The conversation surrounding employee engagement and motivation has been simmering for years, yet many companies still struggle to apply the basics. With advances in technology, some of these approaches are becoming more and more practical, whilst others require only a little time or understanding. Read on and take advantage of these tried and tested motivational techniques!

1. Engage; start 'big conversations'

Consistent two-way communication between managers and their staff is key to successful employee engagement. Meaningful communication, known as ‘big conversations’, should involve making employees feel comfortable enough to provide honest feedback about the workplace and making them aware of the role they play in helping the company to achieve overall business goals. The distinguishing factor between ‘Best-in-Class’ businesses and ‘Industry Average’ businesses is their ability to communicate engagement efforts across the entire organisation; in fact, ‘Best-in-Class’ companies rate it as the most important priority in delivering organisational performance.

The key to effective performance management is frequent, honest and constructive conversations that empower employees to take accountability for results and to play to their strengths.

2. Enhance; appreciate the little things

Employee recognition drives engagement and encourages positive behaviours, which in turn enhances employees’ feelings of value and motivation. Organisations with a Reward & Recognition programme in place are proven to have better retention rates and revenue per employee.

However, recognition is not about rewarding an employee’s greatest achievements. On the contrary, it is about noticing and encouraging day-to-day behaviours and being constantly and consistently thoughtful. Small and subtle gestures such as ordering dinner or booking taxis for late workers can be very effective in making employees feel valued.

The challenge is to identify the right form of recognition which works for a particular organisation and to differentiate it by individuals (managers need to now what motivates each person in their team); the ‘big conversations’ will go a long way in achieving this.

3. Enable; allow greater flexibility

Enabling employees to take a more flexible approach to their work has been proved repeatedly to be more effective in motivating and engaging them than financial remuneration. Employers should evaluate whether their employees’ work structure is vital; does an employee need to work from the office every day? Do they have to work 9-5, or could they start earlier/later and finish work accordingly?

Of course, it wouldn’t be appropriate to suggest that every business follows a ‘results-only’ work environment, where all structures are abandoned and employees can work however they wish as long as the desired results are achieved on time; one size never fits all. However, allowing your employees to have some control over how they work not only encourages better performance but also helps your company to stand out as an employer of choice.

4. Empower; create a greater purpose

It’s important to strengthen the sense of belonging and team spirit amongst employees. Effective engagement comes from an environment where personal and organisational aspirations are aligned; people feel empowered when they know they’re making a difference. Successful organisations will engage their employees in a variety of worthwhile CSR initiatives where staff across the organisation work to common goals. This creates high levels of shared purpose and develops a sense of organisational loyalty and pride, while simultaneously developing the business skills of the employees involved.

Organisations with a sense of shared purpose outperform those without it.

The value of employee engagement cannot be underestimated; engaged people do what they do because they believe it is the right thing to do and not necessarily because there is a reward waiting at the end. A prime example of engagement is volunteer work. There is no payment involved, it takes up a lot of time and it is very often ungrateful work. Yet most volunteers do it with passion and perseverance. Why? Because they believe in what they do. These are the kind of people you want in your organisation, so encourage them!

You can learn more from the challenges businesses face when trying to develop a strong employee motivation strategy by downloading RM’s white paper
‘The Puzzle of Motivation’.

Want to find out more? Speak directly with an expert:

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