Are your staff feeling a little lacklustre?
Motivational speaker Nigel Risner shares his thoughts on how to get employees jumping
Why do I need to think about when it comes to motivating staff?
NR: “If employees feel valued and involved, they’ll always go the extra mile and take the initiative. Ask yourself, why should somebody go out and give great service when they’ve had a lousy week and they’re feeling demoralised? It’s simple. People who produce good results have high self-esteem, and people with high self-esteem produce good results.”
Apart from the obvious pay rise, how else can I motivate staff?
NR: “You need to find out what people’s personal goals are. In the New Year, for example, most people think about their health, or perhaps spending more time with their families. Good employers can tune into that. Try offering gym memberships to reward good performance, or allow later starts a couple of times a month. Finding out what makes someone tick is a much more powerful motivator than just throwing more money at them.
“Make sure everyone understands what your company is trying to achieve, too. It’s all very well saying the company needs to increase turnover by x amount, but nobody walks around with that idea in their heads all day. Try to take tangible goals and communicate them loudly and clearly to the entire organisation. If your firm wants to win 20 new clients for example, write that message on every flipchart or on the back of every door in the building, and so on.”
How can I get staff more involved in the business?
NR: “Take an interest. Every Friday, for example, encourage managers to hold a short meeting to find out how their team’s week went. Ask what they have achieved.
“Share the highs and lows. If the company wins a big order, make sure everyone celebrates that success. Equally, if you lose a client, tell everyone. It’s important that your employees can relate to the company’s performance and that they feel part of it.
“Make it fun – 90% of staff spend their time doing mundane stuff, so try to break up the routine. Organise activities and ask staff what would improve their working life.”
What other simple strategies do you suggest?
NR: “Strip down unnecessary processes or regulations that slow things down and demotivate people. For example, too many meetings can make people’s lives a misery. Anything over 40 minutes is too long. Make sure each meeting has a purpose, a clear objective and most of all, keep it short, sharp and focused.
“Trust people. Most staff want to make a difference. Mistakes happen when people are tired, their workloads are too heavy or line managers are not being supportive. Find out why mistakes are being made and you may well resolve a more deep-rooted issue.”
If staff don’t respond to motivation techniques, what can I do?
NR: “If staff are proving resistant to new ideas, you need to find out why. Is there an underlying problem like lack of training or poor management? Sometimes coaching can help but ultimately, if you can’t inspire someone to work more effectively, you might be better off letting them go.”
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