Keeping your staff motivated can be a real challenge.
Especially when there are things getting in the way, like bank holidays, snow storms and the anticipation of chocolate eggs!
Most companies will have the employees who work all hours just to get recognised and make a difference but then you may also have the ‘clock-watchers’ who simply turn up to receive a wage at the end of every month.
They’re usually the ones that leave at 5.30pm on the dot.
That’s fine! You can’t force people to do more – and to be honest, it’s often unhealthy when people are working around the clock without a break.
And then there are the individuals with all of the potential, but who require a metaphorical kick up the bum to start performing.
As a manager, if you don’t recognise how to get the most out of these employees, you could start to see an uncomfortable culture developing.
Hardworking employees will feel resentful towards their lazy co-workers (and start to become disengaged themselves) and vice versa (no one wants to be made to feel guilty for leaving on time).
So let’s take a look at how to keep your less motivated employees, motivated.
1. Communicate, Honestly.
You’ll be surprised what a few honest words can do to keep employees motivated (and happy).
You could start by calling informal one to one meetings with individuals to discuss how they think things are going and any concerns they might have about the company.
In most cases, there’ll be reasons why certain individuals are underperforming; it could be personal issues, unreachable targets or a lack of support to successfully complete an aspect of their job.
This conversation will hopefully help you establish who is doing fine, who is struggling to stay motivated and the lazy employees who simply need an extra incentive to start performing again.
If your employees open up about their personal lives, it will give you a chance to provide ongoing support.
You see, sometimes a ‘lazy’ employee simply has more pressing issues elsewhere. So with your guidance and level of empathy, you can help these employees tackle their problems and ultimately get the best out of them.
Communicating with your staff will also give you the chance to identify their strengths, weaknesses and preferences. You can then start to allocate certain jobs to ensure every individual is happy and motivated.
You should also take this opportunity to remind each individual just how valuable they are to your business.
Recruiter pro tip
If you’re not convinced that your staff will give you totally honest feedback in a face to face meeting, anonymous employee satisfaction surveys are a great alternative.
Cover working hours, progression opportunities and office environment satisfaction in the survey.
This way, while you won’t have the necessary information to help certain individuals, you will establish a broader understanding of issues within the company. You can then use this knowledge to make wholesale changes.
2. Give them objectives and more responsibility.
A lack of motivation can often emerge when an employee doesn’t have the right direction or objectives in place.
For those who require it, set strict targets to help push them to success.
Agreeing on targets and prioritising workloads with your employees will make them much more accountable, meaning the lazy ones won’t have anywhere to hide.
For the best results, try using the SMART formula for targets:
Specific. Measurable. Achievable. Relevant. Time Based.
Just remember to set realistic ones. Otherwise, your staff might give up or feel stressed.
For the employees who are just bored and feel like they are stuck in a rut, offering more responsibility can spark the positive response you desire.
Great minds need challenging, so by increasing responsibility, you should start to get the best out of employees.
3. Reward and incentivise.
Whether your staff are lazy or super motivated, incentivising different projects or aspects of a job role can unite a team and get more out of each individual.
Offering a reward to those who exceed their SMART targets should encourage everyone to go the extra mile for the business.
And just remember, your incentives don’t have to be monetary or only awarded for sales success.
You can see how other big brands are incentivising their employees to increase staff retention rates in our previous blog.
4. Provide opportunities for progression.
One of the best incentives to keep staff motivated is a clear route for progression. If you give your employees a snapshot of the future, the chances are they’ll make an increased effort to reach it.
After all, would you like to be stuck in a job with no prospects of promotion, new responsibilities or change in pay?
You could simply offer your employees the opportunity to earn a pay rise every year when they exceed their SMART goals.
Or you could get them working towards a future promotion.
Either way, offering progression is key to keep motivation levels high.
5. Offer training.
Some employees may feel demotivated or like they are a burden to the business if they are unable to do a part of their job to a good level.
Others may feel stuck in a rut if they are not given any kind of opportunity to improve their skills as they work.
If you develop employees through training, you’ll be rewarded by a team who are more committed and capable of completing their jobs at a much higher level.
6. Find the bad apple(s).
As ruthless as it sounds, sometimes it’s all about knowing when to give up.
Unfortunately, some staff members simply don’t share the same drive to make your business succeed, so it might be time to make a change.
No one likes to work hard and then see a co-worker getting away with murder. Failure to address these ‘bad apples’ can bring down the morale of the team and lead to unwanted departures.
As frustrating as it may be, try not to make any rash decisions on lazy or demotivated staff. Simply communicate and get to know their needs on a one to one basis.
The most important thing to remember is that every human is different.
It’s your role as a manager to identify what kind of person they are. With that, you can create a plan that is capable of bringing the best out of them.
Think you’ve got a bad egg in your office? Here’s some advice from humanity.com.
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