Staff are the single most valuable ‘resource’ of any business. Their motivation and engagement in the company has clear impacts on its success. Fortunately, employee motivation and engagement do not rely on indulgent rewards, nor on ruling your workforce with an iron fist.
The best approach for motivating employees and thus driving your business forward is to build a culture of accountability. With employee performance management, you can unobtrusively monitor individual performance. Trust your staff and give consistent, open employee feedback so everyone can thrive within the business.
Managing people with fear and imposing work standards through punitive measures is one of the best ways to ensure employees do what is asked of them and nothing more. Fear is not a great motivator. It certainly will not improve personal accountability or build teams that work well together.
Rather than ruling with fear, good managers build trust and relationships through mutual respect. This in turn encourage employees to accept their responsibilities on a more personal level and become emotionally invested in the company.
Communication is the core element to building trusting relationships with employees. When speaking with staff, give your undivided attention. It lets people know that what they are saying matters to you.
Be conscious that emotions are contagious. If you are feeling particularly positive, get out there and share the good feelings. Use your positivity to reach out and engage with your teams.
Conversely, when you are feeling particularly worried, stressed, or anxious, try not to pass this on to others. Instead, focus on tasks that keep you closeted from the team to avoid multiplying your negativity in others.
Asking others to be accountable and then not doing so yourself simply won’t reap the results you are looking for. Be prepared to own up to your mistakes and exhibit the qualities you want to see in your employees.
Make sure that each employee understands exactly what is expected from them. Provide clarity through regular team meetings and one-on-one catch ups. Give staff the opportunity to ask questions, seek clarification on targets, and give updates on their projects.
Clear goals should be set to give employees something measurable to work towards. These will help team members align themselves with the company’s mission. Combined with open and responsible managers, a climate of trust, and respectful relationships, staff are far more likely to be accountable for their work and eager to avoid confusion. They’re also more likely to stay on track.
Strive to avoid negative interactions wherever possible. Punishments and publicly reprimanding staff only motivates them to keep their head down and avoid consequences for poor actions and mistakes. Try to focus on what has been done well and highlighting employee successes when you can.
Regularly let your team know that they are valued and when a good job has been done or a major target is reached, express your appreciation. Small incentives or public recognition for meeting or exceeding expectations such as gift vouchers can be given. Keep in mind that there is no need to go overboard if a culture of trust, accountability, and regular feedback has been established in the company.
Building a culture of trust, openness, accountability, and positivity will do more to improve employee motivation and engagement than tangible rewards or severe punishments will ever do. Your own attitude and management style has a far greater impact on employee motivation than anything else.