How to motivate your staff (without patronising them)

As a manager, employer, team leader or entrepreneur, you would have no doubt faced the challenge of motivating your staff. Whether this is to get them to complete a project to a certain deadline which seems to be falling behind, or whether you just want bigger, bolder and fresh ideas from your team to help your business to grow and flourish. It can be hard to find tactics and processes for motivating team members without sounding too patronising. You don’t want to sound like a parent to a child… “Very well done Sally I am pleased with you,” or “You can go home early if you finish this on time Martin” can come across a little too condescending. So, with that in mind, we look at a few tips to encouraging staff without coming across badly:

Hiring correctly, right from the start

It is important that every new member of your team should be passionate about their job, your aims and working for you. An interview with Vasco de Castro, Business Development Director of Fruitful Office, a fruit delivery company in the UK, said that hiring correctly from the start was the key to having a good team around you day to day, “Surround yourself with the right people. Ensure they share your passion and vision.” This might include lengthier interviews, or interviews with several stages, so that other members of your team can vet the candidates and give their opinions, too. Finding a good HR or recruitment company is also vital. De Castro also advised that you should “delegate to grow. You can’t do everything and be everywhere, you have to trust your team to ‘do the right thing.’ You should empower your team. Give your team the tools to be heard and really ‘make a difference’. Not only will your team be motivated, but your business will flourish.”

Offer them more than just praise

Praise is great, and is really helps you let your staff know that you are pleased with their work. But, try and offer more. Vasco de Castro says, “We employ people from diverse backgrounds into a variety of job functions. We provide training, a productive work environment and development opportunities. We want to ensure that our team is motivated and happy, whilst improving their skills.”

So, make sure you get your staff trained. In an annual review of their work, ask them what they would like. Perhaps they are finding it difficult to operate a new system, and would appreciate more training on it. Whatever it is, listen, take note and take action if you can.

Don’t just assume everything is OK

According to Business Collective, you should check in with your employees regularly. Don’t assume it’s all OK, as colleagues can easily get bored.

Their blog post suggests, “Host a cupcake bake-off, plan a happy hour, start a push-up contest in the middle of the office on a Wednesday, or allow a different person to run the weekly meetings to break up the monotony.” And let’s face it, work can get boring – it is natural for employees to fall behind simply because they are bored. It might help motivate people if you add a bit of interest to the workplace.

You could also consider arranging team days, nights out, and celebrating birthdays within your department. This can help people feel part of the larger group and encourage loyalty.

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