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6 free ways to motivate staff

6 free ways to motivate staff
Helen Straw
Staff development, Mentor, Business development
Find out more about Helen Straw

In this article you’ll learn

  • How to give timely, useful and rewarding feedback to your staff
  • Tips for keeping your staff engaged in their work
  • How you can use your business values to motivate staff

There are lots of ways to motivate staff in your business, and contrary to popular belief, this doesn’t have to cost you a penny. Some of the best tips for motivating employees won’t cost you anything but time and will have a longer lasting effect than buying a round of drinks one Friday after work. Make small changes to how you run your business to develop a motivated workforce that will stay loyal to your business.

Here are our top 6 ways to motivate staff:

1. Giving feedback

Having regular time to touch base with your employees can be a great way to keep them motivated. If you need to give a bit of constructive feedback to improve their work, make sure that you also bring up some of the good things that they’ve been doing too – getting that balance is key. You’ll also want to make sure that whatever feedback you’re giving comes in a timely manner. If you leave it three months before congratulating an employee on a good piece of work, they’ll think it has gone unnoticed and it might have a negative impact on their motivation.

Young man and woman researching ways to motivate staff in their office on a shared laptopYoung man and woman at work researching ways to motivate staff on a shared laptop 

Give examples when you’re chatting with your employees as that shows them that you’re really paying attention to what they’re doing and value their contributions to your business. It can also clue them in to the things that you appreciate and to some of the actions or behaviours they might need to tweak.

For some more guidance for having great feedback meetings with your staff, check out this article.

2. Spot people doing good stuff and tell them

If you’ve noticed that certain members of your team are doing really well in their jobs, you should tell them! Everybody appreciates recognition for a job well done and something as simple as letting them know their hard work isn’t going unnoticed is one of the best ways to motivate staff. It all helps to make your employee feel valued and important in your business. Don’t take it as a given that your staff will always do their jobs well and let them know you appreciate it when they work hard.

3. Find out what floats their boat

Your employees are individuals and you’ll need to take the time to figure out what makes the different employees in your business tick. What is a great motivator for one person won’t necessarily work for another. Some might love a particular part of their job, so find a way for them to do more of it, while others may enjoy achieving targets and you could work with them to set goals that they can work towards. What motivates each person will be different, but with some considered thought, you can find out what floats their boat and keeps them on task.

Young boss in the office with his multicultural team demonstrating ways to motivate staff in the office 

4. Keep your staff engaged

There are four key drivers to engagement, and making use of them all in your business will increase your staff motivation:

  • Strong leadership with a vision – if you take the time to let your employees know what you want from your business and where you want to take it in the future, they’ll be motivated into helping you get there, as they'll feel like a valuable part of the plan.
  • Empowerment and engagement – managers who engage staff in their work and inspire trust in your employees are invaluable. Take the time to build a relationship with your staff and you’ll see their engagement levels rise.
  • Employee voice – give your employees the chance to challenge how you do things, let them know that their voices and opinions will be heard and encourage them to offer suggestions for how you can improve your business.
  • Trust and integrity – if your employees feel trusted to do their jobs and know that they can trust your business to look after their needs, then they’ll be much more motivated in their work.

5. Have consistent performance management systems in place

If your staff know that what they’re doing is going to be monitored it should increase their motivation. If you work with your employees to set realistic goals that they can achieve in a designated time period, you should not only see an increase in productivity, but in their motivation to succeed. Planning performance targets with your team helps everyone feel involved in the business and makes sure that each person is working towards a shared goal.

Young man and woman in the office talking about ways to motivate staff 

Having regular meetings with your staff to discuss their performance also gives you the perfect chance to chat with them about their personal development. Your employee will be able to talk to you about what additional skills or opportunities they feel would benefit their job role. You might not be able to cater to them all, but investing in training or equipment will show your employee you care about their views and want to help them develop as an individual. If you’re worried about losing productivity while they’re training, we’ve got some tips that will help you find the time.

If you’d like some more detailed guidance on setting up an effective performance management system in your business, check out these tips.

6. Use your values

When you sat down to write your business plan, you’ll have considered what your business values were going to be. To help you motivate employees, you should make sure that these values run throughout every single thing your business does. Your employees need to live and breathe your values. Not only does it make you more appealing to potential customers, your staff and your business will also reap the benefits too. Maintaining these values helps to make each member of your staff feel like part of a cohesive team and make it easier for them to support each other in their personal goals, as they all feed in to the greater business culture.

You can find out more about developing company values and using them in your business here.

Call to action to download a free guide to workplace health and wellbeing  

Summary

Helen Straw, human resources expert, talks you through some of the best ways to motivate staff while sticking to your budget.