Lisa Robbin Young

How To Keep Your Workforce Motivated

If you want your business to succeed, you must do a good job at keeping your workforce motivated. But what does that entail? What does it really take for the people in and serving your organization to stay motivated for the benefit of the company?

First, you have to realize that it's never about the company. Any team member is always going to put their own interests first. That's human nature. And if you create an environment that helps them believe that their interests are met, motivation rises.

Here are a few things to consider in your own company:

Be a good leader

What makes a good leader? It's more than results. I mean, that matters, sure, but there's so much more to leadership than that. It's actually about getting great results while forging stronger relationships with your employees. Ensuring that they feel safe and respected in their work, allowing them to be as productive as possible. Simon Sinek's TED talk explains further.

Safety is the foundational requirement for anyone to be able to take courageous actions. If you don't feel safe, you do the bare minimum because you're focused on your safety needs being met. That makes logical sense. Good leaders, create not just a sense of safety, but an Environment of Empowerment for their teams to thrive in.

Motivational or Inspirational Events 

"Events" can take on a number of appearances. These don't have to be big corporate gatherings a la Apple's World Wide Developer Conference or a National Conference if you're in direct sales - but it can. It can also be a more intimate appreciation event.

Identifying and praising those that have done well, providing them with additional bonuses such as weekends away, spa days, and electronics can inspire and motivate folks for months or years to come. I knew a woman who had an ambitious sales goal for her first year on the job. When she met that goal, she was rewarded with a 7-day cruise!

Consistency awards are also a powerful motivator. Not everyone can be tops in sales or lead their department, but the folks who are showing up and consistently contributing are just as important. Celebrating everyone in the team by providing them with good food and a positive atmosphere at the event is also a good idea. You may even wish to consider working with one or two executive speakers for your event. Bringing in a celebrity or someone well known from outside the organization can make a big impact on team morale. I've been hired to come into national conferences, local sales meetings, and even leadership training events to help educate and motivate a company's teams to greater success.

Give them responsibility 

It's important to give your workforce appropriate levels of responsibility that they can "rise up" to. Challenges that stretch (but do not break) your team help them feel more confident in their own abilities.

Foster a culture of delegation throughout your organization. Make it clear to your employees that you expect them to rise to the occasion when they are given additional responsibility, and make it meaningful by getting them to record it and use it in their next review. This isn't an invitation to pass the buck. It's an invitation to growth and to instill a greater sense of trust and community in the organization.

Share positive feedback

Everyone wants to know that they are doing well at their job. Knowing we are making a positive difference is a motivating factor for most people. We want to feel like we belong and contributing in meaningful ways. Reward in public, admonish in private. Remember that safety matters. No amount of feedback will help if your team doesn't trust you or feel safe receiving feedback from you. Even positive feedback doesn't make a positive impact if your team doesn't trust you.

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