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If you read this blog, you know having happy employees is key to successful business. Showing appreciation and having effective communication are main factors encouraging happiness in your employees. Motivation is also crucial —and it’s not as simple as you might think. Today, we discuss ideas for successfully motivating your team.

Money Isn’t Everything

By far, the easiest motivator you can provide employees is money. However, throwing money at the problem is not always the best way to motivate. Yes, it’s wise to give regular raises and financial recognition, but you cannot keep offering raises every time employees seem unmotivated. People adjust to their new paychecks surprisingly quickly, making it difficult for them to maintain that post-raise enthusiasm.

A Hierarchy of Needs

To understand how to motivate employees, you need to know how motivation works. People are motivated based on their needs and their place in life. In 1943, a psychologist named Maslow came up with a model that defines this hierarchy of needs. At the most basic level, people need food, water, sleep, and shelter. By providing employees with a steady paycheck, you help them achieve these basic needs. From there, they are motivated by psychological needs. This is where money no longer suffices.

Once their basic needs are met, people need intimate relationships, friendship, prestige, and accomplishment. You can’t affect your employees’ personal lives, but you can encourage a sense of camaraderie with their team and accomplishment when it comes to their work.

The highest level of Maslow’s hierarchy deals with self-fulfillment. Each of us wants to achieve our highest level of potential, have creative input, and make a difference in the world. To fully motivate employees, help them not only meet their psychological needs, but also their self-fulfillment needs.

Create Strong Teams

Play off of our intrinsic need for friendship by creating strong teams. Employees are more motivated when they feel connected with their team members. Nobody wants to be the person who lets the team down. Be creative with team building exercises. Build team goals, create games, or invent lighthearted competitions between teams.

As you strengthen individual teams and your company as a whole, be sure to include everyone, no matter the employee’s role. Every team member plays a crucial role in your business, and you should work hard to ensure they understand their importance.

Seek Employee Input

One of the easiest ways to encourage employees to feel self-fulfillment is to seek their input. Involve employees in discussions about changes, whether the changes involve a new IT project or process, or even if they just are about what snacks to buy for the break room. Employees often offer insights and suggest ideas that management may not have considered. This opens up your idea pool to encourage your business to succeed, and also encourages employees to feel that they have creative input within the company, thus increasing motivation.

Handling Mistakes

Mistakes are inevitable in business, and they should be a part of your motivation strategy. Managers need to assess them with employees who make them and give positive reinforcement to avoid repeated mistakes. Be aware that mistakes are often not the surface issue, but an underlying issue. For example, an employee may make several mistakes that can be traced back to not carefully reading project emails. Being aware of these less obvious issues can help correct problem behavior instead of just fixing a single issue.

Set Them Up for Success

The best thing you can do for employee motivation and performance is to set them up for success. Give them the tools, information, and resources they need to succeed up front so they can achieve. If employees feel like they are ill-equipped for success, their motivation suffers—which in turn leads to poor performance. Watch for employees who struggle and determine what you can do to help them succeed. Remember, there will always be employees who are simply unable to perform as needed; however, you should make every effort to help before deciding that the employee has underlying performance issues.

For more guidance on how to create a multi-faceted motivation strategy, make an appointment with one of our business development managers today.


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