Easy Ways To Motivate Your Employees
“It’s Monday.” “It’s raining.” “It’s my birthday.” In an office environment it doesn’t always take much to bring down employee morale, and once morale is down you can be sure that productivity is right behind it. One employee with a case of “meh” can quickly turn into ten. Attitudes are funny that way. A recent study by Psychology Today revealed that good pay and benefits, while important, are not at the top of the list for motivating your employees. The most important motivating factors are peer motivation (20%), and feeling encouraged and recognized (14%). So the next time you are faced with a work environment that looks as though it could have been lifted directly from the pages of Bartleby, the Scrivener, try one of these proven motivating tactics:
No, I don’t mean that you should start asking employees about their private matters. That would be weird. And creepy. What I do mean is that remembering an employee’s name and a little fact or two about them can go a long way towards making them feel special and recognized. Has Jane only been with the company for three weeks? Then ask Jane how she is settling in. Find out if she has any questions about anything and remind Jane that your door is always open? Did you recently sign an office sympathy card for Matt, whose mother just passed? Then ask Matt how he and his family are doing. These efforts cost literally nothing more than a minute or two out of your day and make your employees feel recognized.
Yes, it’s just what it sounds like. Depending on your budget, pick one day out of the week or one day out of the month and provide breakfast or lunch for your employees. Everybody likes food and everybody needs to eat. Ordering pizzas or providing a taco or even an omelette bar makes your employees feel appreciated and also allows them to relax. Since the food has been brought to them and they don’t have to go forage, their lunch break feels longer and gives them an opportunity to rest and bond with their coworkers. This is a lot nicer than shoveling a molten Hot Pocket into their mouth and returning to work with a burnt tongue and a somewhat disgruntled disposition.
Puppies are the answer to all of life’s problems. Sad? Puppies. Lonely? Puppies. Hungry… okay, maybe not all of life’s problems. Many local SPCA’s and shelters allow their staff and/or volunteers to bring adoptable dogs or cats to your place of work. They are supervised within a space that you designate and your employees get to spend their breaks or their lunch (or both) petting and holding these sweet, furry bundles. The benefits of this type of incentive are two-fold. Not only do your employees get to have some fun and reduce their stress levels, but you seem like the best boss ever. The social interaction also does worlds of good for shelter animals, who now have a better chance at being adopted thanks to either the increased socialization or maybe even because one of your employees bonded with a certain breed type. There are only positives for everyone involved.
AND THE WINNER IS…
Contests and raffles are fun and easy, so why not consider holding one in the office periodically? Consider prizes such as kitchenware or gift cards to restaurants or department stores, something that anyone could use. Then decide on what your employees need to do to earn tickets. It should be something that increases productivity but isn’t discouragingly difficult. I once worked in a call center that was wildly short staffed. To combat this each employee got one raffle ticket for each half hour of overtime that they worked. It was easy to earn tickets, and you were only adding to your paycheck, and you looked forward to Fridays because you might win a prize!
SAVE YOUR MONEY
How are Fridays in your office? A little slow? Non-productive? Instead of retaining your employees until 5:00 and having them struggle to find something to do, let them leave. Most people will appreciate a few extra hours on Friday that allow them to catch up on errands, make their kid’s football game, or simply avoid rush hour traffic. The flip side of this incentive is that you save money on payroll. Your bottom lines improves, your employees are happy. It’s definitely a win/win.
Studies have shown that happy employees are productive employees. Morale boosts productivity by an average of 12% and in some cases as much as 20%. These are just some suggestions on ways you can motivate your employees to put in that bit of extra effort, or rally your troops when they are having a particularly hard time. This list is by no means exhaustive. You know your employees best. Take some time and think of things that might reduce their stress and improve their morale. Implement them, and watch productivity soar.