Years of research into Human Resource Management and organisational success has come to one very clear conclusion – engaged and motivated employees are good for business. Happy employees equal greater productivity, increases in customer satisfaction, fewer sick days, less staff turnover, fewer safety incidents, increases in production quality, and most importantly for the executives upstairs, greater profits.
Despite the obvious preference for a highly motivated workforce in any given organisation, businesses still struggle to motivate their staff. A lack of knowledge on how to do it, the absence of any strategies to reward employees, and using outdated motivational techniques that don’t work anymore are all common reasons.
According to Gallup, the US-based performance management consultancy company, only 25% of Australian employees are highly engaged in their work. Given the clear and obvious benefits of a motivated workforce for businesses, managers are failing in their ability to acknowledge and reward staff performance in a way that maximises workplace satisfaction and engagement.
What motivates staff in the modern workplace?
Recent studies suggest that monetary inducements aren’t one of the key motivating factors for employees. If an employee believes they are being paid fairly for the position they have, then financial incentives play no part in increasing their productivity. According to Daniel H. Pink, author of Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, employees want autonomy, adequate training and professional development, and to understand their sense of purpose within the organisation.
The most important goal of managers must be to create conditions in the workplace that encourage employees to be totally engaged and give everything they’ve got. Having common goals that were set through collaboration is a far better way to cultivate autonomous and motivated employees. Empowering them with knowledge and responsibility gives rise to an energised, creative and dedicated workforce. Rewarding their success as they work towards common goals ensures they remain on track and continue to contribute in a meaningful way.
What specifically can managers do to motivate staff?
Being treated with dignity and respect are key factors for employees to stay motivated and on task. Simple actions by people in authority can have an enormous impact on their productivity.
1) Personal and public acknowledgement
Recognition for a job well done, both privately and publicly, is a powerful tool for any manager who wants to motivate their staff. A simple “thank you” can make an employee feel incredibly valued, and reinforcing that gratitude in staff meetings and via newsletters and group emails can take it to the next level.
2) Be interested in your staff
When employees believe their manager really cares about them on a personal level, their attitude and motivational levels will be incredibly high. Help them to reach their career goals by formulating a professional development plan, and offer mentoring and coaching opportunities. Ensure employees get their work-life balance right. Provide flexibility in their schedule so they can take care of family commitments such as dropping off and collecting children from school, and attending doctor’s appointments.
3) Make 'fun' an integral part of the business
It’s vital that employees at businesses of any size get to know each other as real people. Instigating fun activities on a regular basis will increase staff interaction, breaking down any barriers that may have developed within the organisational structure.Set up lunch time or end of working week activities to play games such as cricket, soccer, treasure hunts, charades, and other team bonding games. Or organise an outdoor sports day or other all day event with fun games and prizes on offer. Shirts with fun and unique designs for teams could be used to create an even greater sense of team spirit and create new long-lasting interactions with other colleagues.
4) Instigate a fresh new look
An increasing number of businesses are moving away from traditional workplace attire to a more casual look and feel. Beastwear’s printing technology allows for all-over prints, so the design of your business apparel is limited only by your imagination. Depending on the type of business, you can choose to be conservative or go for something that makes a real statement.
5) Sometimes they just need a nap
Businesses are beginning to think outside the box to help their staff function at peak levels. Employees are humans, and sometimes energy levels can be down for a variety of reasons. One innovative idea many businesses are introducing is nap or sleep rooms where employees can get away and rest for however long they need, before returning to work feeling refreshed and alert.
6) Employee of the month prize packs
Coinciding with public acknowledgement for employees who have done a great job could be the awarding of an ‘Employee of the Month’ prize pack at a designated staff meeting. It could be filled with fruit, sweet treats, movie vouchers, tickets to events, dining experiences and other small gifts that would add value to the prize. To personalise the gift, ask friends or family members what the employee might like and include those in there as well. To add an element of fun to the occasion, Beastwear can produce ‘Employee of the Month’ t-shirts for the winner to wear around the office. Buy in bulk so you have enough to give out throughout the year.
7) Celebrate personal milestones
Connecting with staff on a personal level is one of the best ways to make an employee feel like a valued member of the team. Depending on the size of the business, birthday’s, work and wedding anniversaries, and personal and professional achievements can all be celebrated as a group. Bringing the whole team together to celebrate something important for an individual never gets old.
8) Start a business sports team
The sense of camaraderie people get from being part of a team is invaluable for creating a positive work environment. Forming a team and entering a competition is a great way for colleagues to form a personal bond away from the office. Enter a team in the local indoor cricket or soccer competition, or the Wednesday night netball league, take part in a charity run or bike ride and kit the team out in top quality matching sports apparel. The positive team building flow on effect could be very positive for the business productivity and profits.
What should you do next?
Motivating employees is far from an exact science. Every staff member has different needs and wants, wildly varying personal lives, and individual career goals. As such there is no one cookie-cutter approach to motivating staff that works for everyone. While some employees require little acknowledgement to remain engaged in their work, others require constant reinforcement and rewards to stay on track. The goal for any manager is to discover what each individual employee wants, what makes them tick, and create ways to give them what they need.
The team at Beastwear has been providing a high level of service and quality sports apparel products since 1974, and have a deep understanding of the needs of individuals and organisations. No matter how large or small your order, Beastwear specialises in providing custom items to your specifications.
For more information contact us on 1300 66 88 20, or send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to helping you provide the rewards your staff deserve that will keep them engaged and motivated for the long term.