How can you motivate employees?
One of the toughest challenges of managing people is motivating and engaging them. In HR speak this is called the ‘psychological contract’ – it is the unwritten contract that bosses have with their employees which affects the extent to which employees will give discretionary effort beyond what they have to do.
Employees who have had no or a small pay rise and who are doing the work of more than one person as a result of job cuts or a recruitment freeze can feel frustrated and unfulfilled. After years of post-credit crunch hard work with many employees staying in their jobs for security, the issue of motivation has never been more important.
Knowing ways to motivate employees can make all the difference to success, performance and career fulfilment. What employees do reflects directly or indirectly on you as a manager or director. If you want to progress in your career, motivation is a skill you need to learn.
This career guide shares different ways to motivate employees.
What motivates employees?
There are many things apart from money and status that motivate employees. These include:
- Job satisfaction
- Social life through work
- Having a sense of purpose
- Feeling that they are making a difference
- Honouring their values – what is important to them
- Having a role that plays to their strengths
- Working on a project that motivates them
- Being given control and responsibility
- Learning new skills
- Having a clear career path
- Getting feedback for a job well done
- Receiving constructive specific feedback to improve performance
- Getting recognition
- Being given time to support a favourite charity
- Flexible working to enjoy a healthy work life balance
- Being asked for ideas
- Good communication about what is happening and why
- Seeing how their role fits the vision of the department and company
- The carrot of a sabbatical after a few years’ service
- Being appreciated for their uniqueness
- Being thanked
- Small gestures of thoughtfulness
- Showing interest in them as a person not just as an employee/headcount
- Support for them achieving their personal goals as well as work objectives
- Being given a new challenge which will make them more marketable in their career
- Being supported
- Being allowed to learn and make mistakes without being criticized
- Listening to them so they feel heard
- Involving them in decisions
- Fairness within a department