How to Get the Best From Your Employees
In business, there is one simple fact that will always be true: you wouldn’t be able to accomplish even a fraction of what you’ve set out to without a hardworking team of employees by your side.
Your vision can be as objectively strong as you want, your strategy can be as sound as any, but without highly engaged and highly motivated employees, executing on those things won’t just be difficult – it will be impossible.
It may be hard to believe, but there are some people out there who still have a hard time seeing this very straightforward concept. Your employees aren’t going to want to follow your every move because their paycheck depends on it or because you tell them to. They have to want it in a genuine, raw and honest way.
That requires motivation, which itself is something that you can hone and cultivate by keeping a few key things in mind.
The Connection Between Employee Engagement and Motivation
If you want a clear example of just how important motivated employees can be to your long-term success of an organization, check out a recent study conducted by Interact. In the survey of 1,000 workers based in the United States, it was revealed that the number one complaint of a full 63% of respondents came down to a lack of appreciation from their managers.
Think about that for a moment – the biggest complaint that people have with their jobs is not the fact that they’re being asked to do too much, or that work isn’t “fun enough,” or that they sometimes need to work long hours. At the end of the day, it all comes down to the fact that they aren’t getting the credit they (rightfully) deserve.
Diving a bit deeper, the study also revealed that when managers go out of their way to recognize the contributions of employees, their average engagement levels tend to increase by a massive 60%.
This means that by simply acknowledging that the people around you (and underneath you) are working hard, and making them feel like they are in fact contributing to a greater good, they tend to work even harder as a result.
At that point, employee motivation becomes something of a self-fulfilling prophecy. It begins to generate its own momentum, building upon itself in a way that is very difficult to ignore (particularly whenever you happen to glance at your own bottom line).
Tips for Motivating Employees
So once you acknowledge that motivated employees are one of the major cornerstones of everything you’ve worked hard to build so far, the most important question to ask becomes: just how do I keep my employees motivated in the first place? Luckily, there is a wide range of things that you can do to help accomplish exactly that all day, every day, no exceptions.
For starters, you should always look for opportunities to come right out and tell someone that they’re doing a good job – but it doesn’t have to stop there. Make sure that you’re telling everyone else, too. Not necessarily in a “look what Bob in sales is doing, why can’t you all be as good as Bob?” kind of way, but in a general “I make it a priority to recognize hardworking people” sense.
At the end of the year (or even at the end of the quarter), you should also not be afraid to create specific materials designed to showcase just what an important role your teams have played over the last few months. Think of it a bit like what you’re already doing in terms of outward-facing marketing, only this collateral is built towards an inward-facing audience.
At the company picnic or holiday party, think about creating an Infographic with a tool like Visme to visualize what you were able to accomplish that you wouldn’t have been able to without your employees. Remember that humans are naturally visual learners and your employees are no different. Sometimes when people are working so hard, it can be easy to lose track of the bigger picture.
An Infographic that outlines all of their contributions and shows the relationships between hardworking teams and tangible results on a larger, company level can be a great way to say “look how much you all matter” in a way that is easy to understand.
Presentations are also a great format for accomplishing much the same thing in an inherently compelling way. Put some of those old marketing techniques to good use and really tell a story about what your employees have been contributing towards for the last year. Not only is this a perfect way to show your employees that you have, in fact, been paying attention, but presenting your appreciation in the form of a narrative can also be a great way to strike an emotional chord with your employees at the exact same time.
Just don’t think that you can get away with skipping that company holiday appreciation party in favour of a thoughtfully crafted presentation. For the best results, you’re likely going to want to use a combination of both of these techniques at the same time. Trust us.
The Ongoing Art of Appreciation
In the end, the most critical thing for you to understand is that “appreciating your employees” is not something that you can just do once and forget about. It’s something that you need to be proactive about – you should be searching for opportunities to say “I see what you’re doing and I value you deeply” all day, every day, no exceptions.
But also remember that you’re not necessarily talking about big moves, either. Every week does not require an expensive employee lunch held on the company dime. As the old saying goes, “you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar” and when it comes to motivating your employees and keeping them that way, a little honey certainly goes a long, long way.
About the Author
Payman Taei is the founder of Visme, an easy-to-use online tool to create engaging presentations, infographics, and other forms of visual content. He is also the founder of HindSite Interactive, an award-winning Maryland digital agency specializing in website design, user experience and web app development.