Sarah’s transfer to another store branch took no one by surprise. As a senior manager, she was a great boss and everyone knew it. Sure of her skills, she took on her new role with gratitude. Little did she know that she would get more than she asked for.
Her new job meant managing a bunch of people with zero motivation and engagement. Most of them were always late in coming to work. Absenteeism was rampant as well. Sarah knew that her team needed to get motivated, and fast.

Employee Demotivation Affects Everyone

Sarah is not alone in her problem. In the United States, more than 70% of the work force remains disengaged. In fact, one study showed that companies are losing $300 billion yearly due to a demotivated workforce.
Employee engagement belongs to 2 categories:

The Engaged. An engaged worker is enthusiastic and efficient. He is also proactive and motivated. He believes in the company and works hard to make the organization succeed.

The Disengaged. Once an engaged worker, this type of employee lost his passion for the job. Possible causes include miscommunication, micromanagement or boredom. Lack of progress due to insufficient skills is also a common cause. Now, this employee only views his job as a way to get a paycheck. Disengaged workers are experts in spreading bad vibes. They let others know how miserable they are. As a result, most of them drag the whole team down because of their negativity.

Benefits Of A Motivated Team

On the positive side, engaged workers are 43% more productive than demotivated ones. A motivated workforce has low turnover and high office morale. Absenteeism drops and employees show passion for their jobs.
Motivation also plays a big role in retaining good employees. In one study, 66% of employees in companies with an incentive program were willing to stay in their jobs.

The Best Ways to Motivate Employees

A motivated team works well together, gets jobs done faster and makes a manager’s job easier. In the case of Sarah, she used a three-step approach to motivate her team:

1. Increase employee morale.

The key to boosting morale lies in building healthy relationships. Take the time to know each member of the team no matter how difficult it is at first. When you do get to know them, they’ll learn just how much you value their contributions.
Here are some other ways to build your relationships with your team:

  • Set achievable goals.

Goals give purpose and help your team understand how they fit in. Set weekly goals and milestones to give them direction. Once your team reaches their milestones, treat them to dinner or a night out.

  • Invest in their professional growth.

Be an active encourager to your team. Listen to their ideas during one-on-one check-ins. Give useful feedback about their work. Also, allow them to hone their skills through trainings and seminars.

  • Encourage new ideas.

Create an open environment that is safe and fun to work in. Stress the importance of being proactive. Allow them to think out of the box.

  • Respect their non-work time.

Help your team create a healthy life-work balance. Always consider and respect your team’s work hours and overtime.

Also, make sure to thank your employees often for a job well done.

2. Use awards and recognition.

Awards and recognition play an important role in motivation. Receiving praise and thanks gives employees an added boost to work harder. Show them that you value their efforts by putting in place an effective rewards system.
You can recognize your employees in a variety of simple ways:

  • Take time to thank each employee by name.
  • Cite the specific reason for the recognition. This reinforces positive behavior.
  • Explain how their work made you proud.
  • Show how their effort added value to the company.

Recognition is usually in the form of printed certificates or plaques. You can even hold a short ceremony when handing out these awards. If you want to be more practical, you can give them something of value instead like a parking spot or extra vacation time.

3. Give monetary awards.

Of course, cash still motivates many employees. Yet these awards are at the bottom of their preferences. Even if money is useful, they still prefer non-monetary awards as morale boosters. This is even truer when the pay of the employee already suits his lifestyle.
For best results, pair monetary awards with non-monetary ones. Also, giving monetary awards works best for people in the sales positions.
Aside from cash, you can also reward employees with:

  • concert or movie tickets
  • gift cards
  • vouchers
  • paid holidays

Motivation Starts with YOU

As a manager, you must learn and apply the motivational techniques best suited to your team. Lead by example and keep open lines of communication at all times. In fact, you need to be proactive and sensitive to the needs of your people.
Bear in mind that motivated employees treat customers well. They are also more productive, goal driven and happy with their work. As a leader, don’t be afraid to foster creativity and openness in your workplace.

Remember that if you care for your team, they will return the favor tenfold, hundredfold or even more.

And what happened to Sarah and her demotivated team? Well, she invested a couple of months getting to know her staff. She also put into place a good rewards system that gave both recognition and monetary rewards. You’ll be glad to hear that their branch won Store of the Year last year. All her efforts paid off because she knew how to properly motivate her team.


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