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Julie Tucker
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Reach for the stars: How to motivate employees

Once you’ve hired the best people for the job, you need to make sure they stick around in the long term. While the salary is obviously important, research has found it’s not top of the list when it comes to holding onto staff.

Studies show the most important considerations to keep them engaged include continual motivation and feeling recognised and encouraged by managers and peers. One-fifth of employees say feeling motivated is the most important part of their job, while 13% appreciate their hard work being officially recognised.

When staff are motivated and satisfied, they’re more productive, producing 20% more work in the same time. They are also 87% less likely to leave, according to research – a significant figure when it comes to keeping a good team together.

Benefits of motivated employees

A key benefit is holding onto the best staff and not breaking up a good team by losing individuals to other companies.

A motivated workforce has a lower level of absenteeism, reduced staff turnover, greater retention of workers, improved workplace relationships, better worker performance and improved customer service.

Employees take fewer days off for minor illnesses or other personal reasons because they feel more willing to work, rather than calling in sick.

When it comes to workplace relationships, employees happy at their work are more likely to accept changes and communicate better with managers. More focused, they will also work harder.

Customer service improves, as employees are more likely to put greater effort into working to a higher standard, adding enthusiasm into their role.

The question is, how do you motivate employees to produce all these great results?

Create pleasant surroundings

Have an aesthetically pleasing, functional, well-lit and fun workspace to make the day a lot more pleasant. Make sure you have up-to-date equipment and a fast broadband connection. Keep things clean and tidy and spruce up your space to make things more enjoyable for your employees and, consequently, your customers.

Be supportive and respectful

Bad management is one of the top reasons employees leave. Respect, support, honesty and clear communication are the foundations of good management but there’s more you can do to be a great manager.

Your employees will remain loyal if you’re a good person to work for, so it’s worth reading some educational books on the topic if you’re new to management.

Offer rewards

Offer employee rewards, such as an incentive programme. Things to consider are a quarterly or monthly bonus, offering to pay for additional qualifications and profit-sharing. This can apply to both teams and individuals. Once people know they will be rewarded for jobs well done, they’ll be more likely to stay to see things through.

Give employees room to grow

If your business is expanding rapidly, giving your employees the chance to grow with the company is hugely motivating. As well as the carrot of more money, there’s also the psychological factor of letting them know they are respected and trusted.

If you open a second location, consider one of your top employees for a management position there. Giving employees the chance to climb the promotion ladder changes their outlook from “it’s just a job” to “this is my career”.

Give positive feedback

Receiving positive feedback is one of the main ways people feel valued in the workplace. It’s the key to job satisfaction. If all the feedback you hand out is negative, staff can quickly become demoralised, and they may not enjoy coming to work.

Handing out positive feedback, even if it relates to something relatively small, makes people feel appreciated and want to work for you.

Offer flexible schedules

Flexibility in the workplace is a modern trend, with the use of coworking spaces growing by an average of 17% worldwide and 12% in London in 2020/21. As well as new clients renting flexible workspaces, existing clients have increased their usage by 19%. Quite simply, people like flexible schedules.

In 2021 alone, four million UK workers have enjoyed flexible hours. Your business needs to cater to this trend to remain competitive and attract the millions of people who no longer want to work 9-5. Research by Microsoft, published in April 2021, revealed 71% of UK workers wanted flexible workspaces to be the future norm.

Provide perks

Workplace perks can make all the difference to employee motivation, such as access to free food in the office. Surveys have revealed this can significantly increase employee satisfaction, as 60% of staff rank meals and snacks as one of the top three workplace perks. When an employer takes care of employees’ basic needs, such as food, this gives the impression they care about you as a person.

A simple way to find out how to motivate employees is to sit them down in an informal meeting and actually ask them what they want, instead of guessing. More than 70% of UK workers said they would be happier if their employers put more effort into motivating them. Finding out exactly what they want and need could be the best way forward for your company and your workforce.

 

© Tartila / Shutterstock.com

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