November 2, 2017    |    By

Many business owners make the mistake of underrating the role of their employees. Those who do not may not know how to motivate their workers efficiently. Even the most productive employees can become ineffective if they are unmotivated. Like many other employers, your first instinct would be to give your workforce a raise or other financial rewards. However, this can be too costly and fruitless. You can utilize other methods that will not cost you extra but will leave a permanent mark on your employees.

Take Some Time To Understand What Motivation Is

Motivation can take two major forms: extrinsic and intrinsic. Increasing salaries are a classic example of extrinsic motivation while other extrinsic rewards include the tangible, such as benefits and bonuses. People other than ourselves determine whether these rewards are granted or not as well as their size. They used to be effective when work was more bureaucratic. Employees were more concerned about following rules and procedures. While additional pay is often important for workers when they accept a job, it becomes less important once they are hired.

Some of the intrinsic motivation options should instead inspire you. Intrinsic motivation includes psychological rewards that you can extend to your employees. Today’s workplace is more accommodative of the employees using their experience and intelligence (self-management) to provide innovative solutions to customer needs.

Employees find value in their work when they are allowed to commit to a purpose, work competently, and progress in achieving the purpose. These factors enable workers to assess the effectiveness and value of their contribution to the work. When the assessment comes out positive, the emotional charge of the employees will also be positive—the intrinsic rewards that keep employees engaged in their work.

The four basic intrinsic rewards include:

  • Meaningfulness – Involves importance of the purpose that your employee is trying to fulfill. The worker senses an opportunity to achieve something valuable. It may feel as though the undertaking is worth their energy and time.
  • Choice – Gives the employees the use of their best judgment to select work activities that are the valuable to them and do them in the best way possible. This makes the employees feel part of the ownership of work and feel responsible for making their choice work.
  • Competence – Is the feeling an employee gets when they know that you consider their work good. They must also feel that their work meets personal standards. The worker feels a sense of pride and satisfaction.
  • Progress – Is the sense your employee has when they feel that their efforts mean something and the work is in the right direction. You show your employee convincing signs that they made the right choices.

Understand The Balance Between More Money And More Freedom

To most employers, money always seems like an obvious drawcard. However, flexibility in scheduling and time may actually mean more than a higher paycheck. Choosing between money and freedom is often a tough thing for employees. In austere economic situations, money would be the first option. However, freedom seems to matter more to your employees than wealth does. You should focus on enhancing your employees’ freedom, which leads to their resilience during uncertain times.

Creating autonomy builds better performance and engagement. To enhance autonomy, you should let employees choose by introducing flexibility. Let them decide whether to work in the office or at home. It will allow the most productive workers to leave office early. Flexible delegation will give employees more independence.

You can enhance intrinsic motivation by matching your goals with your workers’ career objectives.

Let your employees have an entrepreneur’s mind so they can begin to treat your business as though it were their own. You could even ask for their ideas on how to improve the business to and try to incorporate their suggestions when possible.

While you are at it, avoid monitoring each of their moves. Instead of micromanaging them, you should assess their performance in terms of results rather than inputs. The results will be in terms of more money for your business, and you will have achieved the balance between money and freedom.

Pay Attention To The Emotional As Well As The Physical

Even good employees who are able to solve work problems have personal and emotional issues to deal with. You may be available to provide guidance to helping with their emotional problems as well as providing financial compensation. It is advisable to offer them support, and they will be grateful enough to reciprocate for you.

You can make them feel valuable by complimenting them whenever they do an exceptional job. Despite the pressures of work, your employees will feel that you understand what they are going through and you care. However, you should temper your complimenting to avoid making it too familiar. A deserved compliment, nonetheless, can mean a lot, and can keep an employee engaged at work.

Using Maslow’s Hierarchy Of Needs To Help Employees Grow

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

Financial compensation can really only satisfy the bottom 2 factors, both of which are relatively primal. Think about ways that your organization can help your employees reach higher levels of the hierarchy. You can use Maslow’s theory in which employees who are just starting their career will worry about job security, stable income, enough wages and other physiological needs. If these needs are not met, they will make decisions based on safety, stability and compensation concerns. They will try to satisfy their own needs when you fail to do so during tough economic times.

Once they meet these basic needs, employees will seek to meet their social needs. They will expect effective interpersonal relations, which you can facilitate by rewarding staff cooperation. For the employee who has reached this level, he will want higher-level needs fulfilled—self-esteem and actualization. You can help them achieve this by providing special assignments, job enrichment and cross training.

Investigate Options To Reallocate Existing Time To Projects They ‘Own’

Think Google 20% time here, which brought us Gmail. Give them some allocated company time for projects they think will bring value to the organization. You can motivate the staff involved by rewarding their execution abilities. No process can be better than your employees who made it happen. Therefore, you should try to carry out management selection and development carefully.

To investigate the options available for reallocation, you need to communicate with your team members. In this way, you will be able to learn the concerns, attitudes and ideas of your employees. It is important to utilize each occasion to intermingle with the workers. This will enable you to discover new means of organizing your activities.

Create And Foster A Shared Vision And Values

How can your employees know that their efforts are more than just business as usual? How can they buy in to the goals and visions of the company they work for? If you let everyone know the company’s collective vision, it will make everyone prosperous. They will be united and motivated by sharing a common vision. It will be prudent to focus your employees’ attention on reaching that vision. With a shared vision and values, you can achieve team building, in which mutual support is one of the most important values. You will have created a powerful team spirit, where those who need support can receive it from their colleagues and you.

A team resembles a family; mutual support and trust play a central role in guiding the success of the team. Work with your team to schedule team activities within work hours and after or over weekends. You will enjoy over half of your success by building and sustaining a strong team spirit and an engaged team in the workplace.

Make Employees Use Up Their Vacation Time

This will also keep your accountant happy. It is best if you let them choose the time (where possible). Recommend a trip they should take based on something they have told you. You should encourage your employees to utilize their vacation and stay away from anything to do with work. This will help them recharge and replenish their energy supply.

Final Words

Motivation of employees may sound like an easy task, as you might automatically think about offering more money to motivate your employees. While this strategy worked in the past when employee perceptions and situations were different, you need to change tact and deal with motivation issues more from a humane and psychological perspective. You need to understand your employees psychologically to know how to keep them motivated. Instead of focusing on the employees’ physical needs, you should concentrate on their emotional needs. This will be more effective and will have more long-term effects.

Make a great first impression at your next job interview.

This blog post is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is created between the author and reader of this blog post, and its content should not be relied upon as legal advice. Readers are urged to consult legal counsel when seeking legal advice.