- Salary structure – bonuses, commission
- Achievement Awards
- Lunches, parties, events
How to positively manage your workforce without demotivating staff
1. Understand that the personal success of your staff and the success of your business are not conflicting pursuits.
The impossible pursuit of ‘work-life’ balance is only impossible when businesses create a culture that defines success as taking away from one’s personal life to reach goals for the business. Such a business is not only doing a disservice to its staff, but to itself.
2. Compensate to retain talent
People work for a living, and if their compensation is inadequate their performance will be hindered by their perceived unfairness of their situation. Show your staff they are valued by paying them slightly above market rate and you will avoid salary becoming a point of distraction or resentment, costing you their full attention and commitment.
After this point, remuneration (extrinsic motivation) should move to the background and avoid interfering with intrinsic motivation as best as possible. This may cost a little more upfront, but the investment will be repaid many times over in productivity and improved retention.
3. Use rewards and recognition the right way
Equally, rewards and recognition can be an important part of providing staff with positive feedback to fuel motivation. To ensure you effectively motivate staff, praise and rewards should be non-routine, given unexpectedly after great work, and should focus on the strategy and effort rather than the outcome or result. Ensure that these do not become predictable and thus expected, and that you are not unintentionally encouraging the wrong type of behaviour or motivation in future.
4. Let go of controlling productivity measures that are not related to success
Hours worked, reports produced, calls made, leads generated. These measures all create a perceived sense of productivity – like you are getting your money’s worth out of your staff. It’s highly unlikely that any of these activities more than loosely correlate to the long-term success of your business though. They fill the day and create a reason to be present from 8:30-5:30 at the cost of motivation and real results.
This sense of control and measurability is the very thing holding your business back, but it is a very difficult thing for leaders to give up. Such change must come from the top-down.
Providing intrinsic motivation requires relinquishing control and trusting employees’ innate desire to self-motivate.
5. Promote staff based on results and their capacity to thrive at the next level, not based on ‘presenteeism’, tenure, or next-in-line measures.
Working the longest hours, having 10 years in the job and / or being a technical genius does not provide one with the resources to be a successful and effective manager of people, yet too often these are the criteria that result in promotions. Promoting staff on these kinds of criteria sets your business up for significant staff motivation and retention issues. A fully effective workforce MUST be able to connect well and trust their manager. Likewise, a good manager must have the social skills to empathise, mentor and motivate a team.
As the saying goes, people join a company, but leave a manager.