Motivated employees are happier and more satisfied with their job, which leads to lower absenteeism, lesser turnover and higher employee retention.
Now, no one can be 100% motivated all the time. But it’s when lack of motivation becomes consistent that your disengaged employees start to affect your company negatively.
Fortunately, there are many ways to improve motivation in the workplace. Here are some of the most effective ones to start with.
1. Create an inspiring work environment
Your employees should feel inspired to work as soon as they step foot inside the office. You can achieve that by creating a positive atmosphere that encourages creativity, efficiency, and productivity.
Some of the most highly productive offices have motivational posters (yes, they work!), plants and plenty of natural light.
Invest in ergonomic office furniture, eliminate all distractions, and ensure the work environment is utterly serene. If you have a noisy work environment, you can consider providing noise-canceling headphones to employees who can’t concentrate due to all the chatter.
You can adopt an office dog, too, or allow employees to bring their pets to work. A pet-friendly workplace boosts mood, reduces stress, increases happiness and improves communication, collaboration and job satisfaction.
2. Set SMART Goals
Your employees know they contribute to your company, but it’s crucial to let them see their visible progress. Knowing that they’re making a difference will motivate them to keep up the good work and stay on the right track. Enter SMART goals.
SMART goals stand for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound goals.
Setting them will improve your employees’ focus, provide a clear direction, help them monitor and evaluate their progress and prevent procrastination. It will give your teammates the necessary clarity on what they need to do, why it’s relevant and how it will contribute to your company’s long-term success.
3. Recognize hard work
A recent survey on employee performance motivators found that 37% of employees agree that personal recognition is the top motivator for better work.
The 2019 Employee Engagement and Modern Workplace Report revealed similar findings.
84% of engaged and motivated employees were recognized for their recent stellar performance, while 25% of their disengaged counterparts didn’t receive any recognition for their most recent accomplishments.
Show that you appreciate everything your team does for your company by recognizing all their contributions. It will boost their morale, improve self-esteem and supercharge work enthusiasm.
If you don’t provide recognition, your teammates might no longer be motivated to put as much effort into their work as they’re used to. Why would they if it goes unnoticed?
4. Reward employees
Thanking your employees for all their hard work can be rewarding, but it’s vital to take it a step further.
Monetary rewards are great motivators, but they’re not always enough to incentivize employees to keep going the extra mile. That’s particularly true if you only offer annual bonuses at the end of the year.
Consistent rewards are the best way to go. Those could be frequent bonuses, gift cards, extra vacation days and paid time-off for achieving assigned goals, and anything else that your people would find valuable.
5. Offer flexible work schedules
Flexible work schedules are some of the most effective employee performance motivators.
Allowing your employees to set their hours or even work from home is a surefire way to boost their motivation. When they have the freedom to choose how and when they can get a job done, they’ll become more efficient and productive.
That’s because they’ll be able to choose the time when they feel most motivated. Early risers will finish all their tasks early in the day, while night owls might choose to work “under cover of darkness” to put it dramatically.
Whichever the case, they’ll know their deadlines and have complete control over their work.
6. Encourage regular breaks
Even if you offer flexible work schedules, employee burnout might still be an issue. That’s especially true of remote workers, who sit all day long and often work non-stop to meet all the deadlines.
Regular breaks are your team’s best friends. Encourage them to take a break every hour or so to recharge their batteries and recalibrate. Stretching their legs, grabbing a bite or taking some fresh air will bring a healthy balance to their body and mind.
That’s particularly beneficial when working on a complex project. Taking a step back will help your employees refresh, so they might gain a new perspective and figure out a better way to tackle a challenge.
7. Provide L&D and career advancement opportunities
A recent Korn Ferry survey found that 33% of employees leave their place of work for new challenges.
Only 29% of employees are “very satisfied” with their company’s opportunities for career advancement, according to SHRM’s Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement survey.
This means that providing opportunities for learning and development (L&D) and career growth will help you motivate and retain employees. You’ll improve their engagement and job satisfaction, as they’ll be able to learn and grow instead of remaining static.
By providing training to develop their skills and help them grow professionally, they won’t have a reason to jump ship and seek better job opportunities. As a result, you’ll have an expert team who can make your company more profitable.
8. Streamline communication
Effective communication is key to a motivated, engaged, and high-performing workforce, especially a remote one. It’s the backbone of every successful business.
Trade Press Services found that 85% of employees think that effective internal communications are some of the top motivators.
But effective, streamlined communication is much more than keeping employees up-to-date with company news, projects, milestones and other relevant information. It’s how you share it and help team members understand it.
There are many leadership training courses you can offer to team leaders, managers, executives and other stakeholders. They can help them improve their communication and other leadership skills, thus becoming leaders people will look up to.
You should also provide a mentoring employees training course to build strong mentoring relationships in the workplace. Your trainees will develop better interpersonal skills and learn how to set employees up for success.
9. Don’t micromanage
Micromanagement is one of the biggest motivation killers. Would you be able to perform at your best with someone looking over your shoulder and monitoring your every move? Probably not.
So, don’t put a damper on your employees’ motivation by micromanaging them. All you’d accomplish is preventing their creativity from working on all cylinders and making them feel like their arms were tied behind their back. They’d feel unable to apply all their knowledge and skills, which might push them to take their talents elsewhere.
Master the art of employee motivation
Improving employee motivation may be a time-consuming process that takes a lot of effort and dedication, but it’s also rewarding. Once you create a positive work environment and boost your team’s motivation, you’ll see all those efforts paying off.
Motivated and engaged employees are happy, productive, efficient, creative and the building blocks of successful businesses.