Four ways to ensure your staff stay motivated

Lucy Abrahams explores four ways in which business owners can ensure their employees stay motivated and remain that way for the rest of the year.

When the gifts have all been given and the New Year celebrations are over we start to feel the pinch. Life becomes all about work and not a lot else.

January is notoriously one of the worst months of the year in terms of depression, think of it as a month of Mondays! It is because of this, that it is important we all have something to look forward to for the rest of the year.

Trying to work out how to get the most out of your staff throughout the year has to be planned in advance. Right from the off, the best thing to do is to make sure that everyone has something to keep them motivated. Putting together a simple plan, before the end of the year, to provide you and your workforce with an idea of what is to come over the course of the next 12 months.

Why not consider booking in a few days of fun and bonding to help keep your staff in high spirits. They will have something to look forward to, and to talk about before and after the event.

A team building day could be something that involves a physical activity, where staff have to work together to achieve a common goal, however this doesn’t have to mean crystal maze or obstacle course type challenges. Some other ideas include golf days, cookery, Segway and off-roading, perfect for the team that likes to get physically involved.

See also: Top tips for staff motivation in a small business

Alternatively, for those that aren’t a fan of physical activities, a sports hospitality package could be a better option. A day at the races, an afternoon of rugby or a VIP hospitality experience at Wimbledon would really mean that you were pulling out the stops to wow your staff.

Team building is not only a great way to bring the office closer, allowing employees to get to know each other in a non-professional setting, it will ensure that they feel valued and their efforts are not going unnoticed. In return they are likely to work harder for you, and remain focused in the office.

Clear objectives and targets

Whatever your industry or specialist field, it is important that clear objectives are put into place to help you achieve your goals.

A business simply can’t expect be successful if there is no direction. An easy way to do this is to plan, step by step. For example, if your goal is to sell a specific number of products by the end of the year then you could break this down into quarterly objectives to make targets seem more achievable and the end goal easy to understand.

When the targets are achieved at your scheduled intervals, the staff become motivated and ready to face the next quarter. When the individual targets haven’t been achieved work at putting a plan in place so the next one is, this way your employees don’t see the end goal as an impossible stretch and can focus on reaching the next quarterly target with a new plan of action.

Company-wide targets can be great on a team level for a motivated team but setting realistic targets for individuals can also be great tool to aid motivation, particularly if the end goal for achieving these targets is an advancement in their career. These targets should remain personal to the individual team members, they also should be made aware of the steps needed to achieve these targets and offered any training required.

Incentives to keep staff motivated

Incentives are a great way to motivate anyone, from children being offered sweets to clean their bedrooms to the offer of a drink in return for a favour from a friend. The same ideology applies in an office setting, incentivising your employees to work their hardest will benefit you and them in the long run. There are a few ways to do this.

Firstly, bonus schemes. Bonus schemes may sound like an expensive venture, particularly for smaller businesses, however if there are targets and stipulations put in place a bonus scheme can keep staff properly motivated whilst benefiting a business.

One way of doing this is by rewarding individuals for hitting their targets. This can inspire them to keep working harder and rewarding you with their best work. If your staff are consistently generating more business for your company, then you benefit from the added income and the staff benefit from the bonus rewarded.

This method of motivation provides all parties with a win, win situation and promotes active growth in your business. You could also introduce a companywide bonus scheme. This method of incentive not only inspires employees to work hard but to also help employees complete outstanding work to ensure targets are met. This ensures that the same people are not being rewarded every month while others begin to resent the company. It also inspires those that don’t hit targets to try harder to secure the bonus for not only themselves but also their peers.

Secondly, an employee of the month initiative. It might sound a little cliché, but an employee of the month scheme could also work well, particularly where setting targets won’t work. Some of your members of staff are there to ensure that your company is running smoothly, rather than directly contributing to the growth. It is important that these individuals are not overlooked when it comes to rewarding dedication.

Employee of the month

An employee of the month scheme can include every member of staff. A winner should be publicly rewarded in a company newsletter or staff meeting with the official status of, ‘employee of the month’, and be gifted in some way for their efforts.

Businesses should always be looking for ways to improve and staff job satisfaction is no exception.

Instead of telling employees how they can improve their work and what targets they have to hit, ask for their input, allow them to suggest ways they can improve their performance, ask about their business aspirations and goals, offering solutions and options to help them reach them, giving feedback along the way. This can make them feel as if they are being cared for on an individual level.

This can also work the other way, ask your employees for input on how the company/ office can be improved. Ask for suggestions monthly and show you are listening to the demands of the staff by implementing some them. Of course, pleads for a pool table may be out of the question but extra training sessions, a water cooler and possibly Friday lunches are not a great stretch and could boost staff morale in the long run.

Lucy Abrahams is operations director at VIP Event Butler

Further reading on employee motivation

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