A motivated workforce is a more productive and engaged workforce. Red Letter Days Motivates outlines strategies employers can use to motivate their staff
As an employer or manager, what or who do you value most highly in your business? Your reputation in the industry perhaps? Your customers? Your potential for growth? What about your employees? The workers: the backbone of the organisation, the lifeblood of your company? Without them where would you be? Yes, there may well be plenty of other candidates out there, just waiting to be a part of the magic that you have created, but the fact is that it is far savvier to look after the employees you already have: encourage them, nurture them, and help them to be the best that they can be.
A motivated workforce is not only a more productive workforce, but it is also a loyal workforce. One where there are lower costs associated with staff turnover, where teams are strong and cohesive, and where people strive to do their best, because they feel a part of the bigger picture.
Whilst budgets usually allow for investment in new technology and salary rises, the area of staff motivation is often overlooked: a real mistake when you consider that employees who feel valued are more likely to be happy at work, and happy workers have been shown to be 12% more productive.
Of course, the more that you invest (both financially and timewise) in staff motivation, the more robust your returns, but it is easy to start today, no matter what your constraints may be.
Communicate to motivate
There is no doubt that the first step to motivating your staff is to create open and honest lines of communication within the organisation. Senior managers need to be seen to be interested in staff, to listen to them as well as talk to them, and to be approachable and available.
Leading from the top
In order to create a culture of motivation, there needs to be a commitment from those at a senior level to demonstrate that they are willing to roll their sleeves up and get involved. Those at the top of the organisation set the tone for the whole business, so when they consistently model professionalism and a strong work ethic, these attitudes begin to filter down through the company.
Make it personal
No one wants to be just a number, a cog in the system, and it is important that everyone feels a valued part of the organisation. Make sure that people are recognised not only for their individual talents, but also for the people they are outside of the workplace. Get to know your employees, and take a genuine interest in their lives. Not only will this lead to them feeling valued, but it will also help you to understand what makes them tick, what matters to them, and what motivates them.
Let go of the reins
No one enjoys being micro-managed, and a manager who is constantly breathing down someone’s neck not only creates bad feeling, but also makes employees feel that they are not trusted to do their job. Cut back on unnecessary rules and regulations, giving staff more freedom to get on with their work in a way that best suits them. Create space for creativity and allow people to take ownership of and responsibility for their own projects. Employees who feel trusted are more engaged and therefore more productive.
Shake it up
Work is work, for sure, but human beings have an intrinsic need to have fun. There is no need for work to be staid and grey. When employees are given opportunities to have fun at work, they are more productive, more satisfied, and more creative. Making space for humour, games, and celebrations will help your employees look forward to coming into work, create positive connections, and lead to lower staff turnover and fewer sick days.
Lack of appreciation is the leading reason that people leave their jobs , this is an area that employers cannot afford to ignore. From a simple word or note of appreciation, to a full programme of rewards and incentives, there are many ways that organisations can make employee recognition a part of their workplace culture.
Motivation in the workplace is a huge area that many organisations are only just beginning to appreciate the full power of. When workers are appreciated, listened to, and trusted, the effects are felt across the business: from improved retention, to increased production, from customer satisfaction, to the organisation’s reputation. There is no time to make excuses, focus on your employees, find ways to motivate them today, and reap the rewards tomorrow.
Reward and Red Letter Days Motivates are blogging about motivation and engagement. FOLLOW THE SERIES HERE
 Happiness and Productivity. Andrew J Oswald, Eugenio Proto and Daniel Sgroi, University of Warwick