Maximizing employee engagement and productivity has direct impacts on bottom line profitability, so motivating employees is a primary concern for business leaders. Effective managers keep their staff on-point by reward their achievements with competitive wages, but there are more ways to motivate employees than just traditional cash incentives.
Understanding what motivates staffers to excel at their jobs gives business leaders the tools they need to maximize efficiency, productivity and employee satisfaction. And it isn’t always money. While each leader maintains his or her unique style, many successful managers use some of the same strategies to stimulate peak performance among employees. In addition to traditional incentives, effective leaders gain respect and confidence from their staff members, using these proven approaches.
Ambiguity undermines efficiency and high productivity, so competent management takes great care to spread organizational messages and job responsibilities clearly. But perhaps more important than issuing clear directives, is a leader’s ability to listen to feedback and other employee concerns.
Employee’s like to be heard; especially when they have ideas for improving systems and processes on the job. In many cases, tuning-in to employees’ problems and concerns creates a win-win situation, in which employees benefit from better workflow and employers gain higher levels of productivity. On the other hand, failing to recognize and respect employee contributions has the opposite impact, prompting them to “put in their time” rather than moving corporate objectives forward with innovation and creativity.
Provide Benefits Employees Need
Employers that are sensitive to each staffer’s need for a reasonable work/life balance are among the most effective motivators. While competitive wages remain a primary consideration for employees, additional benefits are measured according to how they impact the balance between work and home life. Remote delivery options or telecommuting, for example, allow greater flexibility for employees whose presence at the workplace is not imperative. By extending such benefits, employers quickly gain favor with busy professionals juggling responsibilities outside the workplace, motivating them to excel at their jobs.
Reward Trumps Punishment
It has been shown again and again that positive reinforcement for success has a more lasting impact on performance than punishment calling staffers out for failure. Whenever possible, reward the outstanding efforts of employees, rather than micro-managing their behavior. In its simplest form, words of praise and encouragement serve as recognition of a job well-done. In more elaborate scenarios, employees’ performance is tied to specific goals, which carry built-in rewards as they are accomplished satisfactorily. In either case, staffers find motivation in their rewards.
Lead By Example
Integrity among managers and executives stimulates employees to perform at high levels. Plainly, people like to work for those they respect, so maintaining high personal standards is a strong motivational force used by effective leaders. On the other hand, leaders adhering to double-standards of conduct and performance quickly erode the culture of an organization. Employees struggling with ethical questions about their employers are hard-pressed to perform at peak levels, so effective leadership gives staffers strong role-models to emulate on the job.
Create Opportunities for Staff to Shine
Contrary to what some managers believe; employees thrive on high levels of responsibility. Rather than buckling under the pressure of too much work, employees typically rise to the challenge when important tasks and projects are delegated their way. Once an employee’s commitment to accomplish work duties is fully aligned with an organization’s objectives, his or her internal motivation is enough to carry tasks to completion. Limiting responsibility and under-delegating important jobs, on the other hand, can have the opposite effect, slowing productivity and efficiency.
Incentives vary across industries, so each business leader has his or her own bag of motivational tricks. While cash and benefits furnish traditional rewards, today’s managers use other carrots to motivate employees. Respect and communication, for example, lay the groundwork for high productivity, which also leans on motivation from high organizational standards and positive reinforcement.