Keeping employees motivated is one of the most important thing managers and leadership teams can do for their business. Motivated employees not only contribute more to the company in the way they work, but they also come up with innovative new ideas, inspire others and provide many other important benefits. While it is obvious that motivating employees is important, it isn’t always as easy as many people expect.
Some managers make the mistake of thinking that the only thing keeping employees motivated is their weekly paycheck, and maybe an annual bonus. When they want to motivate a team further, they simply dangle more money out in front of the employees, hoping that they will work harder to get it. Even those companies that do offer competitive pay and other compensation benefits, it has been found that this isn’t the best form of motivation.
Problems with Money as a Motivator
One of the biggest issues with using money as a motivator is that it is short lived, at best. If you offer someone a raise, they will be appreciative and may work harder for a short time before and after getting it. Quite quickly, however, that raise will just be something that they have become accustomed to, and it won’t seem motivating anymore. It is impossible to keep providing raise after raise to keep people motivated.
Even performance-based bonus structures will lose their effectiveness. These types of things are extremely difficult to manage well, because the bonuses typically either end up too difficult to achieve, or too easy. Either way, they stop being motivating, and can actually harm employee morale and motivation.
Finding Alternative Motivators
Finding things that can keep employees motivated over the course of their career can be difficult, but it is well worth the effort. When employers focus on keeping everyone motivated, they will develop a culture of engagement where everyone wants to work hard for the benefit of themselves and the company as a whole. This can result in some incredible achievements for everyone in the facility.
There are many different things that can help motivate employees over the long term. Finding which ones work the best for a particular facility may take some trial and error, but it can start working almost immediately. The following strategies have been proven effective over the years by many great companies, and can be implemented very quickly into nearly any type of company:
- Recognition – Most employees want to be recognized for their contributions. Public recognition of even small accomplishments can keep many employees motivated.
- Development – Allowing employees the room to grow in their career is extremely important. This is only effective, however, when the employee is guiding the growth, and their decisions are supported by the management teams.
- Ownership – Allowing employees to ‘own’ their jobs is quite effective. Make sure they know that if they come up with a new and innovative way of getting things done, it will not only be allowed, but encouraged. Wherever possible, let them influence the way they do their job.
- Meaning – Whenever possible, give all jobs meaning to the people who are performing them. Make sure they are aware what it is that their job is contributing to the overall success of the facility. Let them know in what ways the company would be affected if they stopped doing their jobs, and more importantly, what ways everyone will benefit if their job is done well.
Each facility will have a unique set of motivators that can be implemented into most people’s day to day responsibilities. Finding what these things are, and getting everyone on board with focusing on them, is a great way to ensure everyone is as motivated as possible.
While there certainly are times when money can be used to motivate, and paying a fair wage is always important, it shouldn’t be the only tool used. In fact, it should typically not even be the primary source of motivation for the employees of a facility.