Are your employees as motivated as they could be? Sadly, they are probably not – only 36 percent of American employees say they feel engaged at work.
It’s just not easy to keep employees engaged, especially when so many of the factors that foster high engagement are beyond your control as an employer. Engagement levels can fluctuate due to factors like an employee’s health status or things that are going on for them at home. The best you can do is create a workplace where employees are supported to give as much as they can to their work. Support your employees’ career growth, give plenty of recognition, treat people with respect, and give them some independence and flexibility, and you’ll find that they become more motivated and engaged and do better work.
Support Your Employees’ Career Growth
All of your employees want to advance in their careers. They want opportunities to learn and develop new skills or earn new credentials. Even more so, perhaps, many of them want to know that they have a future at the company – that there is room for advancement.
Rather than let your employees stagnate in their careers, it’s best to offer them opportunities to build new skills and room to move up in your company. Provide training and certification opportunities. Offer tuition reimbursement for employees who want to go back to school. Encouraging employees to develop new skills can help them make the shift from thinking of their jobs as careers instead of just jobs. Giving them room for advancement at the company will encourage them to stick around longer.
Give Recognition When It’s Due
Everyone deserves some recognition for what they bring to their work, and not just during annual performance reviews, either. All of your employees are doing something that deserves recognition. Maybe they’re bringing in snacks to help others feel motivated. Maybe they’re never, ever late. Maybe they’ll do what it takes to provide the best customer service. Maybe they’ve been with the company for years and years.
You can give employee anniversary recognition, have everyone sign birthday cards, say thanks verbally or in a note, or shout-out an employee’s achievement in the company newsletter. The main thing is that everyone should feel their efforts are seen and valued, and that will mean expressing some recognition to each of your employees on a regular, and frequent, basis.
Be Respectful and Honest
Many employees feel that respectfulness is the most important trait that a leader can have. People will certainly want to stick around longer in a workplace if the boss is respectful and honest. Always be respectful in all of your interactions with your employees, whether you’re giving constructive criticism, resolving a conflict, having a one-on-one, or sending an email. Your employees will respond well to feeling respected, and will feel more motivated to do a good job.
Let Your Employees Have Some Independence
Micromanaging your employees is a good way to sabotage their engagement levels, performance, and productivity. People just don’t do their best work when they have someone standing over them all the time. They feel controlled and stressed out, and that makes them less motivated and less able to bring forth their best efforts.
Your employees are adults and should be skilled enough to do the job without constant supervision. Step back and give them the space they need to work effectively. Employees feel more engaged with their work when they’re able to make their own decisions regarding the order in which tasks get done, how they’re completed, and how long they take.
Allow for Some Flexibility
These days, people want flexibility at work more than they ever did before COVID. Flexibility at work helps relieve some of the stress burden of managing a busy modern life. It can help employees balance their personal lives with their professional lives, and relieve much of the stress burden of making that balance work. Offering some schedule flexibility, or the ability to work from home at least some of the time, shows that you understand your employees have lives outside of work and want to make work something they do to support their personal lives, rather than expecting them to adhere to a rigid schedule and suffer through a long commute.
Keeping your employees motivated and engaged at work isn’t always easy. You have to put a lot of effort into recognizing your employees’ efforts and supporting their careers. It’s worth it, though, for the benefits, it can bring to your business – and the boost it can give to your bottom line.