Although I have worked for the same company for the past 18 years, I have worked in many different sites and had a variety of different managers. I’ve also managed lots of different teams. When first became a manager I often worried and wondered how to keep my employees motivated. After a few mistakes as a new manager and more experience, I feel like I developed the skills of making my employees feel valued and motivated. Being middle management meant I couldn’t make lots of changes to process and policy, but how I spoke to and treated my colleagues made a big difference.
Whether you are a blogger who employs a part-time virtual assistant, or a manager in a massive company – these tips will hopefully help you keep your employees motivated.
Having employees that are happy, motivated and engaged can really help improve their productivity, quality of work and reduce the number of leavers and sick days.
These tips are written from the point of view of an employee and someone who has years of management experience and how I got the best out of my colleagues.
How to keep employees motivated
Keep your promises.
If you have an employee who wants to book a holiday or talk to you about something – try to do it there and then. This gets the task out of the way rather than adding another point to your diary to remember. If this isn’t possible then state a time and place and STICK to it.
While booking a holiday or talking about an issue might not seem like a big deal to you, it may be for your colleague. You breaking promises or not sticking to appointments is basically saying ‘I don’t have time for you’.
The same goes for meetings, reviews, training – anything you have planned in. Only change it if it’s absolutely out of your control. This is something I’ve always felt really passionate about.
Improving business performance can be done easily by offering incentives. This could be something as small as a box of chocolates or a bottle of wine to say thank you for something if you are a small business to something bigger, such as a company car, a pension scheme and free shares.
Say hello to your employees every day.
Unless I walked straight into a meeting, I always made a point to find my colleagues and say hello. I would spend 5 minutes asking about their weekends or how their workload was looking.
This was something I often failed to do when I wasn’t an experienced manager. It lead to a lot of problems at times as if one of my colleagues had an issue, I wasn’t there to resolve it for them. I found most of the time they just needed to voice their frustration and feel listened to. I used to really dread this and try to avoid it (I once worked somewhere with other departments that often had a negative impact on my departments’ workload). Listening to your employees really helps.
Ask their opinions on changes.
If you are thinking of changing something, ask for their opinions and thoughts on it. Often your employees may have a more practical suggestion if they are the ones doing ‘the day job’ that you are overseeing. They may even have some great suggestions. It’s a really great way to allow them to feel valued, seen and heard.
Be ready to pitch in.
Giving even 30 minutes of your time may be a big help to your colleagues. You can also use this as an opportunity to sense check their ways of working to see if they have any training needs or get to know them better to build your relationship.
Be firm, but fair.
Being a manager means you have to make decisions or have conversations with people that might be difficult. You can’t shy away from these but have to be fair, even if you are met with some resistance.
As you can see, there are many ways to motivate your employees no matter what your budget is – the most valuable thing you can offer is your time!