Every manager has wondered at least once in their career how to motivate employees. It can be a tricky task. Here are some tips for you to keep your employees engaged and productive.
As the week slowly unravels, you notice that your employees, even the brightest and the most dedicated among them eagerly wait for Friday afternoon to clock out and not look at their office seat for the next two days. It’s perfectly natural for us to crave rest and diversity in our lives, but when your employees feel burdened, pressured, and bored at work, every single workday will be a Monday morning to them. How on Earth are they supposed to even want to become managers some day if the prospect of coming to work feels like drudgery? The ambition to achieve? It’s often not enough.
No matter how educated and talented your employees might be, the will to advance in their career will heavily depend on the work environment in which they continue to develop their skills. Alas, the prospect of professional achievements alone is often not enough to drive potential managers to succeed.
Perhaps if you, as their supervisor and employer, could provide them with more motivation, they could respond with greater productivity and eagerness to progress. Here are a few tried and tested methods you can use as strategies to motivate your potential managers and let them unleash their true potential;
Once again, education alone won’t cut it, but if your company is a place that empowers employees to continue improving their skills and doesn’t treat them as if they’re supposed to be perfection embodied from the day they walk into your office – they’ll be far more inclined to give back to your business with spectacular performance. Allow your HR experts to find regular conferences, seminars, and training programs that will enable each and every one of your future managers to continue improving their skills and knowledge.
Depending on your industry and expertise, you can even host lectures in your own offices, invite notable professionals in your field, and continue creating relevant networking events where your employees can further expand their knowledge base. What’s wonderful about this form of active motivation is that it also further empowers their achievement motivation, so training works effectively on both fronts, as a unique source of inspiration, and as support for other sources of ambition.
Modern-day employees no longer want to work for just another retailer or yet another faceless corporation. They want to be a part of a movement, they want to know their work is meaningful and purposeful, and they need to align themselves with the values of the organization they are a part of, hence the need to create a culture where each of your team members can feel at home. This is especially true for your future managers – in order to run a part of an organization, even if it’s just one sector among dozens of them, they need to feel like they belong.
Are you about to give a promotion to one of your most cherished employees to grant them that managerial position? Prepare a set of branded and personalized business cards with their new title on them, just in time for that new conference they’re about to attend as a representative of your brand. Let a brand-new mug with your logo wait for them at their new office, with a “thank you” note for all of their great work. By knowing that they belong and that they are indeed a valued segment of your company culture, they will promote that culture to other employees, to your clients, and all other relevant parties they communicate with outside of the office.
Feeling that they have become a part of the brand itself will enable them to further strengthen their achievement motivation. Why? Because they will not work for personal and professional gain only, but they’ll perceive themselves as inextricable parts of your brand’s culture and they’ll do what’s in the interest of your business.
Grooming managers takes time, dedication, and creativity. No one becomes a manager overnight, and they certainly don’t become managers by force. Each employee with the potential to lead needs to want to become one. In order to develop and encourage that desire, you need to consistently let them know that they are appreciated for their achievements. Of course, that doesn’t involve menial tasks, but it does include major deals, milestones, creative solutions, the hours they put in, the personal touch they give their presentations, and the like.
Use every opportunity to foster achievement recognition. Send company-wide emails recognizing that particular employee with the potential to become a manager, thanking them for their impeccable work on a particular project. Give them a round of applause at a meeting, or send them a gift basket with their favorite muffins, or treat them and their spouse to weekend getaway after a long week of work. All of these gestures foster loyalty and trust, and they make your employees feel not just visible, but valued.
Let them see that you reward and incentivize achievements, and both their desire to achieve grander goals and the incentives themselves will grow their motivation to stay productive and develop your business.
A manager’s opinions matter. So naturally, every single employee’s opinions matter, too, if you want them to work for that managerial position and earn it one day at a time. In addition to sharing your own thoughts on their work, how they can improve, and how they’re doing well, you should be open to the idea of receiving that very same level of feedback. This lets them think about the role of the manager from a unique perspective and prepares them for it at the same time.
When the time comes for them to step into that role, they’ll know how to implement the same feedback loop with their teams. They’ll value the opinions of their team members, and they’ll learn the proper form of creative criticism. This not only fosters transparency in your culture, but also allows your teams to understand their future jobs better, and to feel better equipped to handle them.
Each employee is different, and so is their potential to become a manager. Use these methods to motivate them every day, to build a bond with yourself and your business that will help them persevere and recognize their own potential, and you’ll slowly transform them into leaders that will help you grow your brand over time.
Jacob Wilson is a business consultant, and an organizational psychologist, based in Brisbane. Passionate about marketing, social networks, and business in general. In his spare time, he writes a lot about new business strategies and digital marketing for Bizzmark blog.