Think about your ideal workplace. What is the atmosphere like? Most likely, people are working towards a common goal in an enthusiastic manner. There is a buzz around, people are talking and communicating, and a lot of work is getting done. Unfortunately, a lot of workspaces do not have this kind of atmosphere. Instead, you can usually find a couple of employees goofing off and wasting time. You can find many employees stressed and worried about their work. You can even find some employees considering a career change because they feel that their current position is dragging.
As a manager and leader, is there a way to fix this situation? Is there a way to create that buzz, to change the atmosphere? I believe that there is, and here are 5 ways to encourage your employees to change that atmosphere:
One of the best ways to encourage employees is to encourage competition. Many people love competition, to know that they’re coming out ahead. Many of us played sports and games when we were younger, and that competitive side of us hasn’t completely left us yet.
So how do you create competition in the workplace? One of the simplest ways is to create a leaderboard based on individual accomplishments within the organization. Do you manage a sales department? Create a leaderboard displaying who has the most sales for the month. Most departments and careers have a variable that can be measured in order to create competition among employees. Employees will find that they enjoy the competition, even if the end result is simply bragging rights.
Incentives are a huge tool when it comes to encouraging employees. Employees love to see their work being rewarded, especially when they’re putting in long hours and generating exceptional results. So what kind of incentives can you provide that will get keep your employees encouraged?
The most widely used incentive is easily a monetary incentive. But it is the most widely used for a reason. Employees respond to monetary incentives more than most other incentives. Are you offering a large bonus to any employees who can reach a certain goal this year? You better be prepared to give out a lot of those bonuses. Are you offering a pay raise based on performance evaluations? Get ready to see a spike in performance soon. Employees are always looking to increase their income, so using that as an incentive will get them to perform.
There are, however, other means of incentives besides monetary incentives. Some other incentives include gift cards, extra vacation days, and even a week with the company car. Employees respond wonderfully to these as well, and they will definitely be encouraged to work a little harder to achieve whatever the prize is.
Compliments are those little things that you don’t think about very often, but that have a huge affect on employees. Many employees get few compliments each and every day, which can make work seem like a drag and discourage the employee. What if employees received just one compliment every day? The atmosphere would change, employees would feel more encouraged, and work would become more productive.
So what kind of compliments can you give to your employees to keep them encouraged? Simply praising their performance whenever you can is a huge start. Did your employee just close a big deal? Tell them how awesome that is! Was your employee able to work things out with that customer that no one else had luck with? Tell them how much you appreciate them! It really isn’t that hard to find a few things to compliment each employee on. And those compliments will go a long way; employees will have their spirits raised and be encouraged to give it their all at work.
One of the large reasons that employees get discouraged in the workplace is because they are simply bored. More specifically, employees feel that they have little responsibility in their job and that their actions do not contribute very much to the organization. While this may be a larger issue in large corporations than in small businesses where most employees have more responsibilities outside of their department, it is still an issue in almost every major business. So how do we encourage employees that are relatively bored with their position?
The answer is simply more responsibility. When employees are given more responsibility, they will feel like they are contributing more to the organization. When they are given more responsibility, employees will feel like their position matters more in the organization. Employees will be encouraged when they feel like their position matters more and thus in turn will be encouraged to work harder in order to succeed in their position, ultimately helping the organization to succeed.
One variable to be careful of is burdening the employee with too much responsibility. While employees can become encouraged that they have more responsibility to the organization, they can in fact become discouraged if they have so much responsibility that it stresses them to the max. There is a good balance of responsibility and stress that has to be met in order to successfully encourage employees.
Every business and every department in a business has leadership. There are one or more people that have the responsibility to lead their employees to succeed for the business, and many employees look to their leaders to help encourage them to succeed. So how can leaders themselves use their position to encourage employees to give it their all in the work space?
The best way is to get involved in the operations of your employees. By this I definitely do not mean micromanaging, but that leaders should help out their employees with operations. If there is a large situation that is causing an employee to become stressed out and discouraged, the leader should step in and try to help the employee out by taking a portion of the burden on to themselves. For example, if there is a sales employee that is becoming discouraged with a large order that they are working with, the leader should step in and offer a helping hand in some areas, such as creating quotes or taking a few turns talking with the customer.
When leaders get involved in lending a helping hand to their employees, this will encourage employees to press on with their task that is a little more manageable. Employees will appreciate the helping hand, and will even be encouraged by the fact that they have a partner to help them tackle this task and succeed in scaling the impossible mountain.