Even with the right strategy, the necessary budget, and the most efficient systems in place, achieving the desired results comes down to a company’s most important resource: people. Keeping a team engaged and excited about their work can be a challenge for leadership at every level, which is why having a motivation strategy is so important.
Even when people are passionate about their work, it’s easy to get bogged down in the daily grind and lose motivation. Understanding why individuals lose motivation and how to overcome those hurdles will help you develop a motivation strategy that keeps employees enthusiastic and engaged. Use these six strategies to inspire your team to go the extra mile.
1. Communicate the “why”
Understanding what is required to complete a certain task or project is just part of the equation. In order for employees to stay motivated, they must also understand why they are doing it. When leaders clearly communicate the overall vision and keep it at the forefront through consistent communication, employees will have a deeper appreciation for the work they are being asked to do. Even the most mundane task can take on new importance when the reasons behind it are understood and embraced.
2. Create a culture of collaboration
People are much more motivated to complete a task or project if they feel that they have some ownership of it. One way to accomplish this is by inviting participation through a culture of collaboration. When employees know that their ideas and opinions are welcome, expected, and heard, they will become more engaged. Individuals who are able to provide input in the earlier stages of development and throughout the course of a project are more likely to be motivated to see it through to the end and do their best work because they have a sense of ownership and pride in the outcomes.
3. Show your appreciation
Although rewards and incentives can be great motivators, sometimes a few words of gratitude can have a much deeper and longer-lasting impact. Individuals want to know that their efforts are appreciated. When leadership acknowledges their accomplishments, both publicly and privately, this genuine praise can go a long way. Don’t wait until a project is finished to show your gratitude and give credit. Acknowledge the late nights, clever ideas, and other positive moments as they happen.
4. Set challenging but realistic goals
Give teams a challenge that will help them grow as individuals and as a team, offering people an opportunity to do work that extends beyond what they have always done. The occasional special project or urgent push to meet a deadline can help recharge a team that feels stuck in the daily routine. They might find different ways to work together, discover a new sense of camaraderie, or develop new skills that they can use to improve other projects. Make sure the goal is realistic and achievable so that the experience is motivating and not discouraging.
5. Provide development opportunities
People get excited when they learn something new, especially when it helps them do their jobs better. Provide ongoing training and development opportunities for both teams and individuals that enable people to continually improve and hone their skill sets. When teams learn something new together, it helps them bond and build new connections. When individuals bring new skills back to the team environment, it can lift everybody up.
6. Create a positive working environment
No matter what motivation strategy you execute, if the daily working environment is unpleasant, it’s difficult for people to get excited about going to work. Think about how each employee spends their day. Do they have the opportunity to take a break in a comfortable, welcoming space? How do coworkers treat each other? It’s up to leadership to create the type of working environment that sparks inspiration and keeps people motivated. This means that leadership has to create an inviting workspace and model the types of behaviors that contribute to this type of culture.
These are just a few examples of the many ways you can motivate and inspire your team. Think about strategies that will be most effective for your teams and make a plan for executing them. Some approaches, such as expressing appreciation and gratitude, can be implemented immediately and become part of the culture. Others, such as implementing a training and development program, will take more time to fully execute. Remember that people are your organization’s most valuable resource and that investing in them can provide invaluable returns.