Employee Motivation: Simple tips for keeping your staff motivated
Take a moment to have a look around you. How many of your colleagues are truly engaged with what they’re doing? How many do you think are secretly just going through the motions? How many would be out the door and off to another job or even another industry if there was even a sniff of interest?
Based on little science but a lot of observation, realistically only around a quarter of your staff will be truly engaged and motivated in what they are doing at any one time, while a similar proportion will actively hate their jobs and be looking to move on. That leaves a full half that are just going through the motions. Apathetic about their roles. Uninspired. Full of ennui.
When someone asks them how their week was, they’ll shrug, sigh, and simply say “It was fine”. That’s a pretty damning statement to make about something that for the majority of us takes up most our waking hours.
To put the proportions into a simple graphical form, the majority of staff would fit somewhere into the middle section of the graphic on the right.
The big grey band of okayness
In some ways, the fact that the middle is the biggest section is normal. Most people’s careers go through stages. Sometimes everything’s great, but at other stages it can be a drag to get yourself enthused. If you are lucky, you’ll get involved in a project that ignites your enthusiasm and you’ll rise majestically out of the grey marshlands and take up residence in the sunny yellow uplands, employee engagement has increased.
The problem is that the longer your staff stay in the grey area, the less likely they are to innovate and the more likely that they’ll start to drift downwards to the red area where they actively start looking for work elsewhere. For the employer, this isn’t ideal when time and resources have been committed to hiring and training.
Equally from a business point of view though, ennui is terrible. Bored staff tend to do just enough work to get through the day. They don’t tend to innovate and they don’t make the office a fun place to be, staff motivation becomes a major issue.
There are people out there who say that work shouldn’t be fun, work is work, save your fun for the weekend. Ask these employees whether they get annoyed that their staff turnover rates are so high…
How to drive employee engagement
This isn’t to say that work should be an endless string of revelries and entertainments, but there are a few simple ways of moving staff further away from the red section and closer to the yellow.
One of the best ways to get employees out of a funk is to talk to them. Help them understand the opportunities that could be open in the long and short term, generally but more fundamentally, help your staff understand the benefits of working for your firm. Make sure there are clear communications around things like flexible benefits, pensions and insurance so staff understand what they get from working for your firm that’s above and beyond what they might get elsewhere.
2. Take responsibility
At the same time, if you feel that your company doesn’t offer your staff anything above and beyond what they might get elsewhere, perhaps it’s worth having a think about your strategy and how you can increase employee engagement and motivation. Pretty much every industry has gone through some form of disruption over the last decade, with nimble new players entering most markets and vanquishing more than a few of last generation’s seemingly impregnable titans. With high employment levels in the UK, demand and the cost of replacement for well-trained staff is relatively expensive, so having a look at your benefits strategy to make sure that it helps keep employees enthused and in-role should be firmly on your agenda.
Make sure you have clear succession plans in place and can help employees understand where they are today and where they could be in six months or two years if they complete a particular project or deliver on a specific set of objectives. It needs to be very clear to your teams that nothing is promised, but everyone benefits from understanding where they are going with their career. Equally, shaking teams up every couple of years is a great way of encouraging innovation and avoiding silos developing between departments.
Try and make sure that you have a handle on employee engagement, where staff feel they are today and spot the people that are, to come back to the graphic, descending from the yellow to the red end of the scale. It’s much easier to react to an issue if you see it coming, and a little light research into people’s mindsets can help flag up issues with individuals, managers, or indeed whole teams.
As we’ve mentioned previously, these days it’s relatively simple to set up an efficient and comprehensive process that can help understand how your teams are feeling about their roles and it’s also a simple process to set up a staff reward and incentive scheme. Technology has reached a point where even small companies with limited budgets can benefit, so now is a good time to be assessing your strategy to make sure your staff are engaged and positive about their roles.
If you would like to discuss options to understand, incentivise and reward your teams, please contact our experts on 0330 134 0116.