As a business owner and manager for decades now, I have never stopped trying to learn new ways how to motivate my employees. People can manage successfully for years, but times change and it’s essential to keep up with innovations in this area. It turns out that the number one predictor of employee retention is how they get along with their immediate supervisor, so your success can ultimately depend on the relationship that you build with them. It is usually a fine line that you must follow – somewhere in between authority figure and confidant. Many managers stick with solely one side or the other, either making the mistake of being a dictator or acting as a best friend. So how do you navigate the murky waters of employee motivation?
Reward Systems – What do they really want?
Whether you are leading a team of 30 or just a one or two, it is important to create a reward system personalized for your employees. Find out what really motivates them to hit the numbers you are looking for. Maybe its extra time off or it may be purely money based – or it could be as simple as getting the prime parking spot, or a stress ball when they’ve accomplished a task. A lot of managers tend to think that, “Well they get a paycheck and that’s their reward,” but going the extra mile by rewarding them will get you further loyalty as well as better employee retention.
Earn Their Respect
Do you work as hard as your employees do? Personally, I just would never ask an employee to do anything that I couldn’t do myself – you don’t want them to feel like a servant, they want to be purposeful and valued. You need to set the example and then they will be inspired to follow.
That’s what I loved about my first very first job at Enterprise Rent-A-Car. They have a remarkable system of grooming their employees into the upper ranks of management. Everyone starts at the bottom in sales, manning the desks as well as being responsible for all of the accounting and car fleet upkeep. You felt ownership in opening the branch everyday, like you were really a part of the company. Help your employees feel like they are an integral part of your company’s success by giving them what ownership you can. Make them feel like you are in this together and they will respect you as a leader, and your success as a manager will soar!
You Can’t Make Everyone Happy
Here’s where the fine line comes in again. If you are too rigid your employees will respond by being unmotivated and stubborn. If you are too lenient it can result in employees running over you and taking advantage. So at the outset you need to realize that you can’t make everyone happy. Structure is important and providing your employees with a description of what is exactly expected of them is a great start. It is important that you can provide them with clear goals that lead to the aforementioned rewards or advancement within the company. By being consistent as well as creative, you too can have happy and motivated employees.
Being a successful manager can be a really tough job at times. Every company you create or work for will bring with it different personalities and work styles. You need to be open to new ideas and look for best practices among your coworkers as well as other sources. By continuing to learn and be receptive to change, your job will be easier and your employees will be stay motivated!
About the Author: Samantha Hathaway is an entrepreneurial business owner and blogger.