It’s not always easy to keep your employees motivated, but their engagement in their work is vital to the success in your company! If you have happy employees who like their job, it is far more likely for you to get their best quality work. Below are five tips to help you make this happen, and don’t worry, it’s easier than you think!
Recognize and Reward
First and foremost, your employees need to know that they are wanted and valued, and the best way to do this is to recognize their good work and reward them for it! There are several ways that you, the employer, can do this. The first part of this strategy is recognition. Your employees need to hear from you when you are proud of the work that they do. This works on many levels. If an employee is unsure about their new idea or finished presentation, personal recognition will help ease their mind. On the other hand, when an employee is really proud of a project that they put a lot of effort into, recognition from their employer will let them know that all of their work was worth it.
Not all rewards have to be compensation based. Many people can be motivated by smaller rewards such as acknowledgement amongst peers or receiving an award- sometimes even a simple compliment will do. However, those small incentives may not be the best for continual engagement, which is what makes bonuses a great option. Specifically, one of the best ways to do this is through merit-based bonuses. With these types of bonuses, you can track your satisfaction with your employees work, and the better their work, the better the reward!
This type of reward is great for employee motivation and retention because it is directly tied to the work that they do. Not only are they excited for the compensation reward, but when they do receive higher merit-bonuses, it boosts their self-esteem. It lets them know that they are on the right path. Through your compensation and performance management program, you can create a reward system to manage all of this information. Being adequately rewarded for the hard work that they put into their job will make your employees feel satisfied in their career.
Another important way to keep your employees engaged is to encourage their own creativity. This can be both directly and indirectly related to the work that you do, and both will have the same great effects.
Again, there are several ways that you can integrate creativity-building activities into your work environment. For example, try challenging your employees to do something slightly out of their comfort-zone. The Forbes article, “37 Ways to Keep Your Employees Motivated From A 37-Year-Old Entrepreneur” cites both “embracing change” and “stirring the pot” as methods of keeping your employees engaged. This could big having two employees who don’t usually work together share a project, or it could be as small as doing a fun team building activity in an office meeting.
Sometimes your employees just need a little brain break! Especially if you have just finished a busy season or a big project, try scheduling in a little creative to create new energy in the office. D!gitalist Magazine suggests activities such as “being outside,” “physical activity,” or just simply “doing something different.” Taking time to refresh and rejuvenate as a work team can do wonders for both engagement and productivity.
In that same Forbes article, the author cites “supporting new ideas” and “keeping an open mind” as another key to employee engagement. Both of these get at another key component of fostering employee creativity, which is allowing your employees to think outside of the box when it comes to their own work or even new possibilities for the company. If an employee knows that their input is valued and listened to, they will feel comfortable to contribute in new and innovative ways.
Now, this point seems like a no-brainer, but it can actually make a big difference in the engagement and motivation of your employees. To put it simply, if they are bored, they aren’t focused on what they are doing. This means they won’t produce their best quality work, and they won’t be as happy in the workplace. These are both obviously bad, so how do you combat boredom? It seems like everybody gets bored sometimes, but there are actually strategies that you can use to make your workplace fun and inviting.
One of the easiest ways to make your office less boring and more engaging is to change the way it looks! It might seem silly, but when a space is visually interesting, it actually helps with brain stimulation. Having colorful walls or live plants will give your employees something to look at while they’re working. If the space isn’t boring, it’s more likely that your employees won’t be bored either!
Another way to combat boredom is to schedule intermediate-work events. These can be 10 minute 2:30 P.M meetings. You know, the time of day where everyone starts nodding off and needing their fourth cup of coffee? Instead of increasing the caffeine intake, try having a crossword puzzle race, or a mini raffle drawing to give your employees a break. If games aren’t your management style, you could use this time for professional development. Try teaching your employees a new skill or practicing an old one. This way, you can take a break from work, but it still benefits productivity in the long run.
Be Open, Honest, and Caring
Employees should not be afraid of their boss. Just like the physical space of your office, the atmosphere should also be warm and inviting. Let’s use an analogy to think about it. Think back to your days in grade school and picture your very favorite teacher that you ever had… now think of your least favorite. Which one of these people got better quality work from you? I’m more than willing to bet that it was your favorite teacher, and it’s not just you that thinks this way. According to this Harvard Business Review article, “The Hard Data on Being a Nice Boss”, employees are far more likely to happy, comfortable, and motivated in their work environment if they like their boss. In fact, “Harvard Business School’s Amy Cuddy and her research partners have also shown that leaders who project warmth – even before establishing their competence – are more effective than those who lead with their toughness and skill. Why? One reason is trust.” Employees that trust their boss are going to produce better work, and science has proven it.
Even if you aren’t the biggest people person, there are a few easy ways to help make your employees more engaged. It’s as simple as having small conversations. Next time you walk past the new sale’s member’s desk, ask them about their weekend or their kids. When someone asks you for your opinion on a project match every piece of constructive criticism with a compliment. Making small gestures like this will let your employees know that you care about them and their happiness in your working environment.
Set Goals and Encourage Growth
I saved this best for last. This strategy is one of the very best you can use in any facet of life, but it is especially successful in the workplace. Goal setting does three major things: keeps your employees focused, provides them with clear expectations, and gives them something to work toward.
Goal setting should be done on at least a yearly basis, but it is even more effective when done quarterly, or even monthly. This is also something that needs to involve both the boss and the employee. Again, at least every year, you should meet with your employees to go over their current progress that they have made at your company, and together you should create a plan to further that progress. If the two of you make and measure goals together, you are both more likely to be invested in the accomplishing of those goals.
This is also a strategy that can be tied to compensation. Just like in my first point “recognize and reward,” merit-based bonuses are a great way to incentivize goal setting, and it gives you a specific part of your employee’s work to measure. It’s easy to incorporate into your compensation management process. Again, using your compensation management software, you can put all of your goals into your compensation database. This will allow you to track all of your information, with both the financials and goals, and help you create a fair compensation plan that allows for individualized input, like goal-setting. There you have it, my five tips for keeping your employees engaged. As you may have noticed, all these strategies seem to intertwine. A lot of the ways that you can foster creativity also decrease boredom, and being caring and helping setting goals corresponds with recognition and rewards. Even if you just implement one of these new engagement strategies into your workplace, you are bound to increase motivation in your employees, resulting in a happy and productive work environment.