Wish your staff were more productive? There are many strategies you can use to increase their motivation to get more done.
By Jane Hosking
Isn’t it the job of employees to just focus on their work and get things done? After all, that’s what they’re paid for right? Contrary to what managers may wish for, they often find that their employees aren’t being as productive as they would like them to be. Instead of dismissing this as laziness and blaming them for being slack, there are actually many things that a manager can do to better motivate their staff.
Suhail Jouaneh, cofounder and chief learning officer at Better Business, a Jordanian company that provides workforce training and development, stresses the importance of having motivated employees. “The first thing that we suggest to our customers, whether they think they need it or not, is motivation,” he told Venture, adding that it’s the manager’s role to lead employees into better performance and better motivation.
But there’s no one quick fix to raising staff motivation at work. Jouaneh believes that motivation is a daily process, requiring the right mix of management strategies and styles. With his help we’ve come up with eight things that managers can do to help their employees be more motivated and productive.
RECOGNIZE THE DIFFERENT MOTIVATIONS OF YOUR EMPLOYEES
Motivation comes from two sources: internally, where we create our own motivation, and externally, where we are motivated by others. Jouaneh believes it’s necessary for managers to look at their teams and recognize the different motivations of each individual. He explained that some people are motivated by their internal ambitions, intellectual stimulation, or a desire to learn, while others may want incentives or public recognition. As a result, when using strategies to motivate staff, one size doesn’t fit all and it’s important to recognize that an individual can also have multiple motivations at once.
Rasha Barakat, director of human resources at Zain, said a mix of management strategies is most effective in motivating employees. She also believes these strategies need to be constantly reassessed. “What used to motivate people three years ago might not be motivating them now,” she explained
TAKE CARE OF YOUR PEOPLE
The wellbeing of employees is central to the wellbeing of a company. Many managers are so focused on numbers and see employee welfare as a lower priority to core business practices. But Jouaneh believes a company needs to help its own employees first before it can effectively help its customers. In order to do this, a manager must show care and respect for their staff. Jouaneh said this is largely absent in the region’s corporate world, and argues that every process in the company should support the wellbeing of the employee, including the management style.
- Majid Hassan, HR manager at the Nuqul Group, sees his company’s human capital as the most important capital that makes their company successful. “Our whole strategy and vision are built around people,” he said.on, Management, Productivity, Staff, Employees, How to,
- Games developer Maysalward don’t like to call their staff “employees.” Instead they see each other as team members who work together to achieve the company’s aims.
RECOGNIZE AND REWARD
Recognizing and rewarding employees is essential in the workplace. But how managers set about doing this can be difficult. Rewards may be financial, such as raising salaries or bonuses and vouchers on top of the monthly salary. Either way, it’s important for managers to seek out and reward the right behavior instead of being arbitrary or playing favorites. Jouaneh said that as well as long-term rewards, short-term rewards, which are given immediately after an employee’s achievement, are more successful as an incentive. Yet while Joauneh recognized that these incentives can be strong motivators, he said that public and private recognition of an employee’s achievements are often more effective.
- Team members at Maysalward are each given a share in the company as a financial reward to promote a greater interest in the company’s growth.
- Zain has a systematic rewards and recognition system that includes thank you cards, awards, and certificates. These are given by managers, as well as peer-to-peer and bottom-up, and result in employees gaining points and gift vouchers. Barakat stressed that keeping the system fair, transparent, and based on merit is essential to motivating people. She also said that it’s important for managers to ensure they don’t continuously reward the same people and that they recognize those behind the scenes as well.
EVALUATE AND GIVE FEEDBACK
Giving positive and negative feedback in a constructive way is necessary for employees to do their job well and feel motivated in their work. “This is by far the most important management act,” said Jouaneh, adding that this is how people grow and learn. He explained that both, regular informal feedback and at least two formal performance appraisals a year are necessary. Employees should know that they have a meeting coming up with their managers to discuss their performance, and they should know that someone is watching and supporting them.
- In their staff performance appraisals, Nuqul Group aims to resolve any needs of their employees. Hassan noted that this can involve training and career development plans that help to identify what the employee’s goals are in the company. “Clarity and transparency towards employees regarding their future in the organization helps them to be motivated,” he said.
LISTEN TO YOUR EMPLOYEES
Jouaneh strongly believes that employees become more engaged and involved when their managers take note of their opinion and when they feel their voices are being heard. He said that too often managers focus on the voice of their customers but neglect the voice of their employees, the internal customer. He advised that managers meet with their employees regularly, not just to advise them but also to listen. This can be done on a regular basis through collective and individual meetings. It can also be done through a formal systematic process.
- Nuqul Group has an organizational health survey every two years, which involves getting feedback from employees about the company culture, the business, and their work satisfaction. Managers of the company take note of the results from these surveys and then work to improve their business practices according to the feedback they have been given.
TRAIN YOUR PEOPLE AND HELP THEM LEARN
Without ongoing training and guidance, it is difficult for your employees to know how to perform their tasks and what to aim for in their work. Jouaneh said that training ensures that an employee’s personal objectives are in line with the company’s objectives, and lets them feel that they are gaining something valuable out of their work.
- Zain seek to provide additional learning opportunities, experiences, and responsibilities to their staff so that they see themselves progressing in their career. This includes rewarding high performing employees with the opportunity to join a manager or the CEO of the company on a business trip or conference.
DON’T DRIVE PEOPLE
One of the key things managers should not do is drive their employees, said Joauneh. He noted that while managers often have the authority to make their employees do work, this is actually not a sustainable form of motivation and will be counterproductive in the long run. “Managers should avoid this authority play and show respect for people,” said Jouaneh, adding that managers are not there to boss their employees around, but to help them perform better.
- Maysalward allow their employees considerable freedom, including flexible working hours. Nour Khrais, the company’s founder and CEO, said the aim is to trust the employees to get the job done, rather than monitoring everyone. He recognizes this approach may not work for all companies, but believes it helps the team at Maysalward be productive.
CREATE THE RIGHT CULTURE
One of the most important motivators for employees is a healthy company culture that fosters positive working relationships. A work place shouldn’t be a space where employees want to escape as soon as the workday is over. Jouaneh said that the best way managers can create this environment is by regularly interacting with their employees and living by example. This means getting out from behind the closed doors of their office, instead of just using procedures to reach people.
- Maysalward has a flat organizational structure. Decisions are made by the team together, rather than through a top-down management style. Everyone is also treated equally when it comes to office space, with the same desks, chairs, and facilities no matter where they fit into the organization.