With the sunshine of summer now faded to little more than a distant memory, and the cold winter winds beginning to whip up, motivation can become a problem in the workplace. So how can you keep employee motivation high despite shortening evenings and tumbling temperatures?
Actually, with just a few simple strategies, productivity and employee engagement can be maintained to the high level expected and indeed needed. Of course, motivation is engagement; or the art of keeping employees interested in the work they do so that other key aspects like productivity, creativity and innovation are retained.
The challenge for HR Departments is to find a way to motivate employees who may otherwise be finding it hard to stay upbeat and positive. But we have 5 simple strategies that can help to make this task not only simpler, but much more likely to be achieved.
- Establish Purpose
Employees need to know their work has a purpose, whether the sun is shining or not. So a key strategy to maintain employee motivation is to ensure they understand their role and how significant it is. According to research by Gallup, employees who are involved in goal-setting, rather than simply being told what to do, are 3.6 times more likely to be engaged. Other surveys have revealed that 55% of employees would be more motivated if they believed they were doing meaningful work. So:
- establish exactly what is expected of the employee
- help them visualize success in their role
- highlight their contribution’s significance
Everyone likes to know they have done well, and by making a point to celebrate individual successes – regardless how small or large they are – employees get the best kind of feedback possible. Of course, sealing a major deal is all well and good, but few employees will actually be involved in every stage, so setting mini-milestones helps to ensure each small step forward different team members may be involved in is recognised and acknowledged. The milestones may be set to different criteria, depending on the project itself: for example, it could be weekly, fortnightly or monthly. Where progress is slow or even absent, spend time with the team discussing reasons and how to overcome whatever is blocking their progress. You may also need to re-assess the set goals.
When it comes to maintaining employee motivation, positive feedback is very important but it’s equally important that praise is not seen as paying lip-service to the concept of encouragement. Telling someone their presentation was ‘great’ is nice, but does it really matter?
Feedback should go further than just a pat on the back. Telling them that it ‘really delivers a clear message that our clients are going to appreciate’ is better. Or even ‘I think your explanation is going to boost customer loyalty really well’. That way, employees know they are having an impact on the overall company’s overall goals. Of course, constructive criticism is important too, but never shy from mentioning the positives.
The idea behind employee empowerment is that staff members are encouraged to take the initiative in certain situations, especially problem solving. It’s about trust, showing employees that you know they have the skills and knowledge to come up with solution, and that you value their input. According to Deloitte’s Talent Report 2020, some 42% of respondents confirmed they were seeking a new position because their current role didn’t make good use of their skills and abilities.
Lastly, and arguably the most important, is that managers deliver on their promises. There is nothing so damaging to employee motivation than the realisation that management cannot be trusted. So, it’s imperative that the promises made are promises delivered. Reneging on a promise is recognised as a violation on Psychological Contract, something which research shows has a definite impact on job satisfaction and employee loyalty.
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