A major challenge for a line manager is to motivate every member of a team.
It’s not straightforward as not all individuals respond to the same incentives. Line managers need to discover a positive trigger for each employee in their charge.
Top ten workplace motivators
Here are ten ways to motivate employees:
- ask what they want out of work: knowing that a line manager is interested in an employee’s goals will make many feel better about their jobs
- consider each employee’s age and life stage: workers just starting out on the employment ladder will be more focused on quick promotions than those who are already further in their careers
- match motivators to the organisation’s culture: engineers may be motivated by working on cutting-edge projects while sales professionals use targets to measure how well they’re doing
- pinpoint personalities: some employees love public praise; others would much prefer quiet thanks
- use flexible working to makes employees’ lives more manageable and show them they’re trusted
- honesty, reliability and security are the top three traits employees are looking for in their managers
- presenteeism is out, work-life balance is in
- offer help with career goals: when asking employees what kind of work they enjoy, find out what they’re hoping to do in future. Opportunities to build skills and make connections needed to get ahead in their careers will build loyalty and motivation
- help employees learn new skills on the job: younger workers, in particular, realise that continuing to learn is the way to stay employable
- recognise that motivation isn't always the answer: if your efforts aren't working, it may not be your fault (the employee would really rather be doing something else, it may be best to encourage them to pursue something new).
Top workplace demotivators
One, or more, of the following practices is a certain way to demotivate your employees:
- pointing out an employee's mistake publicly rarely ends well
- if employees feel their hard work is unnoticed, they’ll wonder why they’re working so hard in the first place. Offer praise, privately and publicly
- after soliciting ideas, asking what employees think about a policy, or asking for a draft proposal, be sure to relay the results, even if there is no results. Failure to acknowledge input shows a lack of respect
- setting unachievable goals or deadlines
- failing to explain actions or sharing company data
- implied threats, especially to a whole team publicly, have the opposite effect when it comes to motivation
- not honouring employees’ creative thinking and problem solving
- micromanagement is, perhaps, the worst demotivator. Employees need to feel trusted and valued to succeed - micromanaging communicates the opposite.