Getting the right kind of inspiration
While hitting targets is critical to every business, targets alone are not what motivate people to perform well. You need to go beyond talking about numbers and figures and instead inspire your employees with a vision for success that they feel they can help shape and play a part in.
It’s as important that you provide the support and encouragement to help them achieve that vision. Make sure you have inspirational leadership and a consistent, motivating management approach that is focused on building a culture and environment for success. Be transparent about what you want to achieve and develop a relationship of trust with your employees to show that you are all in it together.
Involve your staff in your motivation strategy and get buy-in before implementing it. SMEs who impose schemes on their staff often struggle to make them work because employees feel that the scheme doesn’t meet their needs or as the latest fad from the people at the top. Instead, engage with your employees to find out what motivates them as individuals – that is the only way you are guaranteed to make an impact.
Recognise and reward
Reward is the essential link between inspiration and great performance – give reward and recognition that is personalised and genuine, and watch motivation prosper.
This can’t just be done half-heartedly. You need to transform your culture entirely to one of appreciation and recognition, a combination of top down and peer-to-peer recognition, thereby creating an environment where effort and success is celebrated openly.
It’s worth remembering that some schemes and incentives work better in certain situations than in others. Some rewards are great for increasing productivity over short periods of time, towards the end of the month or on completion of a project for example. Others have a slower burn, like yearly reward programmes. These are great for increasing loyalty and overall job satisfaction, resulting in more sustained levels of motivation and productivity.
Whichever reward you choose, make it personal and keep it simple, that way you can’t go wrong. And never give reward without recognition – there is no substitute for a being told you’ve done a great job.
Monitor your performance
The ultimate driver for massive motivation is better business performance. That means you have to measure what is working and what isn’t.
It’s important that you constantly review the activities you’ve put in place to see what is working. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to increasing motivation and productivity, whatever you do, you can be sure there are some things that will need tweaking. Again, it’s not only about which targets have been met or asking whether people feel motivated, it’s about that wholesale change in culture and behaviour: do people actually understand what they need to do to help the business succeed?
Transforming your approach to motivation is only effective when you listen and learn from your people. That way you can be sure that massive motivation is about creating a momentum for success that everyone in your business, not just a select few, can understand, relate to and benefit from.
Andy Philpott is sales and marketing director at Edenred.
Elsewhere, we took a look at how employees who feel motivated to work put the hours in (often going above and beyond what they are contracted to do), are likely to be persistent and creative, and turn out high quality work that they take pride in.