It pays to motivate your employees

It's a fact: it pays to motivate your employees! So how do you do it? Some businesses look for an easy way to earn the trust and commitment of their employees and make them proud to work for them. Others have a strong reputation for having motivated employees. Though the ability to motivate others depends on one's personality, these businesses manage to motivate most of their employees, resulting in workforce stability and heightened productivity.

So how do these businesses do it? Do they have the magic bullet? In a word, yes! It just happens naturally when officers and managers have integrity and are respectful, open and trusting. The head officer must embody these management values because the business culture is a reflection of the person in charge. That means it's up to you to institute a culture of motivation!

Motivating is part and parcel of a business's values and the entrepreneur's vision and ethics. Strong, deep-rooted organizational values foster motivation. Put yourself in the shoes of your employees and ask yourself, “What do I expect of my employer?” Think about your personal and professional values.

An 8-point holistic approach

  • Every employee must know your vision for your business's growth—something that is often overlooked! Employees need to know the business's goals so they can understand why their work is important and be more invested. Share your passion as well as your vision. You need to really love what you do—and be pretty brave—to start a business. You've managed to win over your family, financial backers and partners; now you need to win over your employees.
  • Before you start looking for ways to better motivate your employees, you must first clarify the main objectives you want to rally them around (constant focus on customer service, heightened productivity, greater commitment to continuous improvement, etc.). Lastly, eliminate any obstacles preventing employees from reaching these objectives. Get them involved in the process, ask them to identify issues related to production, customer service, etc.
  • You can't motivate employees without sound human resource management, i.e., well-defined roles and objectives, and clear and honest communication. First describe the organization's main objectives in detail. Next, describe the objectives of each team based on the business's objectives. Then set objectives for each employee based on the team's objectives. Finally, clearly communicate these objectives to all employees. Discuss how to reach these objectives with your employees—they'll have ideas you may never have thought of!
  • Motivation is a multi-tiered process that may entail individuals, a team or multiple teams.
    • Individuals are usually selected for their ability to commit to and improve their work product. Consider their strengths and their views about the importance of the objective and the steps and means needed to achieve it.
    • For a team, focus on each individual's commitment to the team objective and the bonds and relationships that team members will form with one another. The strength of these bonds will directly influence how well the objective is achieved. Be a good role model. Forge strong relationships based on trust and respect.
    • For multiple teams that are not directly related (different tasks), stress the commitment to a higher objective or a “unifying” vision for the business (undisputed market leader, crisis threatening the business, founder's ambitious unifying vision, etc.). This is where your passion must be contagious! Hold special meetings to get teams talking to one another to create a sense of group belonging. Regularly share results with all employees. You don't have to disclose specific financial data, but let them know how well they are doing on their team and business objectives.
  • Plan the steps involved in achieving team and employee objectives (preliminary meetings, meetings, reading, training, document preparation, etc.).
  • Make sure employees are always mindful of their objectives and their progress toward them. Encourage them to tell you about any positive or negative factors that could affect their ability to meet their objectives. Periodically measure your employees' motivation. Be on the lookout for lack of motivation. Have an open-door policy. Remind your employees that your door is open and that you are always available!
  • Recognize and reward employee commitment in a variety of non-monetary ways. If you have suppliers who lavish gifts on you, give them away to employees through random draws. They will sincerely appreciate the gesture.
  • Measure motivation and its effects on objective attainment. Communicate results to employees individually and as a group. Celebrate your success as a team. Give your employees credit for your success.

By following these tips, you too can enjoy a strong reputation for having motivated employees. You'll have the lowest staff turnover rate in the industry, a low absenteeism rate and qualified employees. You'll even attract the competition's employees. Focus on strong values and clear and effective communication, and share your passion. You'll see, it really does pay off!