Employee motivation is the combination of fulfilling the employees’ needs and expectations from their work and environment.
Your role as a leader or manager is to keep your employees fuelled so they can perform at an optimal level — this can often be very challenging so here are a few effective tips to keep your employees motivated and inspired in their roles.
- Recognise your employees’ potential. Keep track of when your employees show potential, especially when you ask them to assist on a new project or task.
- Encourage new ideas. Creativity is important. Allow your employees to explore new ideas even if your environment is restrictive, and give them the opportunity to explore these ideas. Get feedback from other senior leaders in the organisation to find out if the idea is feasible. If the idea is not worth implementing, provide your employee with the relevant feedback. By doing this, at least the employee will know the organisation has given the idea some thought. Even if the concept is not implemented immediately it could be taken into account for the following year’s budget.
- Mentor your employees. Mentoring can take place formally or informally through regular interaction and communication with your employees. Mentoring needs to take place regularly and not just before an annual performance review. Listen to your employees and find out more about their current and future development. Give them unbiased insight and make relevant recommendations.
- Empower your employees with necessary resources: provide them with internal or external training, online resources, workshops, wellness training programmes, psychological support programmes, etc. You need to create a conducive environment that gives your employees a sense of support at all times.
- Recognise outstanding performance. If your employee has done something positive for your department and/or your organisation, give senior management feedback. Your employee may get an internal email or a comment in passing from one of the senior leaders in the organisation and this will make him or her feel valued by you and your organisation.
- Consider what is important to your employee. Is it personal development, company culture, or their vision for your organisation. Sometimes an employee needs to understand the importance of their role within your organisation. For example: a receptionist may feel their role is just to greet clients, get them something to drink and send them to a boardroom. However, this is a very significant role. Your client gets a first impression of your business by meeting your receptionist and your employee needs to be professional and friendly. Your employee working in this role is a “brand ambassador” for the organisation. No matter what role each employee plays in your organisation, every employee needs to understand the importance of their role within the organisation. When this happens, your employees will function with a greater sense of purpose and drive.
- Highlight success stories with your team members. This helps to encourage your employees to work towards making your team successful within the business.
- Identify future projects your employees could possibly get involved in. This will make your employees excited about their future within your organisation.
- Incentive compensation. Performance bonuses, extra leave days, holidays, and company prizes are motivating factors for employees. For example, a company like Google offers their employees who are new parents, time off and some extra spending money to help them welcome their new bundle of joy. Google also offers their employees and their families’ free travel insurance even when they are on personal holidays. Think of small incentives like those mentioned above that could keep your employees motivated.
- Work-life balance. You want your employees to work hard and be productive, but your employees also require some time out. A good way of showing recognition is to give your employees an extra day off when they are going on holiday or if it’s their child’s birthday. Your employee will return to work refreshed, rejuvenated and ultimately more motivated to work harder.
Your employees are your company’s most valuable assets. Actioning the steps listed above will show your employees that you value and appreciate them as an integral unit of your organisation and also as people.
The bottom line is that motivated and valued employees will be more likely to perform with a bolstered level of excellence. You have to keep your employees motivated because they are the building blocks of a successful organisation.
Olivia Eleanor Timothy is a HR Manager at Werksmans Attorneys. She holds an LLB from the University of KwaZulu-Natal and LLM Labour Law from the University of South Africa.