How can I motivate my staff?

This article first appeared on July 26, 2011.

 

What tips have you got for motivating staff? We’ve been through a really tough first year and I want to make sure my employees are geared up to tackle our next phase.

 

Firstly, congratulations for making it through your first year!

 

If you want to make sure that your employees are geared up to take on a new year, ask them.

 

Get everyone together, acknowledge the year that has passed, recognise the difficulties that you experienced, share your ideas on how this year could be better and then invite your employees to let you know what worked and what didn’t work for them.

 

It’s really important to acknowledge and celebrate the success you had last year and to share this with your staff.

 

Establishing an environment where your staff feel respected and comfortable voicing their concerns is crucial, especially through periods of growth.

 

We had the busiest year we have ever had last financial year and towards the end of it everybody was looking and feeling a bit fried.

 

We asked ourselves the same question – how are we going to get everyone excited and motivated to make this year better than last?

 

We found that sharing the success with our team was really effective. We compared our position to the year before and by demonstrating the rate of growth and attributing their hard work to the success was a rewarding experience.

 

In general people like to feel that they are part of something which is growing, if you can create a buzz and a sense of excitement then your employees should feel empowered to be a part of a growing dynamic start-up.

 

In my experience, the most important aspect of motivating staff is building solid relationships with your employees.

 

If you have a mutually respectful relationship in place, sharing your future vision and keeping your staff motivated and energised will flow relatively smoothly.

 

Involve your team in the process, share your business vision with them and make them feel a part of the plan.

 

Once your business goal is a common one, the motivation will come quite naturally as everyone is working towards the same outcome.

 

We have a monthly lunch meeting with all our employees. It’s a nice time to sit back and let everyone have input, feel rewarded and have an open dialogue about what is working and what areas of the business need attention.

 

Everyone will have different motivations for working, however the main reason is money.

 

If you turned a profit last financial year you could consider giving a small percentage of that to your staff and letting them know that it is a share of profits earned so they feel rewarded for their input.

 

Another method worth considering is providing an opportunity for personal growth and career development.

 

You could send your key staff for further training; this is helpful not only to your business as your staff are better experienced, it’s also a rewarding and motivating gesture for your employeeS.

 

There are plenty of other easy ways to keep morale up throughout the year.

  • Monthly staff lunch meetings – a great time to sit back and reward your staff with a lunch of their choice, discuss the issues, reinforce the vision and keep everyone aware of where things are at.
  • Keep a birthday calendar where everyone can see it, organise a cake and get everyone together for the birthday.
  • Set incentives, it could be a sales bonus or meeting a KPI target so that your staff always have something to work towards.
  • Offer your staff non-financial rewards such as tickets to events, gift vouchers, wine, etc – this will be a lot easier when you have solid relationships with your staff so the gift is personalised and more thoughtful.

Another option is hiring an HR consultant to get you on the right track and provide you with a more tailored approach for your business.

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