10 methods for keeping staff motivated and happy

Just as there are different ways to reward your staff, there are also a variety of ways for keeping staff motivated and happy. A study conducted by Hay Group in 2017 found that workplaces with ‘engaged’ employees (those who ‘work with passion and feel a deep connection to their company’) are 43% more productive as workplaces. So, what are the best methods for keeping staff motivated and happy?

1. Provide supportive leadership

This is a slightly generic term as it could mean a whole host of approaches, however it is a good principle to follow when you inevitably become bogged down in the various responsibilities of your role and you forget to pay attention to whether you have been a supportive leader. It is up to you to define this term but after some reflection you should be able to answer this question. If the answer is no, consider the following nine approaches to get you there.

2. Approach staff individually

There is no one-size-fits-all approach that effectively works in keeping staff motivated. Approach the management of your staff with the individual in mind. This is somewhat unavoidable as you notice that individuals respond differently from one another to your feedback and management, but consider whether your feedback and your management is tailored to suit that individual from the start. Some people may not need much incentive to feel driven towards their work, while others may respond well to certain approaches, such as praise that presages any constructive critique of their work.

3. Allow for failure

Promote the message that staff are free to approach you with ideas they feel are innovative and that can help the company or their own work. Another way of saying this, make time for your staff. Even if they approach you with something you are hesitant about, don’t immediately knock it back. While you certainly don’t want to support any ideas that could harm your company, if you think there is a chance someone’s idea may work, support them in realising this idea. If they fail, work with them through this failure so that they can understand the lessons that failure teaches them about their work and the business you run.

4. Recognize and reward

Realise the clear difference between rewarding your staff and recognising their efforts. Simply rewarding staff for overtime with remuneration risks promoting a culture of overwork and stress. There are the rewards of having a workplace staff wish to work within, monetary rewards, and the rewards associated with receiving praise, whether it be personal one-on-one praise, or publicised praise within the company.

Two men shake hands in an office.

5. Create pathways for progression

To help create strong staff retention, communicate the possible pathways employees can follow within your company, especially if they are pathways/opportunities that they may not have conceived as relevant to their current role. For instance, there may be someone who works within the marketing/PR department who shows clear potential and a leaning towards sales, project management, accounts, client services or anything related to your business. Once you recognise this, have an informal chat with them and open their eyes to where else within your company they could work.

6. Share responsibility

Share the responsibility of certain tasks with others, such as holding meetings, with various members of staff. If you have middle management within your company, ensure they are promoting leadership amongst those working for them by sharing their leadership. If they know this is what you want to promote, there is less chance of them feeling threatened by staff holding meetings for example.

7. Allow pets!

If no OH&S is compromised, be the boss that brings their dog in each day, and if you are feeling brave, encourage others to do the same. Nothing does a better job at keeping staff motivated than a pair of doting dog’s eyes looking up at them.

President Barack Obama pets Bo, the Obama family dog, in the Oval Office, June 21, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama pets Bo, the Obama family dog, in the Oval Office, June 21, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

8. Know your staff personally

Show interest in your staff’s personal lives without being intrusive. Employees who feel not only appreciated but also ‘known’ by their employers are more likely to feel accountable for their role within the company. A clear example of this is allowing significant others at work-related events, such as Christmas parties and other social events. Be interested in your employees’ partners and lives. If you aren’t interested, you won’t be able to fake it and you probably shouldn’t be managing people.

9. Sweat the small stuff

This doesn’t mean micro manage, but be aware of the smaller jobs and achievements that help your business grow, and make sure those responsible for those developments know their efforts are appreciated. This can take the form of a single line email that takes you 20 seconds to write.

10. Create an atmosphere conducive to work

Work with your staff in developing a workplace they feel is conducive to work. Talk to individuals as well because you may find that without feeling peer pressure, some employees will communicate their real opinions on how they think they can work best.


(Header photo source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00jd68z)


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