How to Motivate Employees with Opportunity and Encouragement

photo of employees at a table sharing ideas in a team building exercise

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Understanding how to motivate employees is an important part of running a successful business.

As a manager, you’ll need to look at the factors that might improve your work environment. Learning about your staff’s preferences, providing support, recognizing achievements, and allowing for creativity will all go a long way toward employee motivation and success.

Learn What Motivates Employees in Your Industry

It’s impossible to make sure every employee is only doing tasks they love. All jobs require some grunt work. Nonetheless, you can motivate employees by placing them in the right departments.

To start, look for ways to match the task to the employee’s unique skill set. Managers can help their crews flourish by paying attention. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. One employee might have great organizational skills and do an excellent job managing inventory in the back of the house, while another might shine while working directly with customers.

If you notice a staff member struggling, attempt to get to the bottom of the issue. A one-on-one meeting provides you with more information. It will also show the employee they’re valued.

Provide Support to Achieve Goals

A restaurant operator smiling as she shakes a vendor's hand.

Knowing that it’s possible to climb the company ladder is an effective motivator for many employees. Make sure every member of your team understands the specific steps they need to complete to advance.

A vague awareness of possible advancement isn’t enough. The employee needs a set of reasonable, achievable goals they can work on. Supportive management will motivate employees more than a supervisor who doesn’t seem to care.

Offer Employee Recognition

A little positive feedback goes a long way. Not only does it feel good, but it also shows the employee their hard work is paying off.

Recognizing employee contributions is one of the most motivational factors for a team. A manager who rewards employees is likely to notice an improvement in company culture.

There are many ways you could potentially reward an employee for a job well done. If the goal is motivation, you’ll want to offer rewards on a frequent basis. A chance at a raise once a year is great, but the employee may struggle to remain motivated in the meantime.

Consider creating a quarterly or monthly rewards program. You can offer bonuses or other rewards, such as gift cards or prizes. You can even create a video to show your appreciation.

Encourage Employees to Provide Feedback

We’ve already discussed why it’s important to offer positive feedback. It’s equally important to have an open-door policy that allows employees to provide feedback of their own. Feedback will help you better understand and gauge your employees’ commitment.

If this policy isn’t clear, the employee may not feel comfortable bringing up concerns. The ability to communicate honestly with management will improve company culture. Employees will feel valued, which can improve motivation and retention.

People feel motivated when they experience satisfaction resulting from hard work. The feedback will also help management determine how to improve procedures in the workplace.

Use Choice and Autonomy to Motivate Employees

Autonomy is defined as, “the right or condition of self-government.” A manager must manage, which means you can’t simply let your team do whatever they like.

You can, however, provide some level of autonomy and personal choice. There’s research that suggests a link between autonomy and higher levels of workplace satisfaction. A satisfied employee is a motivated employee.

Examples of greater autonomy in the workplace include flexible scheduling and the ability to choose the order in which important tasks are completed.

Allow Each Staff Member to Get Creative

As a manager, you worked your way up the ladder, which means you probably have plenty of experience with the types of tasks your staff does each day.

You may have trained your staff with a specific technique or procedure. There’s nothing wrong with having preferences as a manager, but do your best to keep an open mind. Every team member brings something unique to the table.

As much as you’ve learned over the years, there’s always more to learn. That means you need to remain open to suggestions.

If you notice an employee tackling a project in a different way than they were taught, pay attention. They might discover a new way of doing things.

Aside from general work procedures, also allow for employee creativity and suggestions in other areas. For instance, a team member might suggest a reward idea that would incentivize the majority of the team to work harder.

Practice Team Building

a diverse, high-performing team giving high fives to each other

A respectful relationship between a team member and a manager can be a powerful motivator.

When you think of team building, you might picture some sort of vacation trip or weekend camp where everyone gets together to do trust falls and discuss their feelings. Such events can offer the opportunity for bonding, but they aren’t the only way to strengthen your team.

In reality, team-building exercises can be peppered into the workweek and can be smaller and regular events.

Regardless of how you approach it, the most important factor in team building is respect. Worker surveys have found employees feel respect is the most important aspect of management. Encourage respect between team members by demonstrating respectful behavior yourself.

Likewise, don’t tolerate bullying or other forms of disrespect between staff members. To motivate employees, it’s crucial that everyone on the team feels safe, valued, and heard.

Improve the Reputation of Your Company Culture

Keeping your staff motivated is important, but you’ll also want to focus on attracting motivated new hires. Maintaining an excellent company reputation is crucial. Every staff member plays a role in creating that wonderful reputation.

When people feel happy and valued at work, it shows. Surveys have found that 54 percent of employees don’t feel respected at work. Creating a respectful, comfortable work environment for your staff will do wonders for your reputation.

This positive reputation will attract better talent, and it will also improve your standing in the local community. Most consumers want to shop or dine at establishments that treat their staff members well.

Discovering the Best Labor Management Software

You have a lot to consider as a manager, and TimeForge can help. Our workforce management solutions provide communication tools and mobile apps to keep teams engaged and on the same page.

Moreover, our platform offers all of the conveniences that employees today expect: shift swaps, time off requests, and the ability to check their schedules and timecards online or from their mobile phones.

Please contact us to learn more about how our software can help you more effectively manage and motivate your team.

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