Motivating your employees can be the secret to achieving lasting success as a company. A workforce that is actively engaged with their work is more likely to go the extra mile, be more productive, and want to stay with the company for longer (improving employee retention). All of these factors can contribute to the success of the business and make it more competitive.

However, mastering employee motivation can be difficult at the best of times. There are any number of variables in the workplace culture that can impact employee performance and motivation. So, here’s a list of simple tips and tricks for how to motivate employees.

1: Consider how leadership actions impact workplace culture

The actions of leaders in an organization can have a massive impact on workplace culture and employee motivation. For example, if you’ve ever been told “Do as I say, not as I do,” odds are good that you know how frustrating it is to be held to a higher standard than others unfairly. So imagine how your employees might feel if they see leadership team members getting away with behaviors that they would be reprimanded (or even terminated) for.

A workplace culture that seems to encourage double standards can quickly create actively disengaged employees.

On the other hand, having leaders exemplify the behaviors that you want your employees to model, and showing employees that everyone will be treated equally when it comes to both rewards and consequences, can help to improve employee engagement.

2: Take some time for 1:1 meetings with employees

How leaders communicate with their teams can also have a major impact on employee motivation and performance. As Kevin Plank, the founder of Under Armour, said in an article for Inc.:

“I listened to everyone’s opinions, and, without fail, they’d bring up things I hadn’t thought of. More important, my team members knew they were part of the process and that their voices mattered… Employees are more motivated when they feel needed, appreciated, and valued.”

By taking employee suggestions and implementing them, Plank was able to influence his company’s workplace culture. This created an environment where employees were encouraged to share their thoughts—helping them to be more engaged and motivated.

Holding 1:1 meetings with team members to provide feedback and collect ideas can make employees feel more appreciated—making these meetings an invaluable tool for motivating your employees.

3: Use visible data dashboards to encourage healthy competition

Creating some data dashboards featuring employee performance statistics and putting them where all employees can see them can help to create some healthy competitiveness. When your teams see these “leaderboards” of who is doing what the most effectively, it can spur them to try harder and be more competitive so they can reach the top spot.

This trick for motivating your employees borrows from the concept of online leaderboards in video games—making this a type of “gamification” strategy. By providing open recognition for strong employee performance, and attaching a “score” to employee efforts, you can increase employee engagement and create a workplace culture that promotes excellence.

However, it’s important to employ this tactic carefully. Making sure that the performance metrics tracked on the public data dashboard are both relevant to your business’ goals and are within your employees’ ability to control. Otherwise, employees may waste effort on worthless activities to boost the wrong numbers or become demotivated.

4: Create opportunities for employees to learn new skills for the company

Many employees are looking for opportunities to move to a new role or get promoted. However, they may not currently have the right skills to move into a new position. Without education opportunities, these employees will stagnate and, eventually, leave to find new opportunities in a company where they’ll be given such opportunities.

Providing an employee training program that can give employees new skills that allow them to take on different roles can be an excellent way to motivate them. This not only lets employees try new things, it creates a chance for your company to find promising talent to promote from within.

When employees feel as though their employer is willing to invest in them, they’re more likely to stay—increasing employee retention.

To maximize the effectiveness of an employee training program, it helps to:

  • Ensure interested employees have the time to pursue the training—people who are already working full time may not be able to squeeze in extra time for training.

  • Provide incentives to complete the optional training—such as providing pay increases or other bonuses to people willing to learn skills the company needs.

  • Publicly recognize employees who learn vital skills—doing so helps advertise the learning program and reward employees who complete a course.

Motivating your employees can be difficult. However, using a few simple tricks can help increase employee engagement.

Have questions about how you can pick the right employee performance metrics to track for your public data dashboards? Reach out to the team at BrightGauge for advice!

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