How do your employees feel about your company? How do you know? You could set up an anonymous company survey and invite their input. You could also ask them directly. But be prepared – you’re likely to get some carefully crafted, politically correct answers.
In many businesses, more than half of their employees are unhappy, and nearly half are looking for a new job because of company culture.
What Employees Want
Company culture is probably the single biggest factor in employee retention and motivation. Lots of businesses get this wrong, assuming that salary and benefits are the reason employees stay at or leave a company. While wages and perks certainly have their place in the workplace, they’re only part of the whole picture. Your company culture – mission, values, ethics, expectations, and goals – is perhaps the most important element in employee engagement.
Like the old saying, “birds of a feather flock together,” when your company culture lines up with your employees’ needs and values, your employees are more likely to stay and contribute. Poor fit or poor culture results in turnover and an ongoing cycle of recruitment, which can be costly and time-consuming.
If you find your business in a constant cycle of employee turnover, maybe it’s time you examine your company culture.
The Opposite of Motivation
What motivates employees? The answers to that question can be as varied as the employees themselves and can also vary from company to company. Your company culture plays a big role in this motivation, so it’s important to get it right.
At the outset, you might assume that incentives are the way to go. The expectation that more money = more work, however, produces the opposite effect. In reality, money isn’t the best incentive if you’re trying to motivate your team to work smarter, produce more, or solve problems.
The carrot-and-stick form of employee management isn’t effective, either. Companies that set lofty (and ultimately unattainable) goals for employees to reach don’t motive their staff to work harder or smarter. Penalizing individuals for not achieving such goals works against you. Additionally, unrealistic goals that can only be met by cheating will instead result in cheating. This can create a toxic atmosphere in which staff members don’t trust one another. This “every man for himself” climate may work well for certain individuals, but it doesn’t help advance business goals overall.
So, if traditional methods of employee motivation are less than effective, what does work?
Employee Motivation That Works
Creating a company culture that employees embrace and want to remain in can be as simple as relaxing traditional business standards. Sales goals, customer experience, and profits will always be important measurements of business success. Still, greater success can come from creating a positive office culture based on these components:
Acknowledging employee effort and accomplishments can go a long way toward creating motivation in your staff. Employees want to know that what they do has value to your business.
Simply taking the time to thank employees, collectively and one-on-one, for their contributions helps to build relationships. It also connects employees to their work and helps them to feel pride in their workplace.
It’s easy to get caught up in business goals and profit margins, but your employees will appreciate knowing how they fit into the big picture. Employees want to know how their efforts further the goals of the company.
Every employee will face challenges in the execution of their duties. Anticipating obstacles and supporting employees as they work through them is much more effective than being critical.
If you’ve noticed a common thread here, it’s because positive office culture relies on promoting positivity. Employee engagement results from self-direction, as opposed to traditional management tactics. Giving your employees autonomy and recognizing their efforts can create an atmosphere in which they do their best work.
Motivating Employees with Workplace Rewards
Motivating employees through positive company culture is easier than you might imagine. Personal relationships are key to creating this atmosphere. Build and encourage these relationships by:
- Recognizing birthdays
- Giving public recognition
- Allowing flexible work schedules and/or remote work
- Promoting a healthy lifestyle
- Instituting a casual dress code
- Displaying motivational quotes
- Encouraging social activities during work hours
- Using Workplace Rewards to recognize and reward positive behaviors
Workplace Rewards, in particular, can help build positive company culture by encouraging your staff to participate in recognizing their peers. After all, positive recognition isn’t just the domain of management.
An engaged, motivated staff can boost your company productivity in many ways. Start by recognizing positive behaviors and you may see a significant change in your company’s culture.