Business owners often struggle with the task of keeping employees motivated. While some workers are going to give you their all every day, you can’t count on that. Many people require motivation in order to keep them on top of their game.

When you motivate employees, everybody comes out a winner. Your job is easier, the employee works at a higher level, and the company reaches new heights. Think of it as an important investment, not as a chore or an obligation.

Motivated employees

Now that you understand the importance of keeping employees motivated, let’s focus on how to do so. Here are five tips:

1. Open the lines of communication

You cannot motivate employees unless you feel comfortable communicating with them. From one-on-one conversations to a newsletter, there are ways to ensure that the lines of communication are always open. This gives you many outlets for motivation.

I like to say that the best ideas are not going to come to you when you’re locked away in your office or in a conference room. The best ideas come from talking to employees, getting them involved and engaged.

2. Set a good example

Do you want your employees to work hard? You should do the same. You are looked up to as the owner of the company. When you do things the right way, it motivates others to follow suit.

This doesn’t mean you have to have your foot on the gas all the time, pushing your employees further and further. Sometimes you’re more laid back, sometimes you’re more direct. You have to develop a rhythm where the people who work for you don’t burn out or, on the other hand, become complacent.

3. Let them know they are doing a good job

Your words can go a long way in keeping employees motivated. Sometimes, a simple “good job” is all it takes to keep a person motivated and excited about what the future holds.

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photo credit: m01229 / Flickr

Everyone wants to be recognized, even if you think they’re getting compensated well enough not to need a pat on the back. People take pride in their work and they want their boss to acknowledge that.

4. Provide incentives

Do you give bonuses when employees reach particular goals? What about small rewards when they refer new customers? Create an incentive strategy that will motivate employees to work hard, day in and day out.

It’s a little extra cash in their pocket, which will keep them satisfied as an employee, and it’s a wise investment for the growth of your business. A win-win.

5. Develop a theme

Sometimes even good employees need something to focus on. This is that touch point they can come back to when they ask themselves, am I doing a good job? Am I doing the right thing?

Last year our theme was service and we really focused on going above and beyond for each and every single customer. This year we’re building on that with the theme of innovation – how can we find new ways to create a better experience for customers and a more efficient business internally?

Motivation requires thought and effort, and it’s something you have to work at just like other aspects of your business. These five tips should give you a push in the right direction.