One of the most important lessons I’ve learned in my short time in business to date is the importance of a happy motivated workforce. The people who work for you are your greatest asset. If you need ANY convincing on that one then I would suggest you’re wasting your time in business.
I’ve seen first hand time and time again the value of people who enjoy working for us and understand how we do what we do and why we do it the way we do it. They ‘get it’ and there are a variety of reasons for that.
#1. Pay good money
Before I move on to the more ‘fluffy’ stuff, let’s get this one out of the way. Money is the most basic and important motivator for most people. That’s a ubiquitous truth and it’s unlikely to change so don’t overlook it. Don’t get caught up in focusing on the fluffy without first knowing that you’re paying well.
In my own business we have casual staff we utilise very regularly and they never even ask what they will be getting paid. They know we always pay well.
#2. Show them they’re valued
While paying well is key, there are all sorts of other ways you can let your staff know they’re valued. The simplest of these is to TELL them. Tell them you value what they do. Tell them how important they are to the business.
Maslow would be so proud of you.
Beyond telling them try to show them. We’re bringing our core & extended team, including some of our casual staff, to an upcoming Kanye West & Pharrell concert over here simply to say thanks.
#3. Create a fun work environment
Now, I’m not suggesting you go to the extremes that some of the giant tech companies do with their free hair cuts, free food, free computer accessory vending machines and video arcades but I am suggesting you consciously try to create a workplace your motivated workforce will enjoy coming to each day.
We have whiteboard walls, blackboard walls, giant Jenga and Connect 4 and a mini motorbike in our office as well as a seemingly endless supply of old school sweets. These are all small things but they do seem to foster a happiness among the team and that’s invaluable.
#4. Give them responsibility
One of the best ways I’ve found to motivate people is to give them responsibility. Let them take meetings on their own. Let them go out to see potential new clients. Trust that they know how you want them to operate on your behalf and that you can rely on them to do it for you.
We’ve a student on placement with us at the moment and he happened to be the one who answered a call from a prospective new client and we let him run with it. He met with them on his own. He did all the work on the project. He converted the lead into a sale.
#5. Involve them in decision making
Only a fool, whether successful or not, thinks she is right ALL the time. Nobody is. Not me and not you.
If you can accept that then it makes perfect sense to involve your staff when making business decisions. A motivated workforce will be motivated to make sure the right decisions are made for the business. They want what’s best for the business which is exactly what you want them to want.
If that makes sense.
#6. Coffee machine
I don’t drink coffee. I doubt I ever will but people keep telling me those are famous last words.
Everyone else in our place loves their coffee though so I bought one of those fancy Nespresso machines for the office. It lives between the water cooler and the television. It’s very popular even if only for saving people from having to go out in the (regular) rain to get a decent coffee around the corner.
Small thing but it’s very much appreciated.
#7. Make sure they’ll tell you you’re wrong
A motivated workforce will challenge you. They’ll challenge you on everything that matters.
If you ask me, that’s one of the most important benefits of a happy and motivated team.
The bottom line
The fluffy isn’t all that fluffy.
Ask anyone who is successful in business if there’s a value in having a happy, motivated workforce and I know they’ll say yes. Ask them why and some may struggle to fully articulate it but ask yourself this – if successful business people are telling you it’s important then isn’t it likely it is?
Images: “Business people group team point finger at you, young businesspeople standing together happy smile, Isolated over white background/ Shutterstock.com“
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