You believe in your company wholeheartedly. There’s an entrepreneurial fire burning strong inside that motivates you to work harder each day.
Unfortunately, the same cannot always be said about your employees. In a 2015 SHRM Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement survey, only 69 percent of employees felt they were consistently putting all their effort into their work.
If you’ve tried a variety of incentives but are still seeing the negative side effects of low motivation, you’re not alone. Sometimes even the best managers have to think outside the box to find creative and reliable ways to motivate their employees.
Here are 14 unique motivational techniques from other entrepreneurs that you can try with your employees:
- Gamify and Incentivize
Although we haven’t implemented it yet, we’re developing a feedback system that rewards employees for engaging with our wiki and for learning how to use our application via our training videos. We further reward performance based on meeting certain goals. A proven motivator for students and employees alike is earning a “badge” or points for committing to certain tasks.–Blair Thomas, EMerchantBroker
- Let Them Know You Trust Them
If you let them know you trust and depend on them, they will fill those shoes sooner than you think. A vote of confidence can go a long way. Let them know you trust them to do the best job possible and they will rarely disappoint you. Try it.–Ayelet Noff, Blonde 2.0
- Set Smaller Weekly Goals
You want lofty ambitions, but set up smaller goals along the way to keep people in it. Rather than make a billion this year, focus on getting 100 new customers this week-something that will get you to that billion. Then reward the team for achieving the goal with an afternoon off, a party, etc. They will see that your goals are realistic and everyone benefits from working hard.–Nicolas Gremion, Free-eBooks.net
- Give Your Employees Purpose
I am able to motivate my employees by giving them a purpose. When you accomplish that, they understand the vision better and are able to execute more strongly. In addition, by understanding their purpose and the purpose of the business, an employee is better able to understand how they fit into the big picture. —Vlad Moldavskiy, Mabbly, LLC
- Radiate Positivity
I’m always pumping energy through the office. I’m really enthusiastic and want my staff to feed off that positive energy. Because culture is so important to me, I play music, have fun, joke around, and play games. We work hard, but we play hard too. You have to be in the moment and high-energy all the time! –Josh York, GYMGUYZ
- Be Transparent
I am very open with employees about what’s happening at the highest level so there are no surprises and everyone has a chance to ask questions and give feedback. I want employees to feel included in big decisions and committed to the direction our company takes. This has helped to sustain motivation and increased company loyalty and pride.–Martina Welke, Zealyst
- Motivate Individuals Rather Than the Team
Aligned incentives are the only true way to ensure everyone on a team is working toward a common goal. Framing the strategy in multiple ways ensures each stakeholder has a clear, personal understanding of how working together benefits himself and the team. This technique allows you to motivate the team to accomplish amazing things.–Ross Resnick, Roaming Hunger
- Learn What Makes Each Employee Tick
Ask what they do and don’t like working on, share the big picture company goals, and respond to their questions. Discern their goals and then invest in their professional growth. During one-on-one check-ins, listen to their ideas, because they’re the best at what they do. Respect their personal schedules and non-work time, and don’t ever pit their goals/timelines against each other.–Heather McGough, Lean Startup Company
- Reward Based on Feedback
We developed Valuebot-an app for Slack that calculates how many times each employee was praised-in order to send daily and monthly summaries. Whoever garners the most kudos wins various awards and recognition. Valuebot has helped us to visualize our culture and reiterate how much we support one another. The positive energy we create in the office helps us to attract and retain talent.–Stephen Gill, http://www.50onred.com
- Prioritize Work-Life Balance
We have a few fun incentives, like an in-office “phone booth” style machine that lets you grab dollar bills. It’s a fun little motivator that the sales team uses on a smaller scale. Otherwise, it’s also important to encourage employees to take vacation time. A culture that prioritizes work-life balance, yields increased productivity and overall happiness in the workplace.–Jesse Lipson, Citrix
- Have an Open-Door Policy
It’s amazing how a simple “please” and “thank you” fares with employees. We simply speak to staff the way we would want to be spoken to. We also have an open-door policy when it comes to suggestions and ideas. When employees feel that their voice matters, they in turn feel confident about their positions in the company and that they have more at stake than just a paycheck.–Justin Beegel, Infographic World, Inc.
- Let Them Lead
Motivating employees is not just about giving them vacation time-it’s about showing them they make a difference and are valued. Every time we have a meeting, whether large or small, we let a different team member lead the conversation and the topics discussed. Not only can they share their opinions and be heard this way, but they are motivated to make their words and ideas happen afterwards.–Miles Jennings, Recruiter.com
- Show Them the Bigger Picture
It’s important that employees understand the bigger picture and can see how what they are doing in the moment will eventually contribute to an end goal. Give them tasks and projects to work on and make sure they understand how this fits into the big picture. Talented employees will go above and beyond what you expect of them.–Brian David Crane, Caller Smart Inc.
- Create Recognition Rituals
At Convene, every management and executive meeting starts off with each department lead recognizing someone from their team who has gone above and beyond for the company or a client. This positive feedback loop motivates team members, and it holds management accountable for staff recognition.–Christopher Kelly, Convene
These are the top results from a survey of entrepreneurs on the topic of employee motivation tips provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.
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