Keeping your employees motivated is often considered as crucial for getting good output. Motivated employees deliver better results, right? Motivated employees are less likely to slack. Motivated employees are less likely to call in sick when they are maybe just having a small cold. Motivated employees will do their best to deliver the best possible result. Motivated employees will make that extra mile to make the deadline.
However, all these arguments have a relatively short term focus. Especially, if you compare it with the real benefits of inspired and motivated employees. A truly inspired and motivated employee is loyal and loyalty can provide you with long-term competitive advantages.
A true loyal employee will stay with you no matter what. A true loyal employee will give those extra hours (even if it´s oin the weekend!) because he or she will also know how to take those hours back. A true loyal employee will defend you no matter what. A true loyal employee will be able to make the difference between short term and long term success.
Ok, so you might wonder now, how do you inspire and motivate your employees to get to this level? And the answer is actually surprisingly simple and relatively cheap from an employer´s perspective. No raises involved or high monetary reward packages. Money can only buy a certainshort-termm loyalty, if money is the main driver, loyalty will only be there until a better offer comes along. Challenging work and development opportunities are definitely important but probably won´t be your secret weapon. The key in truly inspiring and motivating employees lays in being human, transparent and fair and by creating a culture of trust.
As a leader, always lead by example to inspire your team and try to lead the way you would like to be led. Looking at a very tangible example, imagine that within your team someone´s mother passes away and your HR policy says that for death of a direct family member you will get 3 days off. Think about it, if your mother would pass away, is 3 days enough to deal with this? Probably not! How would you like it if your manager would say “take as long as you need, we won´t write these days down”? That´s a pretty amazing and very supportive message to get right? And if you get that type of support from your employer you will probably not abuse it.
The same principle would go for managing work life balance. By focusing on output and offering flexible arrangements on when and where to work, you will provide so much value to your employees and that type of value can´t be bought by monetary rewards. Again, leading by example is key here and creating a culture of trust. Trust that everyone will deliver what they have to and that they are capable of managing their work no matter what the working hours or location. As an employee if you have that kind of trust, resulting in lots of flexibility on how you organize your day, you will make sure you don´t lose it and will likely go the extra mile to deliver great results.
Finally, transparency and fairness are key here. One of the topics that bothers employees most in their job are office politics and the related hidden agendas. Hence, to truly inspire your employees, be honest and be fair. Reward and recognition should be based on output, not on connections or on office politics. Transparency and fairness are concepts that are really valued by employees and that will generate a type of motivation and inspiration that is hard to achieve in different ways.
Therefore, when thinking about how you want to motivate your employees, consider what you want to achieve and what kind of working culture you want to generate in your company. Truly inspired and motivated employees will be loyal and loyalty will provide your company with some real benefits that are hard to realize with the conventional ways of motivating your employees.
How do you ensure your employees get and stay inspired and motivated?