There’s a lot to be said for hiring the best people available, but there’s more to assembling a great team than that. As a leader in your organization, it’s your job to motivate and inspire the best from each and every one of your employees.
People who don’t feel valued and respected, who feel like their creativity or independence is stifled, who feel micromanaged, who believe they are unfairly compensated, who don’t have a good grasp on what’s expected of them, who feel like they’re in a dead-end position… these people don’t consistently deliver their best work.
Here are 20 important ways to get the best from all your employees. When your team is doing great work, every area of your organization benefits.
- Set a positive example of productivity; employees work harder for leaders they see working hard and they tend to slack off more for bosses who are perceived to not do much.
- Incentivize with profit sharing, commissions, bonuses, extra paid vacation days, or other financial rewards for better results.
- Offer perks around the office to boost morale and loyalty.
- Offer perks outside the office too, such as a monthly lunch or other social gathering.
- Provide every employee with educational and training opportunities for personal and professional development.
- Meet with each employee individually to discuss their career goals and help them create a plan to achieve them.
- Ask employees whether they feel their skills and interests are being applied well; use this feedback to place people in the right positions, or even just to tweak job descriptions.
- Focus on motivating individuals, rather than the group as a whole; different people respond to different things.
- Always show your employees gratitude, encouragement, positive reinforcement, and respect.
- Acknowledge good ideas and results.
- Let employees earn more influence and autonomy through better results.
- Don’t prioritize productivity over results; nobody likes to feel rushed, like they’re overloaded with busy work, or that quantity is more important than quality.
- Don’t criticize; give constructive criticism and honest feedback, and frame it as wanting to help the employee achieve more.
- Make sure every employee knows the company’s objectives and understands how they contribute to reaching them.
- Set small, ambitious but achievable goals that can be reached on a weekly and monthly basis in addition to more long-term goals.
- Give employees easy, comfortable ways to bring up their ideas with you; listen and never be dismissive, having a genuine conversation about their ideas.
- Also give employees easy, comfortable ways to bring up their concerns with you; take appropriate actions to address their concerns promptly.
- Show employees that you care about their work-life balance; for example, offer them information about the importance of balance and how to pull it off, and encourage them to use the time off they’ve earned.
- Don’t create an atmosphere where employees feel like they shouldn’t use their sick time, personal days, or vacation time.
- Offer scheduling flexibility where possible; for example, this could include work-from-home days, the option to work four 10-hour days instead of five 8-hour days, or nontraditional hours.