Obviously, you hope to make your company’s workforce as productive as possible. According to a recent study from the University of Warwick, you won’t make your employees more productive by standing over them with the proverbial whip. You may not even be able to motivate them to get more done by offering them more money. What you need to do, according to research, is to figure out how to keep your employees happier in order to get them to work harder.
4 tips to motivate employees
How can you keep your employees happier and more motivated? Try these steps, none of which will break your startup budget:
- Communicate with employees frequently
Engage your people in two-way conversation as often as possible. If you can’t personally see all of your workers, make sure that your managers or supervisors make this a habit. Still, it’s a good idea for high-level managers, executives and owners to make the time to hold regular meetings with employees. This can be done face-to-face or even over the internet. If people can associate you with a face and a personality, they are more likely to care about you and your company.
You can also set up an email address or other form of online communication that your employees can use to communicate with you directly. Make sure that employees know that you and your senior staff are open to hearing their opinions and ready to act upon good suggestions. When your employees send suggestions, be sure to respond. Remember that your employees might have good ideas to help them work smarter and not just harder.
- Set a great example
Leadership really does set the tone for the culture and character of a company. You also have to let employees see how you work to fulfill the company’s goals, what those goals are and how meeting those goals can benefit them as well as you. In small companies, your employees may see you work every day. In larger companies, you may need to make an effort to demonstrate your personal leadership via webinars or group meetings.
Certainly, to motivate employees, it’s important for you to demonstrate your own excitement about the company’s future. At the same time, it doesn’t hurt to be realistic about stumbling blocks or issues. While you should try to remain optimistic, you certainly also want to express sympathy when certain things haven’t gone the way that everybody had hoped. By showing you are human and caring, it is likely to motivate employees to do better next time.
- Give people a chance to advance
You can gain a lot of cooperation by letting people know about you and your company’s goals. However, everybody wants to feel like they can gain from their good work, as well. Employees may want to earn more money, get entrusted with more responsibility or learn new skills. Your employees will be more motivated if they can see that they have a realistic chance to advance in their careers.
The reality is that not every employee may advance into management. Sometimes the best workers don’t make the best managers. However, productive workers who may not be on a management track should also have a chance to get recognized and to advance in their careers. This could be through more technical training, being given the chance to train others and being included in important meetings about their specialties.
- Consider creative incentives
You can consider some creative incentives that may not cost a lot of money. Certainly, it’s usually helpful to publicly recognize employees for good productivity or even for making a suggestion that improves a business process. Recognition could come in the form of movie tickets, gift cards and other inexpensive tokens.
If your employees worked very hard during a busy holiday season, you might want to offer them paid leave during a slower month when you don’t need your full staff. If you can’t afford to give them a whole day off, you might consider offering them a half day or even letting them come in an hour late or leave an hour early. This gives employees a chance to catch up on their own personal business and it is likely to improve morale.
Happier employees are more productive employees
Of course, you might need to test out a few different tactics to find the best ways to motivate your own employees. In the long run, any investment you make is bound to pay off because of higher productivity and better retention rates. To make that initial investment, you might consider a line of credit that can provide ongoing access to business funding to take advantage of new opportunities that will keep your employees happy and motivated.