How to Keep Your Employees Motivated and Why It Matters So Much

Photograph of the Harland team on the beach

It’s hard to walk down a high street at the moment and not see a sign that says “Staff Wanted.” As advisors to business, we find this alarming. When a business grows beyond being a “one man band,” being surrounded by a great team is of the utmost importance. It’s what allows a business to flourish and grow, enables a business owner to have peaceful time off and time out of the day to day running of the business. It also makes running a business highly rewarding. Conversely therefore, not having enough staff can be stressful and can compromise service delivery.

So when it comes to building a great team and importantly, keeping team turnover low, motivation is key. Keeping employees motivated is vital to your profits, innovation and customer service. Let’s take a closer look at the importance of employee motivation and dive into some top tips on how to keep your team inspired.

Why Motivation Matters

Employee motivation has a direct impact on the financial health of your business. A study by the Harvard Business Review (HBR) found that improving employee motivation can increase gross revenue by up to 47%.

On top of this, motivated employees are more likely to stay loyal to your company rather than seeking roles elsewhere. The HBR has also reported that a 5% increase in employee retention can boost profitability by 25-85%. It’s not just a cost in recruitment fees, but also slow down in getting new team members up to speed and familiar with your way of doing things.

What Employees Value

So we’ve established that employee motivation is a key component of a successful business, but how do you actually go about it?

It’s important to understand what your employees value so that you can use these factors to motivate them.

Of course, salary is important but there are many other factors that come into play in terms of employee satisfaction. In fact, the HBR found that salary was surprisingly far down the average list of priorities, which are as follows:

  • The role itself – duties, responsibilities, goals, principles and objectives. Employees want to feel that their work matters and contributes to a greater good.
  • Organisational identity –  company culture, values and ethics should align with the employee’s personal beliefs.
  • Career development – employees want to keep learning new skills and progress in their career.
  • Relationships with colleagues – positive relationships within teams are a key motivator for many workers. A strong team dynamic can help employers retain staff as well as improve productivity and innovation.
  • Leadership –  employees want and value clear, consistent leadership.
  • Compensation –  salary and benefits are still important, but employees are increasingly looking for flexible working arrangements, social responsibility programmes and other benefits that go beyond just a pay cheque.
  • Feedback, evaluation and opportunities to improve –  employees want to receive feedback on a regular basis so that they can understand how they’re doing and what areas to focus on.

Having been through a turbulent two years, we also believe that employees need to feel safe. They need to feel that they are no easily disposed of and that their livelihoods are not compromised.

How To Motivate Employees

Now that you understand what your employees value, it’s time to use these factors as the foundation of your motivation strategy.

A good starting point is with communication – keeping staff informed about company  happenings, sharing goals and objectives, and giving regular feedback will help employees feel more connected to their work. Remember that no-one wants to feel as though they’re stuck in a dead-end job or doing meaningless work.

It’s also important to create a positive workplace culture where employees feel comfortable taking risks and voicing new ideas. This can be done through team-building exercises, offering training and development opportunities, and celebrating successes together.

Safety in employment isn’t just physical safety. It’s feeling secure in the longer term financially that supports wellbeing. Offering private health care goes a long way to nurturing the sense of safety and often doesn’t cost as much as you might think.

Leadership is another key factor – employees need to feel that their leaders are competent and trustworthy. Leaders should be setting an example for the team, modelling desired behaviours and providing clear instructions.

Last but not least, it’s important to recognise and appreciate employees’ efforts. A simple ‘thank you’ can go a long way. However, internal awards and tokens of recognition are even more effective in motivating staff.

Final Thoughts

Employee motivation is a key component of any successful business. By understanding what employees value and using these factors to motivate them, you can create a positive work environment that encourages productivity and innovation. Increasing staff morale plays a powerful role in building a strong, profitable and innovative business so it’s well worth investing your time and energy into.

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