“Motivation is the art of getting people to do what you want them to do because they want to do it.” - Dwight D. Eisenhower
Although Dwight Eisenhower didn’t work in the business sector (he was an army general) his leadership principles are still followed closely today even in the oval office. Motivated employees are a key player in business success. Motivated employees perform, they perform above and beyond what’s expected of them. If your employees are unmotivated and doing a crappy job, your business is going to fall apart.
This isn’t just to do with customer service or brick and mortar companies either. We’re talking about motivation through all levels of your business. Your team suffers, you suffer and your overall business suffers, and the responsibility lies with you the business owner and management team. Don’t get me wrong though, you’re not 100% responsible for always motivating and encouraging your team to optimally perform. If you’re your employee's source of motivation you’re in huge trouble.
If you don’t engage your employees, they’re going to become bored and start tuning out when they do their job. Your business stops growing when your employees close off and stop learning.
So how do you motivate your employees?
Hire Already Motivated Individuals
You want your team members to be intrinsically motivated from the get-go.
Hire people with high self-efficacy, the belief that you’re competent in different situations. When you are doing your hires, don’t just focus on the skills and abilities that are demonstrated through their resume or interview. Take a closer look at their personality and personal qualities, especially if there have innate motivation. For example, they have long-term goals, career goals, and professional development goals. Look out for candidates that demonstrate the ability to grow with your business, not just to deliver expected outcomes in the specific position you are hiring for. The last thing you want to do is hire a team of satisfactory performers because there’s nothing for your staff to grow into. Sooner or later they’re going to get bored and start slipping, then it’s up to you to constantly try and motivate them extrinsically.
Identify the factors that your employees are currently engaged in. What drives them to be successful. Not everyone is the same so pay close attention to this.
Here are a few examples of what we look for at Ghostit.
- Rewards e.g. money, gifts, recognition
- Team collaboration e.g. games, projects, contest, competition
- Fun e.g. Team outings, parties, etc.
- Career advancement e.g. professional development opportunities, speakers, conferences.
There can be more than one as well.
What your team is into is entirely dependent on the culture happening inside your business, and the culture of the environment you’re in (for example China versus the U.S.A).
For example, having a potluck party in the middle of the week might work for some business environments such as a collaborative informal tech startup, but might be completely inappropriate at motivating your employees in other environments like a fast pace government office.
The problem that business owners face when trying to understand their work culture and identifying motivators is that you can’t see what drives your business. You can’t see what people need, and sometimes you can’t see the attitudes that are in your company.
There is no obvious tangible way to know from looking at what is driving your business culture.
However, what you can see are actions and behaviours, and you see the behaviors of your employees everyday. It’s up to management to be able to tease out the behaviors displayed by their employees to understand the underlying needs, and drives.
For example, if your star player is suddenly slacking at work, late for appointments, and just overall showing a decrease in performance, it’s up to you to tease apart these behaviors to determine what’s lacking and why they are happening.
Pay attention to the work dynamic, the relationships between your employees, or even the load of work you’ve provided. Are you ensuring that there’s room for growth or is the job you’ve provided becoming repetitive and dull? These should all be taken into account before you let someone go. Ultimately, it will cost you more to retrain an entirely new person to get to the level your star player was at, than to put in some effort to re-motivate your staff.
Remember team is everything, often times the market leaders are the ones with decent products and phenomenal teams. Because an amazing team can make a decent product into a world class one.
Do you have these strategies in play in your business? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org or sign up for our newsletters below for more key insights.