We talked about how employees can keep themselves motivated at work now its time to talk about the other side of things. Employers helping to keep their employees motivated. Why is this a concern? Motivated workers are busy bees spreading productiveness where ever they may go while unmotivated workers tend to pull those around them down into the same lethargic slump. Keep your workers pepped up and ready to go!
Now there are some conventional ways of motivating employees and some not so conventional ways. Personally I think both are great but it seems to be the unconventional ones that have the greatest impact on employees, and also come with the added bonus of not really costing all that much to implement. Alot of the unconventional ways simply boil down to letting your employee know that they matter and giving them a chance to show a bit of creativity while having fun. So I’ve mixed in the two kinds below to give everybody a healthy selection to choose from when putting together your Gameplan of Motivation. Don’t be afraid to go wild!
- Have the work end sooner: Fridays, how many times have you just stared at the clock on Friday counting down to when you can get out of the office and start your weekend? Your employees are statistically less productive on Fridays because of this. So why not make a half day with a full day option. It will motivate employees to stay super focused for that first half of the day so that they can get done and get out of there, instead of them dragging their feet the whole day. Let them know that while you do want them there for some of it that you do value what they do and recognize that they have earned a break. It doesn’t even have to be every Friday that you do this, have it be a bi-monthly thing.
- Dress Up Silly Days: You don’t need a reason to be silly! Have regular employee enjoyment days with themes like twins day, college sports, hippie, roaring 20’s, favorite celebrity, etc. Regularly give your employees a chance to break up the norm of the office that can sometimes become a real drag.
- Games in the break room: When an employee is on break they want to disconnect from the part of their brain that is working and have a little fun so that they can feel relaxed and get back to it at full steam. Help them out by putting a game table in the break room or setting up a gaming console in a lounge area. Give them a place where they can let loose for a little bit, blow off some steam, and come back to the tasks focused and ready to go. My suggestions are always to go with one of the big three if you go with a game table: Foosball, ping-pong, or pool.
- Monthly laugh party: At your monthly meeting have time for jokes. Let people submit them for a representative to pick from and read or give employees the chance to go up there and deliver it themselves. Hire a local comedian to come into the office and put on a show. Laughter is a great medicine and if your employees are happy then they are productive! Science shows that laughter has all kinds of great benefits and one of those is increasing blood to the brain, more blood more thinking power. More thinking power = more productivity!
- Fun Work Outfits: If a department in your company is doing really well on a project or on a goal then let them celebrate. Maybe your IT department are making your company’s networks crazy fast, give them race car jumpsuits. Maybe your sales team is bringing in mad numbers, let them dress up as mad scientists. Marketing team dream up some crazy ads, then its time to dress like a famous artist!
- Office Contests: Put on contests for your employees. Have a decorate off for their desk space, hold a day of departments where everyone competes for an office cup, or simply make a game out of trying to hit the goals or stats you need to for your team.
- Bring your kids to work: Now this is kind of a two in one thing. Letting parents bring in their kids to show off helps change the environment of work for a day to help break up what can otherwise become a monotonous experience. Which is always a good thing. Another part to this though is letting those with newborns or babies regularly bring in their children to work. That way you don’t lose a valuable worker to a long absence while still maintaining both productivity and a chance for the parent and child to bond.
- Celebrate Holidays: With parties of course! Mardi Gras, Christmas, Halloween, Saint Patrick’s Day. There is just an almost endless list of holidays you can choose to celebrate in your office. Bring in food and drinks, let your employees decorate the office and dress up. Put on some music and just let everyone mingle. For some added productivity have it be at the end of the day as everyone will work extra hard to make sure everything is done quickly and efficiently so that they can make the party.
- Empower your employees: Don’t micro manage your employees. Know when to step back and let them take responsibility, let them spear head a campaign or project. Encourage their ideas and their initiative.
- Listen: Mostly your employees just want to know that what they do really matters, take the time to listen to any concerns or ideas they might have. Active listening here is very important.
- Employee Development & Training: Show you care through helping the employees improve themselves towards whatever career goals they may have. Encourage them to try new skills and become cross trained.
- Team Building: You want to know that your team has your back when you are tackling a big project together. A lack of trust can cause all sorts of issues the least of which being a dysfunctional and unproductive team. Set aside time with outings or activities that let your team bond.
- Celebrate Success: Easiest way to show your team, employee, or department that you recognize their handwork? Food! People love food and dessert, it brings people together and makes them happy. Kill two birds with one stone by throwing a little celebration for a job well done. Everyone’s morale will be lifted and your workers will bond.
- Open two way communication: Don’t let the only news your employees get be through the grape vine or through the media AFTER something has already happen. This leads to feelings of mistrust, that they don’t matter, or worse that they are on a sinking ship. Keep communications open! Talk to your employees about what is going on in the company and open a dialogue with them.
- Be your employees advocate: Let them know you are on their side. Sometimes when a situation happens and a manager has to step in it seems like all the good that employee has done is forgotten and thrown out the window. Remember they are people to and do make mistakes.
We all want to feel like the people in charge care about us as people. When it doesn’t feel that way we can easily start not caring about the work we do. To keep workers motivated you have to first remember that they are people, individuals. Not everything listed will work for everybody. But a healthy mixing of the two styles will make sure that all of your employees are taken care of.