Many managers struggle to get employees to hit targets and even if they do, they find it significantly difficult to motivate people to give more than 100%. Obviously, money is a core motivator and a great way of incentivizing people… but is that all? Or can you do it without money?
If you want to build strong teams who give 100%, you’ll need to lead from the front, align employees with your vision or sense of purpose, and show them how their impact counts. Everyone wants to believe they are contributing to something bigger than themselves. They want to believe that what they do with their 8 hour (minimum) work day makes a difference. People also want to create stronger bonds with coworkers and have clearly defined tasks or objectives to work towards… for the most part, it seems simple. But it’s not. Somewhere along the way, frustrations arise and people ask themselves “am I really getting paid enough for what I do?” Then, productivity drops, teamwork struggles because not everyone is pulling equal weight and suddenly managers are so busy putting out fires around the office that they don’t have the energy left to inspire people like they had once dreamed of. Instead, everyone works the 9–5, goes home and focuses their efforts elsewhere. Here’s a few quick tips to help you get it right:
Create Vision That Motivates
Employees want to know what they are working towards — What is the purpose? How does it help others? What is the company vision? In any organization, it’s essential to have a clearly defined mission. Products and services are created to fill a gap and provide a solution where none existed before. Build a story that people believe in and can rally around.
- Who are you there to serve?
- How do you give back to the community?
- How does your work make an impact?
- What is your vision of the future?
- Why should people support you/buy from you instead of someone else?
Lead from the Front
Inspiration is the best for of motivation… but it requires hard work and a commitment to something. If you are a hardworking leader but always flip-flop on which direction to lead, then it doesn’t help much.
The best leaders are driven by an internal mission. Much like the questions in the bullet points above, good leaders understand their “why” and can motivate others towards achieving the stated objective.
Managers who lead from the front are significantly more effective at creating a culture of performance, recognition and cohesion. A few quick tips to help get you started:
- Provide clearly defined goals and expectations so that everyone is on the same page and knows how they will be measured.
- Show progress of performance, ideally in real-time so that employees understand exactly how they are performing against targets.
- Don’t overburden employees by micro-managing or setting unreal expectations. Be firm, be fair, give them the goal, and get out of their way.
- Provide sense of purpose. People spend at least 40 hours per week of their life at work so it’s important for them to feel connected to the objectives.
- Recognize and reward good performance! When targets are hit, celebrate and build a culture of appreciation.
Show How Their Impact Counts
So, you’ve created a vision that people believe in and managed to inspire by leading from the front. Now, it’s time to show your employees how much they matter to your bottom line.
A new study from Robert Half Management Resources revealed that 53 percent of all professionals wish they had more insight into the effects of their contributions on their companies’ bottom lines.
To help employers, here are several tips for keeping workers more informed about how their contributions matter:
- Give updates to everyone. Often, employers provide financial updates only to high-ranking managers and executives. Conversations about company performance and how workers are meeting, or not meeting, goals should be held with everyone in the organization, regardless of their level. Giving workers a better understanding of how their contributions make an impact is a good way to help employees improve their performance.
- Have regular discussions. Instead of detailing how the company is performing only once or twice a year, employers should have their managers give more specific feedback to individual employees on a regular basis.
- Get an outside perspective. It never hurts to hear what those outside the organization think of how the company is performing. Every so often, check in with those in your network, or industry consultants, to not only get their insight into how the company is performing, but also to learn best practices from other organizations.
Employees who see the direct correlation between their contributions and company performance are more engaged, make better spending decisions and can identify new ways to increase productivity and growth.