Top 8 ways to motivate employees and increase productivity
You have to keep your employees motivated—at least if you want them to be happy, productive and loyal to the company. But motivating your team is easier said than done. Recent data indicates that employee engagement rates are as low as 32% and increasing workplace demands are contributing to record burnout. Still, you don’t have to accept low engagement as an inevitability. Here are the top ways to elevate morale and boost motivation in any work environment.
1. Onboard with a purpose
If you want to foster confident, motivated employees who take pride in their work, you need to provide them with a solid foundation from day one.
The benefits of onboarding are enormous, and they include better employee productivity and engagement—but only if you onboard effectively. That means providing the most essential employee training up front, checking in with your new hires regularly, coaching them on a personal level and helping them to get acquainted with their fellow team members. You need to make them feel at home.
2. Prioritize recruitment and staffing
As previously noted, burnout is a major problem in today’s workforce. It’s also a leading cause of high turnover. After all, it’s really difficult for employees to stay motivated and productive when they’re constantly tired and frustrated. Sooner or later, job satisfaction is going to plummet.
If everyone’s workload is consistently at 90% capacity, or if you’re having to request frequent overtime to keep the operations flowing, chances are you’re understaffed. You must mitigate this issue, as staffing is the number one disruptor from the perspective of both corporate leaders and frontline managers and workers. Employees are motivated when they have room to breathe, so do whatever you can to recruit additional team members if things are getting tight.
3. Hold people accountable equally
Workplace motivation requires a level playing field. You need to be fair and consistent in how you manage employees.
Establish clear expectations and hold everyone accountable. Don’t play favorites, and don’t allow an environment where the expectations change based on which manager is on the clock. Make sure people know where they stand.
4. Provide relevant coaching and feedback
Employees respond well to direct feedback that is consistent, constructive and actionable. Corrective feedback is helpful when it’s required, but a manager’s feedback should also account for the individual’s strengths.
Employees need an advocate in leadership who helps them to consistently grow and better themselves. Employees should feel comfortable asking questions, admitting failures and seeking direct guidance. If ongoing mentorship is made available, the employee should feel increasingly motivated.
5. Recognize hard work and achievements
If you want to increase motivation in the workplace, employees need to know that their hard work is appreciated. Because management faces constant pressures of their own (and because their own efforts often go unrecognized by higher-ups), they often forget this simple but essential need.
Recognition can include verbal acknowledgements, written thanks, physical rewards, paid time off and the potential for upward mobility. Just make sure to recognize people consistently, fairly (make it a process; don’t just do it when it pops into your head) and in the way that best suits them. Also, don’t only recognize people for going above and beyond expectations; any job well done is worthy of workplace recognition.
6. Promote equity in the workplace
Equity is about ensuring that everyone—regardless of role, location or tenure—has an opportunity to succeed and work in a fair, inclusive, enjoyable environment. That means creating an experience that makes sense for each part of the workforce and not forcing elements—such as technologies, learning opportunities, etc.—on team members that wouldn’t benefit (even if other team members do benefit).
For example, a company might use the same long-form training for every employee—training that takes time and requires a desktop or laptop computer. But while this might be fine for employees at a desk, frontline staff training generally requires a unique, streamlined approach that’s available and accessible where and when they need it (such as a mobile or POS device). If you want to keep your team motivated, don’t default to a one-size-fits-all approach. Tailor the support to each employee and each team.
7. Provide people with learning and development opportunities
A lack of motivation may stem from a lack of training. If employees feel like they’re out of their depth, or if they’re afraid of making mistakes, they’re going to be less productive and less effective as a result. Consider that 62% of employees believe that learning is instrumental to their career success.
A motivated employee is one who’s ready to tackle any task that comes their way, and that requires continuous, personalized learning that accounts for their unique strengths, weaknesses and goals. Upskilling and reskilling opportunities should be part of the equation.
8. Listen to your employees
Give people a chance to actively participate in the business, not just execute assigned work. Provide feedback channels that go beyond annual engagement surveys or an open invitation to “talk to your manager.”
For instance, an employee communication solution can be effective for many organizations. It connects employees to management and also to their fellow employees, promoting both purpose and team building. You should openly ask for their feedback and ideas, and then listen. Demonstrate that everyone’s contribution matters and that employees are instrumental to the success of the company.
Additional tips for motivating employees
Employees want to be heard. They want to be valued. They want work that’s rewarding and challenging but not crushing. If your goal is keeping employees motivated, you need to ensure that they’re consistently supported, appreciated and provided with the resources they need to thrive.
If you’re struggling with low employee motivation or engagement and you want to boost productivity, consider where the organization may be falling short. Then take action. When you cater to the needs of your employees, they’re better equipped to cater to your customers.