Anyone who’s ever owned a business will likely be the first to tell you that employees are the lifeblood of a company. They can be your biggest assets and also present the biggest challenges. How do you keep your team motivated to keep striving for excellence day in and day out?
According to a 2016 Gallup report, millennials are prone to changing jobs. Gallup found that “60% of millennials say they are open to a different job opportunity — 15 percentage points higher than the percentage of non-millennial workers who say the same. Millennials are also the most willing to act on better opportunities.”
Regardless of how you spin it, work is called work for a reason, and I’ve found these five simple ways to rally my team and ignite sustained motivation.
1. Listen up.
Everyone wants to feel like they have a voice and that their perspective is being heard. Be it through one-on-one meetings or team huddles, giving your team the opportunity to provide input instills a sense of ownership, which is a key component of intrinsic and enduring motivation.
However, it’s important to take active listening one step further: Be intentional about recognizing your employees’ contributions and responding to questions or feedback in a timely manner. At Demonstrate PR, we have an open-door policy with leadership and encourage all staff to take advantage.
2. Stay in the trust tree.
Trust is a two-way street. And from my perspective, it is also one of the most under-acknowledged employee motivators. People don’t leave companies; they leave managers. Employees want to work for leadership they can trust, and the best way to engender such trust is frequent, transparent communication and consistent follow-through.
On the flip side, it is equally important that your people know you trust them. Trust is the catalyst for empowerment, and when your team feels empowered, they are more willing to go the extra mile. The same rings true among your colleagues, and it is vital for succeeding in your everyday tasks because collaboration is key.
3. Set the finish line (and don’t move it).
It goes without saying that the best way to motivate people is to give them a goal to achieve. I’ve found this particularly true of my highest contributors. They are always wanting to know what they need to do to get to the next rung on the ladder — be it a promotion, raise or other achievement.
Clearly and completely outline (in writing) the metrics needed for a particular advancement, and be prepared to give it to them once they hit that finish line.
4. Help them spread their wings.
Recognize and support your team members’ individual interests and goals. For some, that may be sending them to a professional development seminar. For others, it’s allowing them to pursue a passion project.
In the marketing and communications world, my team members frequently express desires to work with specific types of client that tap into their personal interests. I encourage them to look for those opportunities and incentivize them with new business commissions if they land them.
5. Work on your flexibility.
In today’s world of competing obligations and priorities, I find that people value flexibility more than ever and work diligently to respect the privilege. Anything you can do to help make your employees’ lives a little easier — be it leaving early to pick up a child from daycare or working remotely to attend a family wedding — can have a significant impact on their desire to keep giving you 110%.
While not every business model can accommodate the same types of flexibilities, look for ways to lend your employees the flexibility they need to maintain work-life balance. At Demonstrate PR, we have a flexible remote work policy, which has helped with both retention and productivity.
The most important thing to remember is to stay tuned in to what makes each of your team members tick, and look for ways to motivate them accordingly. Remember, as a leader, you should always be evolving. Do this, and hopefully, your bottom line will thank you for it.