From industry to industry and business to business teams can vary widely because each employee is different. Truly understanding what drives your specific team is the key to unlocking the best way to motivate them. This is why it’s essential to allow employees to wear multiple hats, pursue special projects, and provide open and honest feedback. These types of vehicles allow managers to find out what makes their teams tick and leverage this knowledge to get more out of each person while simultaneously improving employee experience.
An important point to remember is that teams are always in flux. As old employees leave and new employees are hired or as existing employees’ lives change, what motivates the team can change too. The ever-changing nature of team dynamics means that the same motivational tools and tactics that worked last year may fall short this year, which is why you should always be open to tweaking and changing existing plans.
Taking Employee Suggestions
Letting employees contribute suggestions makes them a part of the process and leaves them feeling more connected to corporate policies and incentives. You can take anonymous suggestions or just ask for feedback in 1x1’s and during performance reviews. Either way, be open to the suggestions that are contributed and save them for future ideas even if they’re not implemented right away. Some companies even take employee suggestions to a new level by creating an “ideas competition” where suggestions are made public and employees are allowed to vote on them. These types of approaches create excitement and add a social element that can boost employee engagement.
Thinking Outside of the Money Box
Workplace studies continually show that while employees want to make a good wage, simply offering them more money is not the best way to motivate employees. Many employees are strongly motivated by factors other than money, like a flexible work schedule, the ability to work from home, additional vacation time, educational opportunities, the ability to work on projects of their choosing, having access to the newest technology, public visibility of their work, etc. Some of these motivations may be more prevalent in certain industries, but again it can vary substantially from team to team. Getting creative to motivate employees is a good way to hone in on the best performing approach.
Kate Pierce is the owner of LionShark Digital Marketing LLC, a West Michigan internet marketing company. Her areas of expertise include Paid Search, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media, Web Consulting for small businesses, Copywriting and Local Online Marketing. She lives in the Grand Rapids area with her husband and enjoys cooking, watching sports and spending time outdoors. Like a true digital marketing expert (i.e. geek), she loves talking about marketing theory and SEM trends… so don’t say you weren’t warned!