Editor’s Note: The quality of production employees contribute determines the success of a business. In this guest post, Josh Hervall lays down suggestions on how to get your employees motivated while thinking on their feet.
A staff that fails to deliver quality work may be caused by lack of motivation.
No matter how skillful your employees are, your inability to mobilize and inspire them to action will be the death of your business. For instance, the act of giving away free cases of beer to employees who sorted the boxes properly at a loading truck company did wonders to their business – boxes were loaded to the correct trucks and productivity was at an all-time high for these male workers in their 20’s.
Here are other ideas of how to keep your staff happy and focused.
Set clear goals
Having clear objectives can be the difference between having a productive employee and not. Laying out the tasks of what needs to be done can help focus individuals and the company as a whole. So make it clear: what is your business, what do you want to achieve and what do you expect from your employees? If it helps, review this monthly or even weekly.
What you should do: Read Inc.com’s “How to Set Business Goals” to learn which aspects in your company you must focus on. Do you intend to improve customer relations and retention? Do you want increase profit by the end of the year? Do you wish to expand your company by hiring more people? From here, you give your employees a clearer vision on what they must do for your business.
Take a break
In this fast paced world, it can be tempting to never “switch off” and remain on top of things. With social media to update, emails to respond to, targets to meet, we are bombarded with information and things to do.
As a result, 62% of office workers eat their lunch at their desk. While productivity might be at a high level initially, without the necessary downtime, it’s extremely hard to sustain.
UC-Davis managing professor Kimberly Elsbach believes that productivity isn’t about work tirelessly at your desk. Rather, it’s actually the other way around – she believes that stepping away from your desk for lunch provides the creative jolt you need to perform well.
“Never taking a break from very careful thought work actually reduces your ability to be creative,” she says. “It sort of exhausts your cognitive capacity and you’re not able to make the creative connections you can if your brain is more rested. If you’re skipping lunch to continue to push forward in a very intense cognitive capacity, then you’re probably not doing yourself any favors.”
What you should do: Experts believe that working for a set period before taking your break is better for productivity and motivation. Take the Pomodoro Technique invented in the eighties by Francesco Cirillo. This popular time management system breaks up time into section. Using a timer, users usually work for around 30 minutes then take a break for ten. The reason it’s remained so popular is because the technique helps with focus, allowing employees to work effectively through their to-do lists.
If in doubt, lead by example: if you step away for your lunch break, your employees will be more willing to do the same, and they’ll come back to the office refreshed and more productive.
Giving out incentives
Laying out a reward system can be an effective way for staff to stay focused and on track year-long. Grassroots Project Link reports that there is a 15% performance increase at companies that provide tangible incentives, with a positive effect on quality and quantity. This has been implemented around the world in a variety of different industries.
What you should do: Look for an affordable, but still desirable incentive system – think increase in pay through commission or day-trips, or even vouchers. Don’t break the bank, but show that you’re willing to reward productivity. Here are OPEN Fourm’s 51 inexpensive ways of encouraging employees to perform well.
Encourage growth through risk-taking
In today’s economy, it has become more difficult to land a job. For those with jobs, they seem to be content just by being employed. They’ll do just enough to keep their jobs but, at the same time, they refuse to take risks even for the sake of making a breakthrough.
This has been the case with Extended Stay America when Jim Donald took charge of the company. Instead of employees deciding on their own, they waited to be told what to do. Donald said that employees “were afraid to do things.”
To solve this issue, Donald each handed a batch of green “Get Out of Jail, Free” cards to employees. These serve as safety nets to employees who intend to make a risky move on behalf of the business. If the risk fails, then the card keeps them out of trouble, thus allowing them to keep their jobs.
The novel idea produced some interesting results:
One California hotel manager recently called to redeem her card, he says, confessing that she nabbed 20 business cards from a fishbowl in the lobby of nearby rival La Quinta in an attempt to find prospective customers.
Another manager in New Jersey cold-called a movie-production company when she heard it would be filming in the area. The film crew ended up booking $250,000 in accommodations at the hotel.
What you should do: Taking a risk for the sake of growth may or may not lead to actual results, but it nonetheless helps employees to think critically, if not outside the box, towards their work. It is this privilege that allows them to become more proactive and engaged with their tasks. Take cue from Mr. Donald’s idea to bring out the desire to do their best their jobs.
Employers: What methods have you found successful in motivating your employees?
Employees: What do you find inspires you to work harder?
I’d love to hear from you. Comment below!
Josh Hervall is a keen blogger and business enthusiast, he writes for www.phoenix-training.co.uk, experts in business training.