Each day, managers walk a fine line between encouraging their co-workers to work harder and frustrating them with their incessant demands and regulations. No two workers are the same, so there isn’t a single fixed method of motivating them that works for everyone, which can cause  difficulties. Consequently, moral gets low, productivity grinds to a halt and positive revenue figures are nowhere in sight. However, there are ways to improve your employees’ level of motivation. Take a look at these five examples below:

1. Treat them as individuals

In order to have a fully motivated team, you need to start with each individual member first – what may work for some won’t work so well for others. This is because your average group of people is primarily composed out of individuals, each with their own set of skills, varying mindsets and differing personalities. Hence, they will react rather differently to your efforts and you need to find out what exactly suits each one of them. Some are perhaps more competitive than others and would enjoy some form of recognition for their efforts on your part. Others may be more goal-oriented, and as such, aim for specific benefits like a raise or advancement. Therefore, put in the added effort and get to know all of them personally, as this is the best way to uncover their intrinsic motivations as well as the force that drives each of them to excel. Use this newfound insight to tap straight into their psyche and press all the right buttons to keep them motivated day in and day out.

2. Provide them with enough space

Don’t be a control freak and give your employees enough breathing room to properly execute their jobs. Nobody enjoys having superiors sit on their heads all day long, bossing them around and not giving them a say in how to manage their own workflow. Likewise, your job isn’t to micro-manage them like chess pieces, but to create a positive and stress-free working environment. This is why you should treat your employees more as adults and let them organize their own schedules, which will enable them to flourish both creatively and productively inside the office. Cut out all of the unnecessary bureaucracy in-between which slows the whole working process down, and allow your best creative minds to participate in the decision making process as well. Don’t squelch their enthusiasm and initiative, but encourage them to share their fresh ideas and listen to what they have to say. With great power comes great responsibility, so make sure you get the right type of people during your recruitment process, as you cannot really change, or ‘mould’, someone’s personality afterwards.

3. Give credit when credit is due

Give your employees an occasional pat on the back. There’s nothing worse than failing to acknowledge someone’s efforts, or taking the credit for the same. Don’t just yell at them all the time, and give them a well-earned break instead. Employees who are constantly under pressure quickly burn out and thus lose all of their motivation in the process. Counter-balance this problem by giving out small rewards to your employees every once in a while to show them that you do appreciate all of the hard work they’re putting into your business. Take them out for dinner, reward them with a cool universal gift card, or simply give them a certificate of achievement to place on their desks. Remember to think about what that particular employee would like the most and don’t fall into the trap of giving out generic awards, as that will make you look insincere.

4. Be transparent with them

One of the biggest mistakes employers make is keeping their employees completely out of the loop. This, of course, creates a sense of distrust between the two parties, which in turn causes the workers’ motivation to plummet considerably. Proper communication channels need to be established in the form of honest employer feedback and result sharing in order not to keep them in the dark. Staff meetings and detailed reports should not be the medium through which this information is conveyed – this also creates a rift between the two sides instead of bringing them closer together. Instead, make sure that your employees are aware of the extent of each other’s responsibilities and tasks at all times, so that they know who to ask for guidance and help if the need arises. Likewise, segments of their work should not be kept as a state secret, but should be talked about openly with others. This way you’ll encourage them to cooperate more with one another and find new ways of improving each other’s workflows.

5. Show, don’t tell

Some of your employees might be lacking motivation because they simply don’t see the bigger picture at play here. Talking to them about the importance of their job and the impact it has on the world will probably be seen as just another corporate trick to make them work harder and thus fall on deaf ears. The remedy to this is to show them the fruits of their labour instead. For example, there was a social experiment conducted in 2007 at the University of Michigan, where a group of call centre workers were met with students of that university. The primary task of these workers was to fundraise for the university’s scholarship program by calling various donors over the phone. Naturally, it was an unpleasant job often met with hostility on the other end, and the pay was poor. However, after a brief contact with the students who have received the said scholarship, they found new meaning to their work and almost tripled the amount of weekly donations they received as a result.

In conclusion, to motivate your workers you need to create a positive environment for them to reach their full potential. You do this by treating them with respect, civility, by being transparent, and by adding some meaning to their work.

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