3 top tips for motivating your employees

A lack of motivation amongst employees can be toxic to any business – the last thing an employer wants is for their workforce to become infected with feelings of complacency, boredom or unrecognition. As an employer, your employees are arguably your most valuable assets – representatives of your company, trusted with your greatest ideas, relied on every single working day – you need them to be top of their game. Motivation can be absolutely key to encouraging the best out of your staff, and can provide you with a great return in terms of productivity and employee morale. So, here are our 3 top tips for keeping motivational levels high.

1) Provide the right tools for success

Employees who feel confident in their knowledge and ability to complete tasks successfully are much more likely to feel job satisfaction. Thorough training procedures and regular appraisals can help to ensure that employees feel comfortable with their level of knowledge, and identify opportunities for further development. Listening to your employees is imperative. During appraisal procedures, ask your employees if they would like any additional training. An employee who feels as though they have gaps in their knowledge is much more likely to suffer from a lack of confidence, which can significantly affect their performance. Whilst, unfortunately, effective training does take time, it’s definitely worth the investment if it results in a more skilled, able and confident workforce.

It’s also worth asking your employees how they would like their career to progress. By establishing an employees’ personal goals, you can gain a greater understanding of what motivates them. This can also help you to support your employees in achieving their aims. Research has shown that there’s a growing number of employees seeking additional training outside of their current workplace in order to advance in their careers. This is something that you as an employer can help with. By offering a salary sacrifice workplace training scheme, you can make obtaining further qualifications more affordable for your employees (as the scheme provides tax and NI savings), and also save on National Insurance savings as a company. Employees who feel supported by a company are much more likely to feel a greater loyalty, and you will also benefit from having a higher calibre workforce.

2) Recognise your employees’ achievements

Recognition and appreciation is an essential part of motivating your employees. If an employee feels that their contributions are valued, they’ll feel happier and more incentivised to keep working hard. There are numerous recognition strategies that employers can use, from sending a simple thank you message, to encouraging peer-to-peer recognition and offering gifts and rewards.

What’s great about recognition is that it doesn’t have to be expensive – even the smallest of gestures can make a real difference to an employee’s outlook. A message to say ‘thank you’ or ‘good idea’ or acknowledgement in a meeting costs nothing, but can make an employee feel a sense of pride in their work. If an employee has been putting in extra time, a morning off to say thank you for their hard work can be really appreciated, showing that it has been noticed. If you want to encourage employee participation and inspire creativity, introduce an ideas box for innovative thinking, with a reward for the best ideas – a box of chocolates, a bottle of wine, a free dinner, a gift card – whatever your budget allows.

Rewards can be a great incentive for employees to excel, for example, if an employee knows that they will be given a reward if they exceed a sales target, they are likely to put more effort into achieving it. Other rewards such as ‘employee of the month’ are another good way to create a culture of appreciation, again boosting performance and increasing productivity.

3) Help employees achieve the right work/life balance

As the saying goes, ‘all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’, but the consequences of employees having the wrong work/life balance can be much more severe. With the pressure of the recession, many employees are having to work harder than ever, putting in extra hours to ensure that work gets completed on time. Whilst occasionally working a bit of overtime is unavoidable, it’s important to ensure that this does not become a regular occurrence for any of your employees. Helping employees find the right work/life balance is integral to their general health and wellbeing. According to the Mental Health Foundation, four in every ten employed people experience anxiety about their work. This can develop into a negative association with a company, feelings of discontent, and worse, stress – one of the biggest causes of absenteeism in the workplace.

A problem for many employees is being able to switch off at the end of the working day, and nowadays with technology making people accessible 24/7, it’s become even harder. Not being able to escape thoughts about work can lead to a disproportionate focus. To help your employees get the balance right between work and life, it’s worth encouraging the use of their leisure time in a positive way. For example, providing benefits such as access to discounted gym memberships and cycle-to-work schemes can stimulate interest in other areas. Offering wellbeing benefits can also be a great way to encourage your employees to lead a fit and active lifestyle, which can increase their energy levels, morale and productivity.

Even the smallest gesture to show appreciation of your employees’ commitment can make a real difference to their outlook, and will make your workplace a much more appealing place to be.