An environment that fuels productivity is critical to your company’s success. Disengaged employees cost U.S. businesses more than $60 million in lost productivity each year, according to Gallup. Keep both remote and in-office employees engaged by taking the following actions:
Consider what it takes to motivate and inspire employees, then break your approach down into actionable steps. By doing so, you will increase employee morale, productivity and profits.
In large and midsize 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, they can’t provide optimum results without an understanding of how their work affects others. Allow employees to visit or 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, as well as the company’s goals. As a bonus, when your employees understand the other positions in the company, you will have a greater chance to fill job openings with internal candidates. [Follow these tips for setting better business goals.]
Ensure that employees have the opportunity to receive feedback from their management team and co-workers on a frequent basis. Regular feedback allows everyone to make improvements in real time. Many companies offer feedback sessions only annually or biannually, which may allow poor habits to linger too long and the motivating effects of positive feedback to wear off. Taking time once a month to review performance, set expectations, and offer encouraging words will keep employee motivation high.
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 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 on 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.
Employee 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 functions 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 use 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 devoted about making the company successful.
Every employee is a single piece of the bigger puzzle that is your company. When employees get to know each other better, they will want to do their best for one another. Team-building activities are a great way to foster these relationships. Activities can include silly questions to get to know each other or a custom team development program administered offsite. 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.
A clutter-free workspace is proven to be more productive and reduce stress, according to research in the journal Environment and Behavior. Encourage a culture of cleanliness and establish an employee-driven workplace system of cleaning and organizing workstations and common spaces. Not only does the reduced mess allow everyone to work as efficiently as possible, but you will also keep cleaning costs down. Another perk is that cleaning can serve as a team-building activity when employees partake in it together.
Instead of guessing what will motivate or instill pride in your employees, ask them. Often the things management team feels will motivate and inspire their employees is different than what employees feel will be motivating to them. Allow employees to speak freely about what inspires 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 it fosters 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 invested in the company’s long-term success.
“When you support employees in their work by providing them with the technology required to carry out their jobs, learning opportunities and great perks that reward productivity as well as career advancement, then your company will enjoy the rewards of a dedicated and productive workforce,” said Struan Baird, co-founder of MV Luxury Travel.
Andreas Grant, founder of Networks Hardware, said he tries to make sure all of his employees have the necessary equipment, such as a high-speed internet connection or an external monitor that can increase their productivity.
“When [employees] see your effort to fulfill all their necessities, it won’t be too difficult for them to take pride in their employer,” Grant said.
Remote work trends during the pandemic changed the business landscape drastically, and companies saw how valuable at-home employees could be. Just make sure your remote employees know how important they are to your company.
“In recent times, remote work has become extremely common,” said Isla Sibanda, entrepreneur and network security specialist at Axxess. “Employees expect their employers to allow them to work from home and manage all their assigned tasks from there. Employers can get their remote employees to feel pride in their employer by building anticipation for success. They should put focus on the link between every employee’s everyday tasks and the success of all the stakeholders, which includes the person, team and organization.”
Sean O’Neal, general manager of North American operations at Onclusive, suggests scheduling at least a biweekly check-in to see how remote employees are doing with their work progress. “This way, you can also see what other support they need from you, and at the same time, they can get the idea that they are valued. It will also boost their morale, hence, it increases productivity and efficiency of their work.”
Streamlining communication is also crucial, according to Jess Munday, co-founder of Custom Neon.
“We have Basecamp, a project management tool that has allowed team members to work simultaneously or asynchronously across various branches of the business without losing track of progress,” she said. “We also have Papyrus and an internal intranet platform where we encourage non-work-related banter. We do include topics such as team members of the quarter, our company newsletter and big wins for the business.” [Follow our project management software buying guide to choose your own tools.]
“There is this idea out there that it’s somehow difficult to make remote employees take pride in their employer compared to in-office employees,” Grant said. “However, the core ideas are the same regardless of the workplace. You have to give your employees a healthy, tension-free workplace where they feel free to be creative.”
Grant added that focusing on flexibility is helpful. “As long as [employees] get the job done, I don’t care about their working hours or availability. Don’t make them sit through long meetings unless you absolutely have to.”
“When employees feel pride in what they do, they are more satisfied with their work, they are motivated by a sense of achievement and accomplishment, and will work hard and always strive to do more – not because they have to, but because they want to,” Munday said.
“Investing in our staff and their development means that they naturally take pride in working for us and are great ambassadors for our company,” said James Parkinson, head of marketing content at Personnel Checks. “This helps us with recruitment, as we are known as a great employer to work for, and it helps keep our retention rates high, as people want to stay with us.”
“When employees are proud of their employer, they’re more likely to be loyal, which means they’ll stay with the company longer and help grow it,” said Luke Lee, founder and CEO of Ever Wallpaper. “They’ll also be happier at work, which makes them more productive and creative, leading to better products and services. Finally, proud employees are more likely to recommend the company to others, potentially bringing in new customers who can expand the business even further.”
“You see a direct impact on [employee] productivity when they feel like an actual part of the organization,” Grant said. “When they see how they fit in the big puzzle that is your organization, they know exactly how their output is making a difference. Everyone tends to have one foot out the door for better opportunities. This can have a negative impact on productivity. This is where you can reap the benefits of employees feeling pride in their employer. You don’t have to worry about employee retention or turnover rates.”
Bonnie Dewkett contributed to the writing and reporting in this article.