. Even if they are exceptional at their job, without an understanding of how their work affects others, they can’t provide optimum results. Allow employees to visit or job shadow other departments, speak with customers if they don’t already do so as part of their regular position, and even test the product or service your company provides.
Educating your employees, and giving them the opportunity to understand the complete picture of your business, will help them be mindful of how the quality of their work impacts other departments, and the company’s goals. Bonus: When your employees understand the other positions in the company, you will have a greater chance to fill job openings with internal candidates.
Don’t Hold Back When It Comes to Feedback
Ensure that employees have the opportunity to receive feedback from their management team and coworkers on a frequent basis. Encouraging constant feedback allows everyone to make improvements in real time. Many companies offer feedback sessions annually or bi-annually, which may allow poor habits to linger too long and motivating effects of positive feedback to wear off. Taking time once a month for a quick review of performance, to set expectations and offer encouraging words, will keep employee motivation at a high level.
Find Creative Ways to Reward the High Achievers
In an ideal world, receiving a paycheck from one’s employer would be enough to motivate most employees. However, in most cases, they’ll need a little something extra to stay as content and actualized as possible. This could be as simple as sending a positive email or a handwritten congratulatory note when an employee exceeds expectations. For a more formal approach, try offering financial bonuses or recognition ceremonies that show your employees you appreciate their efforts.
If possible, create a fun challenge between departments based upon meeting and exceeding goals. When you develop a reward system that’s tied to the company’s goals for the department, you’ll create an environment where your employees feel rewarded for their part in the company’s success.
Make Time for Continuing Education
Education shouldn’t just take place during the onboarding process or when employees are underperforming. Continuing education is key to expanding employees’ knowledge of their current job function, and keeping them current on trends within your industry. In some industries, like banking, continuing education helps keep employees up-to-date with new regulations.
Internal education programs utilize experienced team members to instill valuable information about best practices for efficiency and customer satisfaction. They also provide an opportunity for employees to learn advanced techniques, and to roll out updates to internal computer software. External education allows your employees to take advantage of experts outside of your company to learn about industry trends. When your employees feel that you have invested in their development, they will feel more invested in making the company successful.
Create Camaraderie Among Team Members
Every employee is a single piece of the bigger puzzle that is your company. When employees get to know each other better, your employees will want to do their best for their internal customers. Team building activities are a great way to foster these relationships. Activities can be anything from silly questions to learn more about one another, to a custom team development program administered off-site. One great way to create camaraderie is to have a company service day where your employees volunteer their time in the community. They will feel a sense of pride in what they worked together to accomplish, all while getting to know one another.
Clear the Clutter
The average office employee spends 1.5 hours a day (6 weeks per year) looking for things. A clutter-free workspace is proven to be more productive. Encourage a culture of cleanliness, and establish an employee-driven workplace system of cleaning and organizing both workstations and common spaces. Not only does the reduced mess allow everyone to work as efficiently as possible, you will keep cleaning costs down. Cleaning is also a team-building activity when employees partake in it together.
Ask Them What Inspires Them
Instead of guessing what will motivate or instill pride in your employees, just ask them! Oftentimes what the management team feels will motivate and inspire their employees is very different than what employees feel will be motivating to them. Allow employees to speak freely about what motivates them, or submit suggestions anonymously, so all voices are heard and taken into consideration.
This is a more efficient way to understand the needs of your employees, and also creates an environment where your employees feel empowered to provide feedback to create a better workplace.
Motivation tends to be a short-term result, while inspiration fuels itself. Combining these motivation techniques to create an inspired workforce will keep employees engaged in their work, focused on how their efforts impact the company as a whole, and allow them to feel vested in the company’s long-term success.