What has motivating employees got to do with effective business management? How do you boost your employees morale? Do you want to learn how to motivate your employees and increase office productivity? Then i advice you read on. It is a well known fact that you can’t build a successful business alone; there must be contributing efforts from your employees and strategic business team.
This therefore, makes it necessary to motivate employees. Now what has motivating employees got to do with transformational leadership? Well, you are going to find out. In an article i wrote titled “10 Business Challenges Entrepreneurs Face.” i stressed the fact that finding good employees is one of the toughest business challenges faced by most entrepreneurs and that’s the truth.
This is the sole reason why HR companies, head hunters and recruiters are having a field day. If you are an entrepreneur and you haven’t gone through the process of hiring, then you are still scratching the surface of business.
“The competition to hire the best will increase in the years ahead. Companies that give extra flexibility to their employees will have the edge in this area.” – Bill Gates
However, finding good employees is not the major challenge. The real challenge is transferring your passion, your entrepreneurial spirit and the fire burning inside you to your employees. Your employees are your business representatives to the customers and outside world.
If your employees are sluggish, your business will be sluggish. But if your employees are fast and smart, your business will move at a fast pace. Now that you are convinced that employee motivation is important to increasing productivity, then let’s move on.
“The most important ‘speed’ issue is often not technical but cultural. It’s convincing everyone that the company’s survival depends on everyone moving as fast as possible.” – Bill Gates
How to Motivate Your Employees
1. Build employee’s confidence and self esteem
“Giving people self confidence is by far the most important thing that I can do because then they will act.” – Jack Welch
One good way to motivate employees and increase productivity in your workplace is to build their confidence and self esteem. You can build employees confidence and self esteem. A good way to achieve this is to make your employees understand how important they are to your business. Let your employees know that without them, your business will not exist. Tell them you chose them amongst all because they were the best.
“Everyone has an invisible sign hanging from their neck saying, ‘make me feel important.’ Never forget this message when working with people.” – Mary Kay Ash
When giving an employee a task, tell that employee that the task was given to him/her because he/she is the most competent. Simply saying such words to your employees will boost their morale and they will go all out to prove that they are what you say they are.
“Regardless of the quality of your staff, you have to keep telling its members how good they are, or can be. You must stress their worth and the value to you of what they do.” – The Mafia Manager
2. Be a good Communicator
The need for good communication flow is the reason British billionaire; Richard Branson keeps his companies small. He believes everybody should know each other and this belief is the reason his companies are successful. Creating a good communication channel within your organization will increase the productivity of your employees and strengthen the bottom line. Research shows that employees need a leader they can talk to; a leader they can see.
As an entrepreneur, you need to be a good communicator. You need to know how to speak in different situations. Your words should have the power to awaken the spirit inside your employees. Your words alone must have the power to increase the productivity of your employees; as emphasized by Charles Schwab, the master motivator.
You must be able to inspire them to be their best. You must be able to spur them to action and most of all; you must be able to turn bad news into good news. Don’t ever let bad news demoralize your employees; instead, use bad news to inspire your employees.
“Strategically, a major function of the CEO is to look for bad news and encourage the organization to respond to it. Employees must be encouraged to share bad news as much as good news.” – Bill Gates
The primary duty of a leader is to inspire his team to achieve great things and you can’t do it without being a good communicator. If you want to be a good business leader and communicator, i will recommend you take a course in public speaking. It will do you a lot of good in the long run.
“Teams should be able to act with the same unity of purpose and focus as a well motivated individual.” – Bill Gates
3. Delegate responsibilities to subordinates
“When people are placed in positions slightly above what they expect, they are apt to excel.” – Richard Branson
Delegating responsibilities is a very good and proven way to motivate your employees. Employees are always excited and challenged when given special responsibilities. One attribute and characteristic of successful entrepreneurs is the ability to strategically delegate responsibilities to subordinates.
“Before you assign a task, know the facts of the situation and the facts about the staffers who will do the work. Make recommendations and give directions in specific terms with recognizable objectives. Give as few orders as possible.” – The Mafia Manager
4. Maintain personal contact with employees and remember their important dates
“To be happy, make other people happy.” – W. Clement
One of the best ways to motivate your employees and increase productivity is to keep personal contact with them. You need to treat your employees as important personalities. You need to make your employees think and act as a family. Showing your employees that you care about their personal affairs is a great way to inspire them.
By simply remembering their birthdays, asking how they spent their weekend, asking after their loved ones and sharing on their good or bad moments, you can bring out the best in them. If possible, get to know their family, loved ones, likes and dislikes. Showing your employees that you care will make them feel responsible for your business and they will go all out to make you happy.
“We treat our people like royalty. If you honor and serve the people who work for you, they will honor and serve you.” – Mary Kay Ash
For instance, i have a habit of surprising my employees. Whenever any of my employees is celebrating the birthday, I will arrive early before that employee and drop a gift on his/her desk wishing him/her happy birthday.
On special days such as Valentine’s Day, Easter or Christmas, I usually arrive earlier than all my employees and drop a gift on everyone’s desk. This usually causes a stir when my employees arrive; you need to see the sparkle in their eyes. Showing your employees love and care will make them care for your business in return but don’t over do it.
“Don’t be too familiar with your followers; it may at first inspire affection but eventually, like all familiarity; it will breed contempt.” – The Mafia Manager
5. Reward Desirable behaviors
Another step to motivating your employees is by showing appreciation for their efforts. When an employee goes all out to please you by discharging his/her duties excellently, you also have to go all out to show that employee that you appreciate his/her effort.
“Everyone wants to be appreciated, so if you appreciate someone; don’t keep it secret.” – Mary Kay Ash
Try to praise the employee in front of other employees. Giving an employee a hug and saying a big thank you is an excellent way to increase the productivity of that employee and encourage that employee to do more. As a side note, you also need to reward certain failures or mistakes made by your employees.
“Reward worthy failure – Experimentation.” – Bill Gates
“Punishing honest mistakes stifles creativity. I want people moving and shaking the earth and they are going to make mistakes.” – Henry Ross Perot
In my company, I have a program called “A day as the boss.” Every month, the best performing staff will get a chance to be the boss for a day. I vacate my office once a month for the best performing employee to be the boss for a day. There is also an allowance given to that staff of mine for being the boss of the day and the more you repeatedly get on that seat, the more privileges and incentives you receive.
This performance evaluation program increases the productivity and creates a kind of competition between my employees. Those who have made it to the boss seat and gotten some of his incentives want to repeat the feat. Those who haven’t been on the seat strive to get there. I think this kind of competition is healthy for my business.
6. Be a good listener
To be an exceptional business or corporate leader, you need to be a good listener. You need to listen attentively before you take any action. You also have to encourage your staff to share their problems with you. You need to make them have confidence in you; they need to see you as a father.
Sometimes, an employee might be emotionally shaken and needs someone to talk to. Always bear in mind that a sad employee might affect your business negatively. So you have to get that employee of yours out of that emotional burden.
You must always listen to your employees with rapt attention, don’t be in a haste to hear them out. Your employees must be encouraged to share either bad news or good news with you and you must be willing to listen very attentively. A good team leader is a leader who listens.
“Sometimes, I think my most important job as a CEO is to listen for bad news. If you don’t act on it, your people will eventually stop bringing bad news to your attention and that is the beginning of the end.” – Bill Gates
7. Take corrective measures
“There will be times when you have to be abrasive, even brutal to members of your staff. Don’t worry that people will say bad things about you because of this; they already have. But in general, try to be pleasant and accommodating. Try to please the greatest number who work for you that you can; antagonize the fewest. Blow smoke.” – The Mafia Manager
As an entrepreneur, you need to take quick corrective measures on both yourself and your employees. You must also encourage your employees to bring their grievances to you instead of murmuring and criticizing you behind.
“Be prepared for betrayal from anyone on your staff, but especially from those you have the most trust in. Every betrayal must be repaid as quickly and as publicly as possible. If you should let a betrayal go unpunished, you are through as a leader.” – The Mafia Manager
Never leave staff conflict unattended to, even if it is a minor complaint about an employee. Sometimes, increasing your employees productivity may require you take corrective steps and disciplinary action that includes firing, sanctioning or suspending an employee. Sometimes in business, you have to let go of bad employees or else, the good ones will leave.
“You must fire bad customers just as you would fire a bad employee. If you do not get rid of your bad employees, the good employees will leave. If I do not fire bad customers, not only will my good customers leave but many of my good employees will leave as well.” – Rich Dad
8. Share wins together with your employees
“If you are really thankful, what do you do? You share.” – W. Clement Stone
The last but not the least way to motivate your employees and increase their productivity is to share your business wins with them. Remember, you can never make certain achievements without the input of your employees. Sharing your wins sometimes means dedicating some of your awards or milestone achievements to them.
When Virgin Atlantic won the libel suit it filed against British Airways, it shared the compensation paid by British Airways with all employees. That’s a good example of sharing wins together with your employees. Another company that has used profit sharing as a strategy to increase productivity is Wal-Mart.
“The profit sharing plan has created significant wealth for many Wal-Mart employees, but more importantly; it makes each employee eager to work hard and come up with innovations to improve the profitability of the company.” – Sam Walton
In conclusion, these are the eight basic steps to motivating your employees and increasing their productivity in the office. Motivating employees is no big deal, all you have to do is come up with something creative and you will see an increase in employee productivity.