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How Do You Motivate Employees? [ANSWERS]

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As any good CEO knows, keeping employees happy is a key to good business. Their productivity increases and the likelihood of them going farther and working hard for your company is increased greatly. When an employee is motivated in the right way, an entrepreneur can become the leader of a well-oiled machine. But finding the perfect way to motivate employees is the true hurdle. Below are some tips from business owners and entrepreneurs on how to motivate employees.

 

Photo Credit: Dan Clifford

Photo Credit: Dan Clifford

Leverage what makes us unique

We try to create benefits and systems that are unique to us. Our firm helps companies understand what users like and don’t like about their digital products, such as mobile and tablet applications. As such, we aim to attract and retain employees who “embrace new technology” (one of our core values). To reinforce this value, we established a tech benefit, where every year each employee can purchase up to $400 in technology so that they can keep up to date with the latest gadgets, phones, tablets and apps. Our employees are researchers who love to learn, so we also established monthly learning lunches, where internal and external speakers share their knowledge. Finally, our office location is unique-it’s a block from the San Francisco Bay-so why stay locked up in the office? We established “walk and talks” to replace many of our one-on-one meetings.

Thanks to Dan Clifford, AnswerLab

 

Photo Credit: Bryan Phelps

Photo Credit: Bryan Phelps

Create measurable daily goals

The single most effective method that I’ve ever seen for motivating employees at numerous companies is to create measurable daily goals for them and publish their performance against their peers on a whiteboard or monitor that everyone has access to view. It seems that too often people are being measured but they aren’t able to see how others are performing or even how they are performing. Displaying their performance creates a sense of competition and a desire to continually do better.

Thanks to Bryan Phelps, Big Leap Web

 

Photo Credit: Joyce L. Gioia

Photo Credit: Joyce L. Gioia

Giving back to employees

We provide the right environment for people to thrive. We offer flex-time and extra time off between Christmas and New Years, as long as our phones are covered. We believe in roll-up-your-sleeves leadership and work side-by-side with our employees, when it is appropriate. We believe that people should have fun at work and look for all kinds of ways to create it. We have a fun committee run by our people, including costume contests and games. We work hard and play hard. Every year, we buy theatre and symphony subscriptions to share with our people. Because we are on the road so much, most of those tickets are used by the employees. We give people AAA memberships and Entertainment books every year and look for opportunities to celebrate, including birthdays, anniversaries of employment, graduations, births, hirings, and any other event we can think to create excitement around. We give people time off to attend teacher conferences and ask for comp time to attend kids’ sporting events. We also do a lot of teaching and believe that a day without learning something is a day lost.

Thanks to Joyce L. Gioia, The Herman Group

 

Photo Credit: Jeff Kurpuis

Photo Credit: Jeff Kurpuis

Freedom to ‘customize’ their job

Start off with above average pay, benefits like insurance, paid vacation and holidays, flexible hours and 50 bucks a month in snacks in the lunchroom for my 8 employees makes them feel special beyond the 50 dollar cost. In addition, ensuring a pleasant work environment, and taking time to remember their spouses and kids names, basically actually caring about them as people not just employees. In addition giving them clear expectations and then the tools and training they need to get the job done to those expectations and allow them the freedom to “customize” their job (within reason).

Thanks to Jeff Kurpuis, Orchard Corset

 

Photo Credit: Kathleen Brush

Photo Credit: Kathleen Brush

Motivation through communication

Every day a manager is on center stage demonstrating his communication skills. Communications can be verbal or non-verbal, covert or overt, physical or virtual. From the minute a manager enters the realm of his/her office via an internet, or mobile medium, phone, physical presence, or a questioned absence he is communicating. Employees can find an energetic step motivating but lethargic motions demotivating. A boss whose communications convey kindness, thoughtfulness, someone who is organized, responsive, and most importantly a leader will be motivating. A boss whose communications are rude, surly, reactionary, confused, or that shows weakness will be demotivating. One key for a boss to keeping motivation humming is to remember that their communications are on center stage — not some of the time, all of the time.

Thanks to Kathleen Brush

 

Photo Credit: Shep Hyken

Photo Credit: Shep Hyken

Create an environment of serious FUN

Motivate employees by creating an environment of Serious FUN. Fun isn’t about having a party at work. It’s an acronym where F stands for fulfillment; creating a work experience that is fulfilling to the employee. U stand for uniqueness; give employees the opportunity to use their unique talents in their job. And, N stands for next: employees should be excited about what’s next at the company, for example, the next big product or even just coming back the next day. Creating a workplace culture of Serious FUN is good for the employees and the company’s customers. Herb Kelleher of Southwest Airlines had a philosophy that sums this up nicely. When employees are happy they will take care of the customers. When the customers are happy, they come back. That’ makes the shareholders happy. It starts with motivating the employees.

Thanks to Shep Hyken, Hyken

 

Photo Credit: Niko Mercuris

Photo Credit: Niko Mercuris

Incentives always help

People need to feel special and look forward to coming to work so they don’t miss out on anything, we give many incentives from cash rewards to quick bonuses ranging from gift cards to limo rides on the town, but more valuable than all that is the weekly personal development meetings where I go way off topic from our actual work to help enlighten my younger employees to the universal laws of the world, to help them overcome personal issues outside of work and to have happier healthier relationships and lifestyles, making money at a job is stressful for employees who are working for someone else and building someone’s company so helping them to balance out their lives with their work to become more productive and happier outside of work will motivate them to do better at work.. most employers do the opposite and are slave drivers who put themselves above their employees rather than working together as a team to grow the business by helping to grow the individuals behind the business.

Thanks to Niko Mercuris, Creative Solutions Marketing, Inc.

 

Photo Credit: Chuck Gordon

Photo Credit: Chuck Gordon

Complete transparency

One of the most important things about SpareFoot culture is complete transparency. I am completely open about every aspect of the company with the team, and this provides everyone with a sense of ownership in the company. SpareFoot employees take pride in their work because every project is personal, and exceptional performance never goes unnoticed. Motivational incentives don’t always have to be work related to get results in the office. At SpareFoot our motto is ‘work hard, play hard’ and we do plenty of both. Bi-monthly company-sponsored happy hours, mountains of snack food, shuffleboard, foosball, darts, and more are offered to SpareFoot employees. If you treat your team right, they will be more productive. It’s that simple.

Thanks to Chuck Gordon, SpareFoot

 

Photo Credit: Craig O'Neal

Photo Credit: Craig O’Neal

Help them see how significant they are

I have always found that one of the absolute best ways to motivate employees is to help them be (and see themselves as) significant contributors to the company, beyond their functional position. Recently at a quarterly company meeting (where there was a lot of food-always a good motivator!), I grouped our associates into teams of four. Each team was challenged to spend 20 minutes coming up with ways to make VantagePoint a better company or create greater value for our clients. Employees were told in an email prior to the meeting that if any of their ideas were utilized, they-as individual members of their team-would be rewarded in a tangible way. What happened next was incredible. My leadership team and I were blown away by the fantastic ideas that surfaced, as well as the energy in the room, during this exercise. On average, over a dozen ideas emerged from each group during the 5-minute presentations that followed. What’s really cool is that over half of those ideas will be implemented in our company this year; I’m looking forward to sharing the final outcome with my employees and letting them know how they will be rewarded for their great ideas.

Thanks to Craig O’Neal, VantagePoint

 

Photo Credit: Darryl Rawlings

Photo Credit: Darryl Rawlings

Let their voices be heard

I find the most motivated employees are those that feel their voices are being heard. I have an open-door policy and all team members – from our EVPs to our interns – know they can come to me with ideas or concerns. And I do my best to meet their needs. The biggest thing I have done to motivate my team is allow them the option to bring their pets to work. Our team members’ pets are not just pets, they are family members, and we do everything we can to take care of them. We offer free pet insurance as an employee benefit, we offer a pet bereavement day if one of our team members loses a beloved pet, and we employ four full-time dog walkers to keep the office dogs happy and healthy. Having their pets by their side not only boosts the morale of team members, but also makes them that much more empathetic to our customers.

Thanks to Darryl Rawlings, Trupanion

 

 

About Gresham Harkless Jr.

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Gresham Harkless is a Media Consultant for Blue 16 Media and the Blogger-in-Chief for CEO Blog Nation. CEO Blog Nation is a community of blogs for entrepreneurs and business owners. Started in much the same way as most small businesses, CEO Blog Nation captures the essence of entrepreneurship by allowing entrepreneurs and business owners to have a voice. CEO Blog Nation provides news, information, events and even startup business tips for entrepreneurs, startups and business owners to succeed.
  • Thank you for including me in the article. This is a great list of ideas on how to motivate employees. Herb Keller, the former chairman of Southwest Airlines, used to say that motivated and happy employees would work hard to make the passengers happy. When the passengers are happy, they come back. When they come back, that makes the shareholders happy. He is right! And, it all starts with motivated employees.

  • Thank you for including me in the article. This is a great list of ideas on how to motivate employees. Herb Keller, the former chairman of Southwest Airlines, used to say that motivated and happy employees would work hard to make the passengers happy. When the passengers are happy, they come back. When they come back, that makes the shareholders happy. He is right! And, it all starts with motivated employees.

  • jack

    Great post.

    Financial incentives are not enough to motivate employees.

    Instead, employers should pay greater attention to intrinsic motivation. That means designing jobs that provide opportunities to make choices, develop skills, do work that matters and build meaningful interpersonal connections.

    You can also find some effective tools that could boost your employee morale.

    Some I would recommend:www.globoforce.com

    or a sales contest software: http://www.monitae.com

  • jack

    Great post.

    Financial incentives are not enough to motivate employees.

    Instead, employers should pay greater attention to intrinsic motivation. That means designing jobs that provide opportunities to make choices, develop skills, do work that matters and build meaningful interpersonal connections.

    You can also find some effective tools that could boost your employee morale.

    Some I would recommend:www.globoforce.com

    or a sales contest software: http://www.monitae.com

  • “It seems that too often people are being measured but they aren’t able to see how others are performing or even how they are performing.”
    I think this happens in a lot of enterprises. Your employees are told they are doing this and that but without any context it doesn’t mean much. If you didn’t know in elementary school that a B was somewhere between an 80-89% you wouldn’t really know how well you did on a test, right? If you can give your employees a frame of reference it makes it much easier to see the opportunities they have for growth.

  • “It seems that too often people are being measured but they aren’t able to see how others are performing or even how they are performing.”
    I think this happens in a lot of enterprises. Your employees are told they are doing this and that but without any context it doesn’t mean much. If you didn’t know in elementary school that a B was somewhere between an 80-89% you wouldn’t really know how well you did on a test, right? If you can give your employees a frame of reference it makes it much easier to see the opportunities they have for growth.

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  • Nice blog. Thanks for sharing. In addition positive environment can also motivate the employee and always offer feedback that emphasizes the positive.

  • Nice blog. Thanks for sharing. In addition positive environment can also motivate the employee and always offer feedback that emphasizes the positive.

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