Monday, May 25, 2020

List: Ten ways to motivate your employees.

As it nears my four year anniversary as an area manager, I've been reflecting.  I may have fallen into an occupational rut which may or may not have been deflected onto my team.  I still lead my team of thirty and advocate for them the best I can, but I've stopped motivating them.  Somewhere along the line I've become a leader that tweaks reports and manages numbers.  Our team calls and one on ones have disappeared, along with some of my respect for the organization.  I've forgotten what it means to be a leader and the importance of guiding my team to full potential.  Organizational values aside, these people rely on me and look to me for guidance.  They're being let down.  This year I will strive to be more motivational and to shape those who prosper to be more.  Excuse me while I brainstorm out loud with a motivational to do list..

how to motivate direct reports to perform better

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Ten strategies to effectively motivate your employees.

1.  Carve time for reoccurring one on ones.
When you have a long list of direct reports, you may find it's easy to limit communication.  A lack of communication almost always leads to a lack of motivation.  Communicate often and effectively.  Set up reoccurring meeting requests to have one on one discussions with your individual employees. 

Idea: Find the right balance.  Too often is nuisance for both parties and too infrequent is ineffective.  I recommend doing one on ones on a quarterly basis assuming that you're regularly communicating with your team in more informal settings.  Communication is a key item to motivate your direct reports.

2.  Set clear, obtainable goals for your team.
I've always found a goal to be a form of motivation in itself.  Set unique goals for each employee.  As long as they are obtainable, you'll find your employees working hard to reach it.

Idea:  Invest in a goal pad like this one so that you're able to provide an organized approach to setting these goals.  Your employees will appreciate the extra effort you made an be motivated to improve before the deadline set on the sheet.

3.  Offer rewards for those who reach stretch goals.
Stretch goals deserve a bigger acknowledgement than a simple thank you note.  Reward these accomplishments with a gift card, company branded gear, or even a work lunch!

4.  Always follow through and never make empty promises.
If your word isn't worth anything, then good luck motivating even the most gullible team player.  Be honest and only make promises that you have capabilities of keeping.  Being a reliable leader is key!  If you are unsure that you can deliver, promise that you will try hard to make it happen instead.

5.  Offer tuition reimbursement for college degrees.
Many employees feel pigeonholed due to their education.  A lack of a degree can limit one's career path.  An easy way to help your employees grow as individuals is to ease the financial burden of a college degree.  Set parameters that require enrollment in a program, a certain GPA, and proof of advancement.  This is a special type of motivation that will expand way beyond the parameters of their job.

Idea:  When doing annual reviews, motivate your employees to get degrees and certifications so that they're more valuable to the organization.  They'll recognize that obtaining these things will not only help them in their current role, but throughout their entire career.

6.  Recognize individuals during team calls.
Host a bi-weekly team call with your employees to highlight important information.  During this time, take a few minutes to offer kudos to employees that deserve to be recognized.  A compliment given with an audience goes a long way!  Unless they dislike attention, so know your team..

7.  Host team events.
Team events promote crew unity, break up the mundane routine, and show employees that you care.  Your employees will be motivated to work harder because they'll be happier and feel appreciated.

8.  Create friendly competition.
Creating a little friendly competition among your team and watch the motivation sky rocket.  Their routine productivity will suddenly increase.  Add a prize and watch the productivity soar!

Idea:  Trophies like these are inexpensive, but nice enough to display at work.  Set long term goals for your team and offer a trophy to the person who comes out on top.  Your <$10 trophy may seem silly to you, but I promise that it will be significant to a motivated employee.

9.  Acknowledge birthdays and important events.
Something as simple as a birthday wish and a cake could motivate an employee.  Baby showers for men and women, wedding wishes, and work anniversaries should be celebrated.  All it takes is a 15 minute acknowledgement from the work day to mold a motivated team!

10.  Work with employees to create customized career plans.
Not everyone wants to go in the same direction when it comes to their career path.  Some may want to venture into sales, management, or even work on process & procedure.  Set career plans for your employees to help them reach their goal.  Offer to pay for certifications or classes that would be vital in their dream career.  They'll be more willing to work for you and they'll be grateful that you're their manager!  One time an employee called me a mentor and credited me with their growth.  That's career goals!

What motivates you as an employee?


  1. The ten ways to motivate yourself are right, Jax. Especially the point at number 3.
    Giving prizes encourages staff to perform better.

    1. Agreed! It’s always better to motivate. Those results last better. I learned that from my days working at McDonalds.

  2. I've never asked you what does your company do? You're kinda like Chandler from Friends, we all know you manage an office but not what exactly is your business :)
    I believe best way to motivate your employee is to talk loudly and carry a whip with you. It probably works on husbands too, possibly on kids too....
    How do you dress like when you go to work?

    1. It’s been so long since I’ve heard a Friends reference. I manage the service (maintenance) side of the business for a life safety company for all NY, NJ, and PA locations. Think fire alarms, fire sprinkler, extinguishers, etc. It’s not very exciting. Lol. It depends where I am. On Long Island business casual, but everywhere else it’s pencil skirts and business dresses.

      I just ready my husband the comment about the whip. There was a quick flash of excitement and then a simple “no”. Although, we did get a good laugh out of imagining it. Hahaha

    2. Something to try in upcoming hot summer nights LOL

  3. Those are all fantastic suggestions. My husband and I host his team at our home once a year for dinner and games in our basement (we have a pool table, ping pong, foosball, and a golf putting thing.) I try to make fun meals like paella, tacos, or lasagna. It's nice because all the spouses attend and we get to know each other better.

    1. That sounds like so much fun! Unfortunately, my team is farther away so it would make that difficult.. but I do try to treat them for lunch when I visit their districts. Hopefully COVID19 goes away soon so that I can travel again. ...and you had me at Paella!! Can I come to the next one? lol!

  4. My employer doesn't motivate me at all.

  5. I wish more bosses wanted to motivate their employees. I was just talking to my bank's manager not too long ago and he made a good point. People don't leave good jobs, they leave bad bosses. When you feel the boss isn't pushing you to do your best (in a positive way) then it's time to go.

    1. An old manager of mine used to say "Are you a manager or a leader?" He said a manager just delegates and has high turnover while a leader leads their team and grooms employees to grow. :)

  6. Great tips indeed. And don't be a backstabbing dbag is another good one too. Be a boss and not a friend when it comes down to it is the way.

  7. Offering Wedding Wishes to the newly married couple is customary and ... can range from a shared joke to a well known funny phrase or quote.


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