Your star employee can always be relied on. Self-starting, creative, and hard-working, she almost manages herself. However, lately, you have noticed a dip in performance. Complacency may have started to creep in along with sloppiness and a general lack of fire. You are at a loss as to what’s behind this change. And you are struggling to work out what to do about it. Sounds familiar? Most managers will have encountered similar issues with their staff over the years. The big question is how to motivate employees in this situation.
Given the challenges we have all had to face in 2020, it’s perhaps no wonder that some previously engaged workers are grappling with motivation. However, as your team’s ultimate motivator, the responsibility for reigniting that passion for the job rests firmly with managers.
One of the lasting effects of the pandemic is an increase in hybrid work models. More employees than ever are working flexibly with time spent in the office and home-based working. This has undoubtedly made it trickier for supervisors to keep on top of employee motivation.
Every manager worth their salt wants to get the best out of their team. So, how do you motivate an employee who is underperforming?
In this post, we look at how to motivate employees. We also share ten practical ways to spark that zest for work again and inspire employees to give their best.
What Motivates Employees?
You may be tempted to say the paycheck, but the truth is employee motivation is a complex mix of several factors.
Your workers are all different. Some are introverts, while others are extroverts. Some will be just starting on their careers, and others will be nearing retirement. Each worker will have different perspectives, varying life experiences, and differing home lives.
The bottom line is there’s no one solution to employee motivation. Dale in Accounts is likely to be motivated by different factors to Janelle in Sales.
However, it’s also true that there is a broad range of common motivational factors. Back in 1959, behavioral scientist Frederick Herzberg identified five employee motivational factors. And his theory is still relevant today. According to Herzberg, the following factors influence our motivation in the workplace:
- Achievement: Employees need to feel a sense of accomplishment in their work. The job has to be worthwhile and have a real purpose.
- Recognition: Praise and recognition for a job well done are essential to keep staff motivated. And peer-to-peer recognition is just as important as praise from managers and executives.
- The work itself: Employees want a job that’s interesting, varied, and challenging.
- Responsibility: Autonomy and ownership of their work are also essential to staff. This involves trusting employees to get on with the job without micromanaging them.
- Advancement: Nobody wants to feel that they are stagnating in a job. Opportunities for career advancement can be very motivating.
- Growth: Whether it’s on-the-job training or external courses, employers should give staff opportunities to learn new skills.
How To Motivate Your Employees: Work Out What Makes Them Tick
Figuring out what makes your staff member tick involves getting to know them on a personal level. Set aside time in your regular one-to-ones to find out more about them as an individual. Check-in regularly and find out how they are feeling and what’s going on in their lives outside work.
Taking the time to listen to staff can be very enlightening. For example, you may discover that the star employee we identified at the start feels as though she was overlooked for promotion. And that sense of frustration is behind her dip in performance. Or it may be that the employee is a carer to a family member and needs some extra vacation time or flexible working to relieve the pressure.
Perhaps you are concerned about the whole team’s motivation. In that case, an anonymous employee survey can help you identify the root cause. However, the last thing you want to do is overload your busy team. So, make sure you keep it short and simple. A snap poll on the intranet can help you assess the team’s level of employee motivation without being too demanding.
So, you now have a good feel for the general factors around how to motivate employees. And you have also invested time in exploring what makes individual workers tick. The challenge now is to come up with some practical steps you can take to improve employee motivation.
Here are ten proven ways you can motivate staff that are relevant to today’s workplace.
How To Motivate Employees In 10 Proven Ways
1. Company Shout-Outs
As we have seen, praise and recognition are common motivating factors. And peer-to-peer recognition is perhaps the most motivating of all.
Use the intranet’s team chat and set up a dedicated # channel so employees can give a shout-out to colleagues. It could be a game-changing innovation, stellar sales performance, or simply going out of your way to help a colleague. Either way, a public shout-out is a powerful motivator. And it’s an easily implemented but very effective tool for praising workers that go the extra mile.
2. Introduce Gamification And Incentives
A bit of healthy competition can be extremely motivating. However, without checks and balances, it can be destructive.
MyHub customer Kenect Recruitment has used the intranet to incentivize branches with some friendly competition. Intranet-embedded Google Sheets display branch performance in league tables with real-time data. Workers find it engaging and motivating, and the informal competition has helped raise performance across the board.
If you decide to introduce gamification, it’s best to keep it on the team rather than individual level. That way, you are more likely to promote collaboration rather than sabotage. And for transparency, make it around a specific business goal.
Rewards can be simple and low-cost. A trophy, special badges, or buttons give the winning team full bragging rights. And a box of yummy donuts is always a hit.
3. Trust In Your Team Members
Tempting though it may be, try not to micromanage your team members, especially remote workers. Instead, give employees some autonomy and flexibility. Research shows that employees with higher levels of job autonomy report increased rates of work-related wellbeing.
Trusting in the team involves easing up on when and where work gets done. Flexible schedules and remote working give employees opportunities to work the hours and locations that suit them best.
And the intranet is an excellent platform for encouraging more autonomous working among staff. After all, your intranet is the central hub for all company information, systems, and processes. In a self-service approach, employees can source all the data they need for themselves. And that’s empowering for workers. Plus, it means you can confidently step back, knowing that your team has all the tools required to get the job done.
4. Involve Employees In Goal-Setting
When setting goals and targets for an employee, be sure to involve them in the process. Collaborative goal-setting is a no-brainer. Research tells us that employees who are involved in goal-setting are more likely to take ownership. It provides clarity about what’s expected. And it fosters that sense of the bigger picture and making a worthwhile contribution.
Furthermore, develop goals that will challenge and stretch your employee. Personal growth and development, plus successful completion of small and major goals, are incredibly motivating. And be sure to congratulate the worker as important milestones are achieved to maintain that motivation.
5. Celebrate Success As A Team
Don’t take success for granted. In the daily grind, it’s easy to move on to the next project without pausing to celebrate achievements. Instead, make an effort to enjoy joint successes together. A team outing, shared lunch, or even a collective pat on the back is often all it takes. However, the positive vibes and shared sense of achievement will keep your staff motivation buzzing for the next project.
6. Share Positive Reviews
Got a five-star Google Review? Or perhaps a happy customer has posted a positive testimonial on your Facebook page. Sharing glowing customer reviews is a sure-fire way to promote positivity. Publish great testimonials on the intranet newsfeed or team chat so that all employees can feel the love.
7. Provide Opportunities For Learning and Development
Training budgets may have taken a hammering during the pandemic. However, there are plenty of low-cost ways that you can provide learning and development opportunities for staff. In one LinkedIn survey, 94 percent of employees said they would stay longer at a company if it invested in their career development. And so, it’s clear learning and development are well worth the investment for both motivation and retention.
There’s a wealth of cost-effective online learning options now available. And don’t forget your internal resources too. Mentoring schemes, work shadowing, and lunch and learn events are easily implemented and won’t blow out your budget.
8. Promote Collaboration
When it comes to motivation, collaborative working can be a game-changer. For employees experiencing the ‘been there, done that’ mentality, the fresh perspective that comes with collaboration can make all the difference. Plus, it introduces an element of peer accountability that may have been lacking in their everyday work.
And for remote workers, collaboration promotes a feeling of connection and kinship. With many reporting issues with isolation and loneliness, collaboration can be a lifeline for remote workers.
9. Set Up A Volunteering Program
Doing good in the local community can help revive unmotivated and disengaged workers. Getting out of the workplace and sharing knowledge and skills with others is very rewarding. Plus, it helps to build emotional bonds between colleagues that often continue back in the workplace. Furthermore, employees report learning new skills from their volunteer experiences. And these can lead to career advancement and promotions.
The feel-good factor from volunteering often translates into renewed purpose in day-to-day jobs. And so, the multiple benefits on offer make a volunteering program well worth exploring.
10. Make Your Workplace A Great Place To Work
A positive, friendly work environment goes a long way to supporting employees’ motivation. Simple things like a bright interior design, comfortable desks and chairs, and well-equipped kitchens are critical. Plants and artwork will add to the welcoming vibe.
Furthermore, make sure staff have all the tools and resources needed to get the job done. For example, it’s not easy to stay engaged and motivated if your PC is slow and clunky.
Plus, allow opportunities for staff to connect and socialize with in-person or virtual get-togethers. Shared lunches or virtual trivia evenings are vital for team morale. And they help to ensure your workplace is a great place to work.
How To Motivate Employees: Quick Summary
- Get to know your team members as individuals. And identify what makes them tick.
- Understand that everyone is different and will have various motivation factors.
- Use the ten proven how to motivate employees ideas to get your team back on track.
- Experiment and personalize the solution to each individual.
- Check in regularly with employees to ensure you can nip any problems with motivation in the bud.
MyHub is a leading provider of beautifully designed, non-techy cloud intranets. Under one virtual roof are all the tools employees need for anytime, anywhere working. Find out why employees love using our intranet software with a free demo or 14-day trial.