Oct 24

How To Motivate Your Staff

As a business owner, you face the important challenge of getting the most from your employees. Perhaps you have a staff that already feels overworked and depressed. This can have significant consequences in regards to quality of service for your business. A loss in quality will eventually result in less revenue. This is something you need to prevent or that you have to fix if it already happened. But how do you motivate staff that feels depressed? How do you keep motivation high and the staff emphasized about their tasks?

What does a great business manager do that an average business manager doesn’t? Motivate, motivate, motivate and I’m not talking about the occasional pep talk or a halftime speech. Great managers motivate their staff on an ongoing base to prevent having staff members slipping into that dark hole of fading motivation.

To motivate and to retain your employees, you must understand how they want to be rewarded. What makes the employee feel appreciated? Nearly employee has a preferred reward structure. This is usually a combination of compensation (money), work life balance (time off), and recognition (e.g. employee of the month). Compensation is not limited to pure cash (salary, bonus pay, etc.) but can also be in form of gift certificates or even movie tickets. Time off is not only the available vacation. Imagine walking up to an employee at lunch time and sending him home for the rest of the day just because. Or sponsor a night at a close by vacation resort. You get the idea. Recognition can include formal awards, public acknowledgments, and title changes. A title change should usually be accompanied by a salary increase though.

Different employees will value different combinations of motivation. Not everyone is alike, and the possible combination of rewards will change over time the same way as aspects of employees’ work life and personal life change. Employees with families will are more often motivated with work life balance affecting rewards. Younger employees are often motivated more by compensation and recognition. They might have to pay off student loans, car loans or are planning on buying a house or apartment soon.

You, the business owner should think about recognition and rewards for each budget year. Put some money aside for these things. You will most likely have limited resources with which to reward your employees. Being creative can still get you going. Suppose one of your employees has recently worked way beyond the call of duty and went several extra miles for a customer. You could reward him with a 150 dollar prepaid gift certificate (compensation), an afternoon off (work life balance), a special award at a team meeting (employee of the month = recognition). The options are there   you just need to put them into the right perspective.

But this is not everything about team morale. If morale is already down you should work on the cause for this and not just patch the open wound. Talk to your employees on a regular base. A weekly team meeting might be a good thing. Let everyone explain (in high level words) what the planned tasks for the week are and make sure that help is available where needed. No employee should feel left alone with a huge task on his or her plate. Be sure to set clear, obtainable goals for every team member and work with your staff to build a strategy to attain those goals. Be aware   you will employees who do not need much supervision and others that do to do a great job. Great business owners always have their finger on the pulse of the team and individual’s morale.