Everything You Need to Know about Motivating Your Employees

Are your employees motivated, engaged, and committed to your company? The sad truth is that most employees aren’t – only 20 percent of employees around the world say they’re engaged with their work. Most of your employees are probably just putting in time to collect a paycheck, and some of them are doing the absolute bare minimum instead of giving the job all of their effort.

Getting employees motivated and keeping them that way requires strong management skills and the right approach. You need to treat your employees with respect, give them the recognition they need, create room for work-life balance, and foster their professional development. Here’s everything you need to know to boost employee motivation and engagement.

Employees Need Respect and Autonomy

If there’s one thing that can drive employees away, it’s a disrespectful boss – but on the flip side, a respectful manager can make employees feel more loyal and inspire them to stay longer. Employees who feel respected by leadership are more likely to be engaged than those who do not. One survey found that demonstrating respect for subordinates is the single most important quality a leader can have.

Part of treating your employees with respect is giving them autonomy, not micromanaging them. Employees need to be trusted to do their jobs without someone constantly peering over their shoulders, and they need some space in order to plan and perform their tasks as they see fit. Treat your employees like functioning adults – they should be able to work independently and will be happier for being allowed to do so.

Employee Recognition Should Be a Daily Occurrence

Yearly or quarterly performance reviews have their place in the company, but they shouldn’t be the only way you show recognition for your employees’ hard work and achievements. Employee recognition specialists like Workhuman recognize that employee recognition should occur as often as possible to help employees remain engaged and motivated. Ideally, you should be doing something every day to recognize your employees.

But how can you make employee recognition happen every day? If you recognize that employee recognition encompasses everything from saying thank you for a completed task all the way up to giving a trophy at an awards ceremony, it’s easy. Every act of employee recognition doesn’t have to be the plaque at the awards ceremony. Employee recognition can be a card recognizing an employee’s birthday or work anniversary. It can be saying thank you, giving praise for a small task done well, or shouting out an employee’s efforts on a company-wide email.

The key to recognition is not spending a lot of money or making it elaborate. It’s in making employees consistently feel that their efforts are seen and appreciated. Remember, everyone in your place of work is doing something worth recognition, not just the top performers. Recognize everyone’s efforts, not just those of your best workers. People who feel their efforts are seen are more motivated and do even better work in the future.

Flexibility Is More Important Than Ever

These days, more and more people want some flexibility at work, whether that means the ability to work from home at least some of the time, the ability to flex their schedules, or both. Employees have more room for work-life balance when they’re allowed to adjust their work schedules around the demands of their personal life, and not the other way around. That’s especially the case if they’re expected to take work home or respond to work texts and emails outside of working hours. Being a little flexible can ease a lot of stress for your workers, and that can free up the energy they need to get motivated.

You Should Be Creating Room for Growth

It might feel like giving your employees room for professional development and growth might just encourage them to look for employment elsewhere. But while it’s true that people don’t spend years in the same job very often anymore, making room for your employees’ professional growth can make them feel more committed to your company.

For one thing, employees want to be challenged and learn new things. When you offer opportunities for training, certification, and further education, employees will feel that you care about them as people because you’re supporting their professional growth. You’ll be sending the message that you value your people’s development even though they might use their new skills to seek employment elsewhere.

Of course, employees need room for advancement within the company, too. Encouraging their professional growth is most effective when it can open up opportunities for them within the company. Groom employees for more advanced positions where they can put their skills to better use. Help them develop whatever further skills they need to move higher in the company. Investing in your employees this way will help both them and the company advance, as you’ll be getting more qualified employees out of it, and they’ll be more loyal to the business.

Reward Employees for Jobs Well Done

Employees need to be rewarded when they’ve done something well, but rewards need not be monetary and they need not necessarily be elaborate. Incentive programs can give people a reason to work harder, and can even give them motivation to stay with the company. Consider offering a formalized incentive program that could reward employees with bonuses, profit-sharing, or non-monetary prizes.

If you can’t afford to give a lot of bonuses, reward employees with extra time off, or small tokens of appreciation like a gift card for free coffee or a simple thank you note. Employees who know they’re going to be rewarded for their hard work are more likely to do their best work and they’re also more motivated to stick with the company for longer.

Some of your employees will be naturally motivated to do their best work, but some of them will require a little more support and encouragement to trigger their intrinsic desire to do a good job. Make sure you’re creating an environment at your workplace that helps employees feel recognized and valued, and they’ll repay you with reduced turnover and increased motivation.