While we’ve previously discussed how setting goals for your business are vital to success, especially when leading in uncertain times, none of these goals matter unless your team is motivated to work and actively striving for better results. To achieve the best outcomes, it's important to constantly assess and reflect on the ways you inspire and motivate your team.
One of the best resources on this topic is ‘The Puzzle of Motivation’, a popular TED talk by Dan Pink that looks into intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. In the video, Pink notes that extrinsic motivation – the carrot and stick of financial incentives – is only effective for a small range of tasks that are simple and process-driven. On the other hand, he says that intrinsic motivation – an employee’s purpose and feeling of autonomy – breeds success and more productive work. Pink’s talk suggests teams that feel as though their work is contributing to something bigger than themselves are more likely to work harder. To help achieve this sense of purpose and get the most out of your own team, we have listed five steps below which are key to creating a successful motivation strategy.
Share your organisational vision and set clear goals
Your team needs to understand your organisation’s collective vision as this will lead to success and encourage everyone to work together to achieve better results. It’s also important clear and measurable goals are framed within that vision so employees know their work is relevant and understand how their daily tasks fit into the bigger picture.
In one study, 63 percent of employees reported their main reason for wasting time at work was that they were unsure of what was and wasn’t a priority. Your job as a leader is to set clear goals for your team and to make sure employees know exactly what those goals are, what the relative priority of each goal is, and what each person’s role is in reaching those goals. This can help to measure each individual’s success in a meaningful and tangible way that cultivates productivity and helps everyone in your team feel valued.
Spending some time on the overlooked and undervalued area of goal-setting is a crucial piece of the motivation puzzle. Make sure your team knows what they’re working towards and how that ties in with the overall vision for your business. Encouraging your team towards your ultimate goals will instill in them the sense of enthusiasm you have towards this vision and keep them on track and inspired to work.
Communicate with staff
Once goals have been set, it’s important to maintain clear and consistent communication. This allows you to keep track of your employees’ progress, while also ensuring you continually update them on what needs to be achieved. However, better communication will not only help the team understand your goals and how they are actively working towards them, but also gives your employees an opportunity to come and talk to you about any feedback or concerns they may have.
Without keeping a constant line of communication open, it’s practically impossible to understand and appreciate the ideas and opinions of your team members. Every opportunity for others to provide feedback gives you new ways of running your business more effectively. Besides, you never know when one of those ideas will be the key to moving your vision forward.
Taking a more proactive approach to communication is fundamental to growing your business and keeping your team motivated. It’s important to let employees know they can contact you if they need and to be approachable in your attitude towards communication. When your team receives reminders of their achievements or are able to contribute ideas and feel involved in the business operations, they will feel more confident in their role and have a greater work output.
Encourage collaboration and teamwork
Promoting and encouraging teamwork can motivate your employees and boost productivity, making your team feel more connected to their workplace and help them further engage with their tasks. It's important to foster a sense of collaboration in your organisation by holding regular team-building exercises and providing opportunities for team members to get to know one another and work on projects together.
The most successful companies are those where everyone works together cohesively and feels like they belong. Teams should be like family, where support and trust are the most important values. It's also important when hiring to consider how new staff will fit into your team and workplace culture. Just because someone has more experience in a role, doesn't necessarily mean they will work well with the rest of your team.
Vxt prides itself on its young, but cooperative and innovative team. Luke Campbell, CEO and co-founder of Vxt says despite mainly being students, “our team is made up of some of the smartest, most inspiring and outstanding people I've ever met”. Vxt’s recent growth and success suggests team fit and a collaborative mindset are far more important than experience. Creating a powerful and cohesive team spirit will go a long way in motivating your team.
Create a positive place to work
Research has shown that the work environment also has a significant influence on job satisfaction and productivity. Employees consistently cite positive work culture and environment as being more important than salary. It makes sense though — the most motivated teams are going to be those where employees feel like their employer reflects their values and is somewhere they want to spend their time. No amount of money can replace that.
Create a healthy workspace by considering noise, air quality, natural light, relaxation areas, and ambience, as well as thinking about ways of encouraging healthy attitudes through additional work perks such as gym memberships or yoga classes. A healthy work environment will help your team maintain energy levels and reduce stress, while additional perks will make them feel appreciated and encourage them to do their best work.
This doesn’t just apply to the physical space you offer, but also the flexibility you provide for your team to work on their own terms. As the current COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated, remote working is achievable for most businesses, so as long as the work is getting done, the place the work is completed isn’t as important. Employees who find a balance between home and work life, are going to feel more motivated, engaged and satisfied with their careers.
Offer opportunities for self-development and improvement
Your team will remain motivated and valuable to your business, and to themselves, if they are continually learning and enhancing their skills. Providing opportunities for your employees to focus on their development will help them advance their own careers, while also contributing a greater output for the business.
These opportunities can also be tailored to suit the individual employee. This can come in the form of setting challenging targets, offering training days or time for additional learning, inviting an employee to shadow you, or giving some of your own time to teach and mentor someone else. By focussing on teaching your team new and transferable skills, they can not only apply these lessons to different positions and work, but also encourage them to set their own learning goals.
Team members feel more valued and have a greater sense of empowerment when they are encouraged to learn new skills. People, and your business, can’t grow if they consistently do what they have always done. Allowing them to set their own goals and pushing themselves to improve their skills will instill a sense of motivation in your team that can only be achieved through independence.
Your team is the most important resource for your company. Therefore, it's important to make sure they remain motivated and get the most out of their work through goal setting, communication, teamwork, a positive work environment, and opportunities for self-development. The tips in this article are aimed at helping you form a motivation strategy that creates and maintains a sense of intrinsic motivation and enthusiasm among employees. When you combine the ideas, skills, and energy of a motivated group of people who understand their value, enjoy their work, and the people they work with, then you and your team can accomplish any goal you set your minds to.