With research showing that only 1 in 4 non-management-level US employees feel engaged in their jobs, employee motivation techniques are vitally important to today’s work environment. Of disengaged employees, 69% would quit their current jobs for just a 5% pay raise. It doesn’t take much to win over an unhappy employee.
The single biggest predictor of employee engagement is their relationship with their immediate supervisor – if unhappy, there’s an 80% chance they are disengaged.
If that primary working relationship is broken, no employee motivation techniques will help.
On a lighter note, much can be done to keep employees satisfied and engaged.
Get objective data
The first-priority motivation factor for employees is implementing effective management techniques. Unfortunately, your intuition is not the most effective guide. Many managers favor staff members who are similar to themselves. This can create a highly political atmosphere and a bad feeling in the team as a whole.
This is why it’s necessary to get high-quality data and set objective KPIs for performance evaluations. Overcoming this natural bias will show your team that you are a fair leader.
Give the right feedback
Giving the right wuality feedback will drive employee performance. Studies show that 70% of the time, feedback is done well. But 30% of feedback interventions actually hurt performance. A good 360 review based on solid data has a good chance of improving employee and manager engagement if it improves the staff member’s self-awareness.
This means they are able to realize the effects of their behavior and change from the inside out instead of feeling forced to conform to standards set from outside that may seem arbitrary to them.
The key to increasing self-awareness is feedback. Yet, it is many times avoided in the workplace for fear of demotivation and confrontation. Feedback is crucial to help employees see their blind spots in order to help them perform better in their domain.
Tailor the feedback to the person receiving it
For instance, if the employee is cool and analytical, clearly explaining the situation, with logical supporting evidence may be enough to help the person understand what they can do to improve. If that person is more emotionally-oriented, a softer approach may be more successful.
It requires tact and a good knowledge of your team.
Regardless of the personality, good feedback can generally be given in public – almost everyone enjoys being recognized for their skills – but negative feedback should always be given in private. It’s difficult enough to get onboard without all of one’s coworkers looking on.
This extends to publicly-posted performance metrics as well. A staff member who’s doing well will feel motivated to do even better. But one who is underperforming will probably feel more discouraged than ever. Motivation factors for employees should be set up to inspire everyone, not just the high-performers.
Give your staff the tools and training they need
Some companies have the old-fashioned view of customer service as a low-priority department staffed by entry-level employees. This could hardly be farther from the truth, especially in today’s cutthroat customer-focused economy. Your customer service staff may be the only interaction your customers have with your company, and you want to show your company at its best.
One of the best employee motivation techniques is to give them the best tools for the job and the training to use them well. A good-quality omnichannel software is a great place to start.
Training in soft skills is also important.
Knowing how to work through a conflict resolution or how to de-stress after a difficult customer interaction are also important to maintain an engaged workforce.
Ask your staff what they need
Really taking to time to listen to your employees’ needs and asking for their opinions are important motivation factors for employees. Different teams within an organization might have detailed insights into how to improve certain processes and procedures. By taking time to listen, you might learn that some things need tweaking. And by taking action, you will not improve your staff’s day-to-day, but make them feel valued within the company as well.
Provide opportunities for career advancement
People who are competent and self-motivated, with a passion for excellence, won’t stay in a dead-end job for long. They may enjoy their work, even feel engaged – for a while. Eventually, they’ll feel the need to move up the promotion ladder. If you want to retain the very best, be sure to offer opportunities to grow within your company.
Talk to your brightest stars about their career goals. Perhaps you can work together to design a path that benefits both them and the company.
Have a comfortable, efficient, and welcoming environment
A clean and pleasant working environment is an important employee motivation factor. Your staff should feel good about stepping into the office when their shift starts. Ergonomic furniture pieces, such as standing desks, take care of your staff’s wellbeing so that they can do their best work.
Do what you can to make the work interesting
Dull, tedious, repetitive jobs sap motivation and contribute to employee burnout. Gamification can make the job fun and introduce a spirit of friendly competition among staff members.
If you have different service channels, consider allowing your people to switch between them for a change of pace – for instance, if they need to decompress after a difficult telephone call they can switch to answering emails for a while.
Set up rewards programs
Of course the gold star of rewards is money, but other types of rewards can work just as well for employee motivation techniques. In fact, depending on the person, non-monetary rewards can work even better. Some people respond well to words of appreciation or personalized rewards (such as tickets to see their favorite sports team) that show you care.
Short-term, real-time rewards are just as important as bonuses that are given quarterly, yearly, or even at the end of the month. They help keep the workday fresh and your staff motivated. A well-timed pat on the back, or even just listening to their issues and concerns, can show your staff that you are there for them. One of the best ways to encourage people to care about you and your company is to show that you care about them.