Anyone who worked an office job in the 90s is familiar with the infamous motivational poster. You know the ones – a pithy quote floating in a black void with a nature-based picture looming above it. You couldn’t walk into a corporate working environment without spotting at least one hanging above the water cooler or gracing the HR Department’s door. Those posters have evolved and have become screensavers, and in 2020, some of us may have even seen them transform into dedicated Slack channels!
But no matter how you felt about those posters and how you’re feeling now about motivational speeches, they are made for a good reason. Keeping employees motivated is a challenge that keeps many employers up at night – and who can blame them? Motivated employees work harder, require less management, and produce better results.
Unfortunately, few employees are entirely self-motivated. This is where your workplace culture works its magic. Research shows that thriving cultures with great employee experiences are 13 times more likely to have highly engaged employees – and engaged employees quickly become motivated employees.
So, if you’re looking for some employee engagement ideas to build an inspiring workplace culture that will motivate your people for years to come, well, keep reading!
Personalize your motivation tactics
There’s no single thing that motivates all people, which is why managers need to learn what drives each employee individually. Take this opportunity to connect with your employees on a personal level – bond with them as their leader, mentor, and friend. When you get to know team members as people, you discover how to motivate them as employees.
Don’t micromanage – mentor
Speaking of leadership, let’s talk about the dreaded “M” word. Nothing shows your employees you don’t think they’re capable quite like micromanaging. Instead of being a helicopter boss, you need to be a mentor. When a leader is an active mentor, employees are more likely to feel more motivated in their everyday working life, no matter if they’re in the office or working from home. Mentors give their people the tools they need to succeed – then trust them to get the job done.
Show trust through transparency
The importance of trust in the workplace really can’t be overstated. Don’t keep significant company information from your team. Instead, treat your people like adults with the emotional intelligence to handle both good and bad news. Share your challenges to give them something to overcome and your successes to give them something to celebrate.
Loosen up your work schedule
Few things are more demotivating than feeling confined by your job. If your business process allows it, try giving your employees more freedom through flexible schedules. This is a lifesaver for working parents, students, or anyone whose busy life requires adaptable working hours. A little flexibility now can lead to more employee happiness in the long run!
Support strong team bonds
It’s often difficult for a person to emotionally connect with an entire company, especially after what’s going on around the globe right now, but a small group of people – their team – can inspire unshakable loyalty. And the more an employee cares about their team, the more likely they are to work towards its success. These working relationships often develop naturally, but you can help them grow by giving your people time and opportunities to bond with each other.
Ensure employees get the resources they need
It almost seems too simple, but many employees are unmotivated purely because they haven’t been given what they need to do their jobs well. Often, companies spend thousands of hours searching for highly motivated people without realizing they’ve already hired them—they just don’t have the tools or resources they require to succeed.
Provide clear goals and immediate rewards
Once your people have a larger purpose, they’re going to need manageable ways to reach it. Set clear, attainable goals for your employees and give out recognition rewards when they achieve them. This will motivate your team by providing a step-by-step path to success.
Infuse gratitude into your culture
Every healthy relationship is based on reciprocity—even professional ones. The more you care about your people (and show it through recognition), the more they’ll care about you (and show it through their work). It doesn’t have to be a lot—little things like providing healthy snacks and writing the occasional heartfelt letter go a long way.
Remember, you can’t force motivation. There’s no secret key that unlocks the motivation vault hidden in all employees. But you can make day-to-day choices to create a motivational culture that helps your people to feel inspired, driven, and fulfilled.