In the increasingly competitive business environment that exists today, it can be challenging for organizational leaders to retain a workforce that can sustain competitive, high quality services. But, when employees are motivated by their organization’s underlying mission and company culture rather than merely its potential for success, they will work to achieve more than just a paycheck. In my years of managing nonprofit professionals, I’ve found that money is a short-term incentive for excellent work. Instead, when an organization makes an effort to inspire and motivate its employees, it will sustain a strong, committed and effective workforce.
Here are four simple tips an organization can implement to motivate their team and create a workplace that employees find hard to leave.
Acknowledge the hard work and achievements of your associates.
In the hustle and bustle of day-to-day operations, organizational leaders may forget to take the time to thank their employees for their hard work or initiative, but individuals thrive in a workplace where they know their efforts and contributions are valued. Employees have an insatiable appetite for affirmation and when managers effectively communicate gratitude, they’re more likely to achieve better results from their staff. Further, if recognition is deserved but not given, employees will gradually channel their efforts somewhere else. It is however, important to note that unearned praise hinders an employee from knowing where they need to improve, so be mindful about what you convey.
Trust and empower your team.
The most effective way to foster a committed and effective workforce is to entrust employees with responsibility. Employees can tell when their managers don’t trust them to complete a task successfully, and it will show in the quality of work they produce. Many organizational leaders lack the self-awareness needed to understand how certain actions can communicate distrust in employees. Sometimes well-intentioned efforts, such as providing support or periodic check-ins, may convey to employees that they are not trusted to complete projects independently. In other cases, the hierarchical structure of a company can consequently make employees feel as though they are not trusted with resources and information. With these pitfalls in mind, it is the responsibility of management to communicate trust in their employees in consistent and thoughtful ways. One way to cede responsibility is to allow your team to have a voice in choosing and developing their projects. Managers need to entrust employees with more responsibility, and not undermine it later. Another way to instill trust is to be transparent with information, and show employees that you trust them with the truth, even in difficult circumstances. By investing time in communicating trust to employees, a workplace will become a more motivating, innovative and efficient environment.
Foster a culture of honest dialogue in the workplace.
By encouraging the open exchange of information and ideas between employees and management, leadership will receive invaluable insight about the organization. Not only that, but healthy work place communication, where individuals are encouraged to share their ideas or concerns, helps employees stay positive and motivated. Fostering a workplace culture of honest dialogue takes commitment and intentional effort. Organizational leaders must take the time to keep employees informed about the organization so that every member feels as though they are an active participant. In addition, management should institute an open-door policy. Whether this means addressing concerns, frustrations or a simple question, make sure your employees know you are open to conversation and they should not fear repercussion or discomfort. During open conversations, management must actively listento those who come to see them, and provide an honest response in return. A workplace culture of open dialogue will fortify feelings of value, and such feelings will lead to an employee’s greater sense of ownership in their work and ultimately, the organization’s success.
Lead by example.
It’s impossible to expect your team to be motivated and excited if you don’t display those same qualities yourself. As a leader, you set the tone for your team, and choosing to communicate, connect and bring your full presence to those you lead will inspire employees to be engaged as well. Share your excitement about your organization with your team and let them know you are passionate about its success. Do not criticize your organization in front of your team, because employees will be influenced by the negative sentiments you project. Instead, cast a positive perception of the organization by emphasizing the success and progress it has made with the help of a committed workforce. Another important aspect of inspiring employees is communicating the mission of the organization and your vision for its future. When your team clearly understands the bigger picture, they will work to achieve more than a paycheck, they will be devoted to actualizing your organization’s mission.
Implementing these easy tips to keep your employees happy and engaged will prove beneficial in the long run. As an organizational leader, your own success is dependent on the success of those you develop, and working to enrich employee motivation will be a worthwhile investment because when your team feels comfortable, valued and heard, they will be highly committed to your organization’s goals.