Low staff turnover, and an engaged and motivated workforce; that’s the dream for every employer, right? We all want a team who are pulling together to achieve your businesses aims and create great work. But how do we achieve this?
It’s easy to think that people are personally responsible for coming to work with a good attitude and a passion for their job. And sure, individuals need to take ownership of what they do, and commit to being a good employee. But unless you’re self-employed, or the boss, your work day is actually dictated by the people around you and, crucially, your leadership figures.
Keeping employees happy, engaged and motivated should be one of your biggest interests as an employer. Take your cue from billionaires like Richard Branson, Mark Zuckerberg and Larry Page and consider creating a positive work environment an essential element in achieving your business goals.
- Never underestimate the power of ‘Why’
It’s one of the first questions we learn to ask as a child, and it remains one of the fundamental motivators of human action as we reach adulthood.The importance of this is twofold. Firstly, did you ever ask your parents ‘Why?’ and receive the response ‘Because I said so’?Do you remember how this made you feel?Remember, your employees are people, not computer software which you can simply command. Letting your employees know why you want them to do something will help them to feel confident and involved in the process. And as the man on the ground, they may have valuable input for how you can tweak or refine the work.Secondly, make sure your employees have a deeper motivation for doing a good job. Some employers think that the promise of a paycheck should be motivation enough. But while it may be enough to encourage an employee to do a job – it’s not enough to secure their engagement and enthusiasm.Selling your vision and mission to your employees will help them feel as though they are part of something. If they believe in what your company is trying to achieve – in who it’s trying to be – you can guarantee their motivation and their passion.
- Throw apathy to the windImagine a workforce of robots. Each job is done in exactly the same way, day-in, day-out. How long do you think it would take for your business to plateau? Or for a competitor to come up with a new idea that steals some of your market share?This is what happens if you have a staff made up of worker bees. They do their job, but do they care enough to come up with new business ideas, or wave a red flag when they can see something isn’t working or is about to go wrong?Your employees are all individuals with their own specific job description. If you focus on ensuring that they are self-motivated and goal oriented, they can each become their own ‘internal entrepreneur’. This is guaranteed to improve their productivity and their feeling of pride as a part of your corporate culture.
- Nurture their creative sparks
All work and no play is well known to be a sure-fire route to unhappiness – but it can also end up in dull, lifeless and underwhelming work. If the work produced is boring your employees, it’s pretty certain to bore and disengage everyone else as well.Find ways to maintain employee interest and curiosity in what they’re doing. Whether it’s training days, bringing in a keynote speaker to inspire and educate, or holding a company retreat; it’s a great way to get stagnant brains going again.Make sure that your office is a place where employees have the quiet and space to think, but also that they are relaxed and happy enough to be creative, to try out new ideas and to bond as a team.
- Be real
People value and respect leaders who they know that they can trust and who they are confident have their best interests at heart.Talk to your employees as equals. Being straightforward and ‘real’ with them will create an atmosphere of open communication and trust. This means recognizing and acknowledging good work, as well as providing constructive criticism of the bad.Often overlooked is recognition of employees who consistently deliver. You may focus your efforts on developing the confidence of employees who are learning – but this should not be done at the expense of the workers who are already of high value. The less they feel appreciated by you, the more likely they are to start looking for other places where their work will be recognized.
- Lead from the top
Leadership should liberate employees. You are steering the ship, so your crew can focus on doing their jobs to the best of their ability.If you lead by example; with the right attitude, the right approach to your colleagues, and the right enthusiasm – it’s infectious. Remember, you are a part of the team and your employees will take their cue from you.Creating a motivated and engaged workforce is easy. Believe in what you do and believe in who you hire. Put your faith and energy into your people and good work will follow.