For most companies, the largest or second largest expense is payroll. Thus, the most likely way to increase profits is commonly greater employee efficiency. While many owners look to accomplish greater productivity through automation, they often overlook the amazing potential available through motivating both line and staff to merely produce more without sacrificing quality. In fact, better quality is commonly a byproduct of motivation, and employees feel more motivated when they realize that they are producing a better result.
Employees who are clear on the corporate mission, AND who agree with the company’s objectives are going to be far more motivated than those who are merely showing up for a paycheck or those who don’t care about the products or services that the company provides.
If the leadership communicates a compelling vision, hire those who are eager to help accomplish the goals, and then keep those goals uppermost in the company’s statements and actions, you will have passionate workers attempting to help you get the results you seek.
The mission doesn’t have to be as grand as Elon Musk’s goal of colonizing Mars. It can be as simple as providing the very best-in-class product or service, doing so with a smile, and leaving clients with a positive feeling about the employees they interacted with and, ultimately, the company.
Clarity Regarding EXPECTATIONS
Most employees are eager to meet or exceed your expectations. However, many employers fail to give clear expectations, leaving the employee to guess what they might be. Now there is likely to be a disconnect. You want quality, they think you want high numbers regardless of some slip in quality. Nobody is happy.
Expectations work both ways. The employee may be expecting lots of training and retraining, but your management style is to allow employees to figure it out.
The solution, at least in part, is to create clear job descriptions for every position. Next is to communicate your company mission and your expectations during the job interview, the onboarding meetings, and multiple times during the first weeks of employment.
Next, ask every new hire to clarify their own expectations regarding advancement, dealing with emergencies around child-care or elder-care, and of course, increases in compensation.
The fastest way to demotivate employees is the presence of a disruptive personality in the office. Bullies, backstabbers, sexual predators, liars, and other offensive personalities if left to their behaviors can result in other employees losing morale, taking additional sick time, or even leaving the company. When identified, these individuals should be offered an opportunity to reform, but the change must happen quickly to avoid a mutiny.
TOP MOTIVATIONAL TOOLS
A pat on the back is number 1. A major rule in any relationship is "to praise in public, rebuke in private". Receiving praise from the boss in public or private is the number 1 most desired compensation. It is inexpensive to give praise, but for only a few dollars extra, the praise can have a lasting effect. Attach the praise to an on-the-spot bonus, gift, or “trophy.”
CHALLENGING WORK WITH CLEAR PURPOSE
Everyone wants to know that what they do has a purpose. However, not everyone understands how their task contributes to the end result. Sometimes, the work is repetitive and/or tedious, and the result is there’s no challenge.
It is possible to take even assembly line jobs and gamify them. Create goals, objectives, and bonuses around almost any workstation. Can the job be done faster, more attractively, with fewer quality issues, and less scrap? Are there rewards for inventing new approaches to improve speed or quality?
Make sure that everyone knows how their effort supports the entire process. In fact, do your best to show how even the most menial task is critical to the whole. (e.g., A pair of jeans is pretty useless without the zipper tab.)
ESPRIT DE CORPS
While the workplace today is commonly described as collaborative, the workplace has always had that characteristic. For most of us, the workplace provides us with the majority of our social interactions, friends, even spouses. If I’m getting those kinds of benefits on the job, I am going to be much more likely to stay.
How can the company improve the sense of belonging, of being a part of a society, of feeling liked and appreciated by peers? Pretty simple! Make it social. Foster social opportunities for both work-related and just plain social events. Rah, rah meetings work if they aren’t cheesy. Ring a bell for every sale or every sale over a certain amount. Post days since last accident or last significant error. Create group bonus programs.
ADVANCEMENT AND COMPENSATION
Most employees want to have a clear track of how they advance in the company. What is required to move to the next level? What can they do to move into other more exciting or lucrative positions? And how is their compensation determined?
The best approach is to have a company handbook that describes every position in the company along with a pay range. When a new position is opening, give your current employees the first shot at the job.
People are definitely motivated by a better, larger office; employee-of-the-month trophy; top sales plaque; uniforms; company hats; product prizes for making goals, and other kinds of bribes and competitions.
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