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How to Motivate Your Staff

Bill Wichert

Building a strong company requires a number of pieces. One of the cornerstones is a team of motivated employees. If your team is engaged and motivated, they will provide better support to your customers and create a more desirable environment for new employees.  This culture reinforces your values and builds the type of company you would want to work for.

Motivation is a skill

Everyone can be motivated to do something, but it takes more than just energy to make a difference in your company. Encourage and reward positive behavior to reinforce the culture you want to create and maintain in your company.  Everyone wants to be seen as a valuable member of the team and as a key asset for your business, so giving them an opportunity to be recognized for their good work is a great way to support employee motivation.  These ideas are not simply check boxes of things to do, but are plans that require a deeper knowledge of what your staff need to be successful.  Different concepts will motivate different people.  The key to being successful is the understand the needs of the employees.  When you have a deep understanding of your staff, you will better be able to design what they need to be motivated.

Team building

A central part of team building is creating opportunities for your employees to interact in a more personal way. If you are a founder or co-founder, you're likely juggling a lot and finding it difficult to spend time with each other. Work becomes routine and there is not much time for fun or personal interactions. Team building activities are great ways to build team unity and the benefits are apparent. When you are constantly having fun together and building your skills and relationships, you will see a difference in the employees.  People want to work in a place where they feel welcome and have friends.  It is your role to make the environment as welcoming as possible and provide great opportunities for your staff be build deeper bonds.

Appreciate your team

Company rewards have a tendency to fade when you’re running a smaller business. Making a conscious effort to ensure your team is appreciated will keep them motivated. The best way to do that is by surprising them. Send them a small gift, bring them lunch, or even something as simple as a handwritten note is a reminder that you are appreciative of them. If you want your team to be enthusiastic about their jobs, you need to show that you appreciate them as individuals. If you are a coach, you should know about every member of your team. These should be personalized and not commodities.  By knowing and understanding each member of your team, you will understand the methods that best motivate each person.

 People want to work in a place where they feel welcome and have friends.

Solving problems

One of the biggest challenges employees face is figuring out what to do. They are working hard, but are stymied because there are times when they don't know what to do next. Some tasks that used to be simple just aren't anymore. It's not surprising. People have become very specialized. This trend has happened over the past several decades. Before the mid-1970s, most people could work on anything. If it didn't require a lot of specialized skills, they could do it. Many of the workarounds we all learned in our early jobs still exist today. We adapt and overcome to survive. A better way to describe the situation would be that we can't operate anymore in the manner in which we were operating before.  To solve this, it is best to provide your staff with two important backstops: solid and well documented business processes and clear understanding of what latitude they have for addressing problems.  The processes will provide everyone with a clear path to deliver services.  They don’t have to guess on what to do or how to do it.  Once that path is clear, you need to provide the latitude, so they know what to do what the issue is not in the documents.  This could be a simple as knowing who to call when there is a problem, but the key is giving everyone the ability to do their job and solve issues without needing to call in reinforcements.

Recognize the good work

Since employees are often the key to achieving a great working environment, you need to provide them with the tools they need to thrive at work. Too often, workers take for granted the amazing benefits of working for a company that is supportive, provides good pay and benefits, and embraces diversity. Recognizing employees’ contributions goes a long way in making them feel appreciated. Your team needs to know that they are a part of something much bigger. There are many occasions when members of the team will need support from the organization in one way or another. Even if they don’t have specific problems, they need to feel like they are part of a team that takes care of each other.  This support is built over time by the many little things you can do to recognize good work.  This is slightly different than the earlier topic of appreciating people.  Appreciation is something that happens independently and personally.  Recognizing someone should be done in a more public way.  It should not be done to hurt people who are less motivated, but should show that everyone benefits when people go out of their way to support each other.  Without this recognition, people never know what other employees are doing or that others have worked really hard to fix issues.  

Conclusion

The concepts listed here are things we have taken to heart within our company.  We are a team that wins and loses together.  This brings us closer together and ensure we all have each other’s back when needed.  Without this critical support, work is just a place to go and collect a check. When the culture is strong and the motivation drives everyone to be better, then the company can deliver on the best quality in every facet of the business. To learn more about our amazing software, go to www.tondone.com.

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