10 Ways to Motivate Your Employees

10 Ways to Motivate Your Employees


Motivating your employees can be tricky, especially if you’re not sure what motivates them. If you don’t know what makes them tick, you won’t be able to figure out how to keep them in line and doing their jobs well. That’s why it’s important to know the kinds of motivation that really work with your employees and which ones have no impact whatsoever on them or their performance. Here are 10 ways to motivate your employees effectively so that they always perform at the best of their abilities and keep up good morale in the office.

1) Ask your employees what they need
Ask your employees what they need and want in order to do their best work. Are there tools or supplies that would make their jobs easier? Would additional training help? What things are currently holding them back from doing well? It’s important to create a culture of open communication, so check in with your employees at least once a week and take care of any issues they bring up. If they feel like they can talk freely with you, it will encourage them to trust you, which will make them even more motivated to do their best work.

2) Set realistic goals
When you set goals, make sure they’re realistic. Don’t expect your team members to suddenly be more productive and efficient when that’s a shift in behavior that’s going to take time. Make small, specific changes instead. For example, if there are team members who consistently come into work late, help them learn how show up on time by giving them daily reminders or setting an appointment reminder on their phone at a certain time each day (for example 8:50 a.m.) If you can get your employees involved with establishing these goals, you’ll have buy-in and will see higher levels of engagement.

3) Practice appreciation
If you want employees to be motivated, then it’s important that you show appreciation for their efforts. Take some time each day or week and thank them for all they do. Employees will appreciate knowing they are appreciated! If they feel appreciated, then they will have a greater sense of loyalty and inspiration to keep up their great work.

4) Give away praise
It may seem counterintuitive, but don’t underestimate the power of praising your employees. Praise doesn’t have to be extravagant or frequent; it just has to be sincere and well-timed. In fact, a study of call center workers found that recognition can be more powerful than financial incentives, when it comes to motivating employees. When you praise someone publicly (for example by recognizing an employee at a meeting), that person becomes motivated by his or her desire not to lose status among peers—meaning they will go above and beyond in their work efforts because they don’t want coworkers thinking they are getting special treatment.

5) Have fun
Fun is a key ingredient in successful, healthy companies. In fact, many people would say that their job is more fun than anything else they do all week. At AppFolio, for example, our weekly game night is one of our most popular (and productive) events. Our employees love it because it allows them to blow off steam in a team-building way. For us as managers and supervisors, game night keeps us connected with our team and gives us insight into how they see things happening at work. There are many different ways to get your team motivated; you’ll need to pick something that fits your style and company culture but try having fun yourself—you may be surprised by how much more productive your employees become!

6) Create a special group of achievers
No matter what position you’re in at work, your attitude can make a difference in how motivated your employees are. To create a special group of achievers, look for things that set them apart from their peers. Are they skilled at communication? Do they stand out for being exceptionally attentive? Pointing out people’s strengths will make them feel good about themselves and encourage others to follow their example. If they are able to be successful by finding what motivates them, then let your employees know why they matter and take note on how you can use their strengths in future projects. With just a few well-placed words, you might have found another way to increase motivation among your team members!

7) Create contests or challenges
As a business owner, you’re working with employees who are motivated for different reasons. Some care about their employer and want to work hard for them. Others simply enjoy a sense of competition and will jump at any chance to win—or at least perform well among their peers. A contest or challenge can be a great way of tapping into both types of motivations, as long as it strikes that right balance between being achievable but also pushing people out of their comfort zones (to whatever degree). Plan carefully and have clear rules in place from day one so that everyone’s on board from start. And remember: It’s not just about how well they do—it’s also about how they did compared to others!

8) Recognize small wins
Recognizing small wins is a great way to inspire your employees and show them that their efforts are appreciated. Not only does recognition make your employees feel good, but it encourages those around them to contribute, too. When others see that their colleagues’ contributions are recognized, they want some of that spotlight for themselves. If you can cultivate an environment in which everyone is motivated by recognition from others and wants to be recognized for their own work, then you’re one step closer to motivating your entire workforce.

9) Show confidence in your team
To motivate your employees, start by instilling confidence in them. You can do that by making sure they have all of their needs met—but not necessarily right away. It’s important to let your team struggle a bit and learn how they need to work through it on their own, so they don’t feel like you’re too easy on them. Learn what types of rewards each member of your team finds most motivating, so you can reward them appropriately when they do an exceptional job.

10) Don’t give up on underperformers
It’s easier said than done, but it’s also important to recognize when someone isn’t fitting in with your company culture. It may be tempting to tell yourself We just need more time and she will turn around, but you have to know when to move on. If an employee is bringing down morale and holding back coworkers, it might be time for a hard conversation—and eventually, a parting of ways. Nobody wants one bad apple causing issues in an otherwise cohesive group. A good way of knowing if you need to talk with your underperformer?

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