Motivating Your Employees for Optimum Performance

by Scott Sery on February 4, 2013

MotivationAnyone who manages a business knows that employees need motivation to stay productive.  Simply having a job is not enough to keep people going, and many bosses out there struggle with motivation.  The reasoning often goes, “If I pay them enough, they will be motivated to work hard.”  Unfortunately most people are not very motivated by money.  This is not to say that money is not needed to draw in good workers that are on top of their game.

Motivation and retention are two very different things.  In human resources management, drawing in high quality employees requires being willing to pay them handsomely and provide benefits that make them want to stick around.  People will continue to show up for a job that pays them well.  However, they will just show up.  They will not be motivated for optimum performance.

If you are struggling with motivating your employees, try to think about what motivates you outside of work.  When among friends, what drives you to get together?  What do you like to do?  Why?  While this concept was originally designed to help people better understand romantic relationships, they work for all interpersonal relationships.  This includes those amongst workers and their bosses.

Using the love languages, any employer can figure out what motivates his or her employees.

Encouraging Words

Sometimes all that the employee needs is an encouraging word.  This can be a quick note saying how much their work is appreciated, or simply telling them how great of a job they have been doing.  To those who thrive on encouragement, these things go a long way.

Acts of Kindness

Others would rather have a more tangible form of encouragement.  Acts of kindness from the boss, such as helping the employee with their job, will make them want to work even harder.

Quality time

A lot of bigger companies will rent out luxury boxes in order for the employees to spend extra time together and bond.  The trick to quality time is that if the boss thinks it is good enough for the employees, it should be good enough for him or her too.

Physical Touch  

Quick things, like a high five or a pat on the back, will help to keep many people working hard.  Just keep it appropriate, hugging is most likely over the line.

Giving Gifts

A well thought it gift is sure to motivate most people (this means more than just a small token at the Christmas party).  Just make sure the gifts are spontaneous and not over the top.

Motivating employees should not be hard.  We all want to feel worthwhile, and when the employer shows that the employee is a valuable asset, they will work hard; compensate them well, and they will stick around.  The hard part of motivating your employees is finding what motivates them.  Some will respond well to quality time but despise physical touch.  Others will thrive on words of encouragement, but could care less about the acts of kindness.  Test your employees with different motivators and find out which one works the best for each.

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Scott Sery

Scott Sery is a native to Billings, Montana. Within an hour in nearly any direction he can be found fishing, hunting, backpacking, caving, and rock or ice climbing. With an extensive knowledge of the finance and insurance world, Scott loves to write personal finance articles. When not talking money, he enjoys passing on his knowledge of the back country, or how to live sustainably. You can learn more about Scott on his website Sery Content Development
  • A simple pat on the shoulder, words of encouragement really are all that is needed at least it always has been for me. I not only motivate myself but my work mates and anyone around me, why not? If someone is doing a good job, tell them! Too often we get caught up in our own careers that we forget the small stuff that might just count the most.

  • Tony@YouOnlyDoThisOnce

    Yes…as a supervisor myself one of my greatest challenges is simply telling staff that they are doing a great job once in a while. Thanks for this post!

  • All good points to keeping employees motivated but one thing I like to do is lead by example. As a business owner I know that if I stay busy and don’t stand around and talk others will follow my lead.

  • holly

    I am an employee and I am motivated by all of those things….especially gifts and kind words.

  • I would be very careful with the “Physical Touch” aspect of motivating employees. Visits to your HR and sexual harassment charges are not something you want to invoke, Unfortunately I’ve seen this happen in corporate America. You would be surprised at the folks that are the first to cast a stone in this area.

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