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7 Ways to Motivate Employees When Productivity Is Low

People in a meeting clapping hands.

When times are tough, how can you incen­tivise your employ­ees with­out using money?

UK pro­duc­tiv­i­ty is at a record low. In fact, it is cur­rent­ly low­er than it was before the finan­cial cri­sis hit. The reper­cus­sions of this pro­duc­tiv­i­ty prob­lem are far-reach­ing, with com­pa­nies all over the coun­try striv­ing to find a solu­tion. Busi­ness lead­ers every­where want to find a way to moti­vate and inspire their employ­ees to per­form their job more effec­tive­ly and effi­cient­ly, but with­out hav­ing to resort to money.

Thank­ful­ly, it has been shown that intrin­sic moti­va­tors are far more effec­tive than extrin­sic rewards. If you want to know how to moti­vate employ­ees, below are a few proven ways you can adapt your per­for­mance man­age­ment sys­tem and busi­ness process­es so that your team per­forms above and beyond expectations.

1. Have More Reg­u­lar One-on-One Per­for­mance Discussions

Research shows that employ­ees want more coach­ing con­ver­sa­tions. In fact, 65% of employ­ees want more feed­back. On top of this, busi­ness­es that intro­duce reg­u­lar one-to-one employ­ee coach­ing ses­sions gen­er­al­ly have a 14.9% low­er turnover rate than com­pa­nies with a more old-fash­ioned approach to per­for­mance management.

You can’t moti­vate your team if you nev­er see them or inter­act with them. Sched­ule reg­u­lar per­for­mance dis­cus­sions and you will be giv­en the oppor­tu­ni­ty to exchange feed­back, pro­vide train­ing when nec­es­sary, and offer recog­ni­tion and reward where appropriate.

2. Give Your Employ­ees Auton­o­my and Independence

Daniel Pink, the author of Dri­ve: The Sur­pris­ing Truth About What Moti­vates Us, con­duct­ed research that revealed we are moti­vat­ed by three things: auton­o­my, mas­tery and pur­pose. Give your employ­ees con­trol over how they do their work. Don’t micro­man­age. Step back and give your employ­ees the oppor­tu­ni­ty to make their own deci­sions and poten­tial­ly learn from their mis­takes. You’ll be reward­ed by employ­ees who are more inde­pen­dent and competent.

3. Pro­vide Oppor­tu­ni­ties for Advancement

Your employ­ees will be more moti­vat­ed if they know there is some­thing they can work towards. If there aren’t any oppor­tu­ni­ties for advance­ment, or none have been com­mu­ni­cat­ed to them, they won’t have any­thing to aspire to. Let your employ­ees know how they can climb the career lad­der and what skills they need to progress, out­lin­ing a plan and time­line where appro­pri­ate. Not only will this be good for your exist­ing employ­ees, but exter­nal can­di­dates will also learn of your rep­u­ta­tion and grav­i­tate towards you.

4. Reward and Recog­nise in a Time­ly Way

Reward­ing and recog­nis­ing your employ­ees’ efforts and hard work is impor­tant, but there is no sense in doing so long after the event. To most effec­tive­ly moti­vate staff, con­grat­u­la­tions and praise should be giv­en as soon as pos­si­ble. Take the oppor­tu­ni­ty to cel­e­brate vic­to­ries and accom­plish­ments with your employ­ees — it’s the best way to show them how much they are appreciated.

5. Organ­ise Social Outings

Social out­ings as a com­pa­ny help build a sense of com­mu­ni­ty, mak­ing employ­ees feel con­nect­ed to one anoth­er. When human beings devel­op bonds and friend­ships, they become com­fort­able and devel­op a sense of belong­ing. This prompts an urge to per­form well and to help the busi­ness suc­ceed. It also means they are less like­ly to jump ship to an unfa­mil­iar com­pa­ny. The next time you catch your employ­ees gos­sip­ing around the water cool­er, rest assured they are often help­ing to boost pro­duc­tiv­i­ty.

6. Use Per­for­mance Man­age­ment Soft­ware to Pro­vide Real-Time Feedback

To devel­op a strong feed­back cul­ture that real­ly dri­ves pro­duc­tiv­i­ty, invest in mod­ern per­for­mance man­age­ment soft­ware. This tool can be used to allo­cate and track SMART objec­tives. It also pro­vides users with the abil­i­ty to deliv­er real-time feed­back, mean­ing employ­ees can get on with work imme­di­ate­ly, ful­ly armed with all the info they need.

7. Let Employ­ees Work Remotely

If you’re con­cerned that let­ting your employ­ees work from home will result in a drop in pro­duc­tiv­i­ty, rest assured it has been proven oth­er­wise. In fact, when employ­ees are giv­en the flex­i­bil­i­ty to work from home, they are hap­pi­er and more pro­duc­tive. So if the role per­mits it, remote work is some­thing to seri­ous­ly con­sid­er, espe­cial­ly giv­en the pos­si­bil­i­ties afford­ed by mod­ern technology.

8. Intro­duce Flex­i­ble Work­ing Hours

The tra­di­tion of nine-to-five work­ing hours is a con­cept that is rapid­ly declin­ing in pop­u­lar­i­ty. Peo­ple aren’t robots and they all work dif­fer­ent­ly. Most employ­ees oper­ate on dif­fer­ent pro­duc­tiv­i­ty rhythms, so forc­ing them to work an arbi­trary set of hours could be doing more harm than good.

Many com­pa­nies offer flex­i­ble work­ing hours, with­in rea­son. If you are able to, allow some employ­ees to start ear­li­er in the morn­ing and allow oth­ers to work fur­ther into the evening. It’s pos­si­ble to accom­plish this while hav­ing peak busi­ness times cov­ered, so your busi­ness won’t be affected.

9. Share Com­pa­ny Goals with Employees

Trans­paren­cy is key when it comes to pro­duc­tiv­i­ty. You can’t expect employ­ees to be pro­duc­tive if they don’t have all the infor­ma­tion they need to per­form their jobs well. As such, you should arm your employ­ees with the com­pa­ny goals and direc­tion. Once employ­ees are aware of these, they can struc­ture objec­tives that are in align­ment. Their deci­sions will sup­port over­ar­ch­ing com­pa­ny goals in their day-to-day roles as well.

10. Encour­age Learn­ing and Skill Development

Don’t let your employ­ees get stuck in a rut — this isn’t healthy for any ambi­tious or deter­mined indi­vid­ual. Pro­vide your employ­ees with oppor­tu­ni­ties to learn new skills and hone exist­ing ones. Employ­ees actu­al­ly want to learn, so sup­port them in that pur­suit. Work with them to cre­ate per­son­al devel­op­ment plans and pro­vide any rel­e­vant tools or learn­ing mate­ri­als required for them to accom­plish their career ambitions.

At Clear Review, we help busi­ness­es boost their pro­duc­tiv­i­ty and team per­for­mance through the use of our per­for­mance man­age­ment soft­ware. To find out how we can help you, con­tact us today.