5 Best Ways to Motivate Employees

(and money’s not one of them!)

by Virginia Johnson – Marketing & Creative Coordinator, SRG

Employee retention – it’s a big concern with many companies these days. With workers having their pick of any job right now, retaining your employees is key to having a successful business.

There are many different ways to improve employee retention including providing clear job expectations, creating opportunity for growth, strong leadership and, of course, fair compensation. However, one of the most effective ways to keep employees is to motivate them. Several methods are available to motivate your workforce but some are not always available in certain environments (e.g. flexible work hours, moving breaks to different times, etc.).

Here are a few of the best ways to motivate your employees and keep them at your organization:

  1. Ask Questions and Listen
    Get involved with your employees directly and involve them in company decisions. Many companies will have a suggestion box, a Kaizen program or an improvement committee, but this is passive and may not always work. Get directly involved with your employees in their office spaces and out on the production floor. Roll your sleeves up and engage your employees. Ask them to be involved in solving a particular problem and address them directly. (This is a great way for employees to use their creativity and feel they have a part in the decisions being made). Find out from them how you can make their job easier and take an interest in what they do. Even if you can’t always act on their suggestions, by listening to your employees directly, you are showing that you care about them and value their input and opinions. In turn, they will value your organization.
  2. Trust and Respect
    Trust your employees and make sure that they can trust you. Never lie to them or withhold crucial information and be up front about any changes in the company, compensation, policies, or management. For example, what about that locked supply cabinet? By locking up supplies, employees may feel that you don’t trust them and that because they aren’t ‘upper tier’, they are apt to steal supplies from the company. This will only decrease morale and create a wall between management and employees.
  3. Opportunity to Make a Difference
    Employee pride can have a positive impact in an organization. When employees are able to look back on the work that they have accomplished and see the final results, they feel proud of their contribution. If your company has the opportunity to directly connect employees right to the customer to see how their product or service is helping someone, that is even better! Show your employees the larger purpose. Be sure that they have access or are informed of strategic plans for the company over the quarter and the year. Let them know the expectations and what a ‘good week’ looks like so that everyone can celebrate together as goals are met.
  4. Small, Unexpected Rewards
    Study after study over the last 10 years has shown that rewards or pay for performance doesn’t necessarily work and actually can hinder achievement altogether. (Rewards are only a temporary fix – when employees don’t get the rewards they were expecting they feel punished and become demotivated). However, small, unexpected rewards of appreciation can make a large impact and for little cost. It can be as easy as bringing in lunch for the group on a Friday afternoon or giving out gift cards after a great week. These are inexpensive ideas and just a small way to show that you appreciate them and the hard work that they do every day.
  5. Address Employees Who Create a Negative Environment
    Employees that don’t pull their own weight or cause trouble in an organization can bring everyone in their department down with them. Even management that doesn’t work amicably with their employees (regardless of how well they meet company goals) can deeply impact retention. Make sure to train management and supervisors on how to use verbal and written praise and it will trickle down to your employees.

These are just some of the ways that you can help motivate your workforce. Employees start in positions with an inclination to do a good job. The key is keeping that momentum going – the results will be endless. Minimal interruptions in workflow, high quality, high sales, more innovation, better worker relations and, of course, increased retention are direct results of motivating your employees.

For more information on SRG’s workforce training and development services, contact your local SRG office.

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