You may have asked yourself this question once or twice. Wouldn’t it be fabulous if everyone of your team bounced into work each day, full of enthusiasm and ideas on how to make the business better and make life easier. Wouldn’t that be great?
Can’t be done I hear you say. Impossible!
Here at SeeChange we have more faith. We think you can help people to love their job, especially if you have chosen the right people in the first place.
We are often asked for tips on how to engage, motivate and help staff to be interested in/love what they are doing day to day – particularly if it’s repetitive work.
In saying that, we realise it’s not easy. You are often dealing with a range of people with different personalities, different experiences and different motivations.
Here are some practical tips that will help team members to feel empowered, motivated and to find what they do more enjoyable:
- Helping them to understand and ‘buy into’ the vision, goals and targets of the business
Pride in a business’ aspirations and accomplishments builds motivation. Provide staff with regular information and updates about how everyone is going in relation to reaching the vision, goals and targets of the business and speak in their language not in jargon.
Success stories also help team members to feel proud. Regularly share what the business is doing well, and who is doing what well, linking their daily work to the overall vision of the business. Team members will engage if they know where they fit and how their work contributes to the success of the business.
- Living the mission and values of the business
Regularly spend time ensuring everyone knows not just what the mission of the business is, but what the mission of your business means on a day to day basis.
Pick out key words and converse about what these words actually mean, and how you would know if they were/weren’t being ‘lived’/enacted daily.
Do this same type of activity with your values. Talk about them regularly, and also ‘catch’ people ‘doing the right things’ and applaud people when they demonstrate they are living the values and mission of the business. Most of all ensure that the leaders, managers and supervisors live these values too – they are the strongest influencers of whether or not people ‘believe in’ the values and mission. You can’t expect team members to behave to a certain standard if those in leadership positions contradict the values of the business.
- Developing measures of success and tracking results
People are motivated by knowing what is expected of them, what time frame it is to be achieved in and most of all – why it matters. Explain how their performance will be measured and ensure you spend time regularly tracking the results and sharing these with people so they know where they are at and how they can improve what they are doing.
- Encouraging creativity and innovation
Creativity means allowing people to come up with new ideas or ways of doing things. Innovation is when these ideas are reviewed, and then taken on board, implemented and the outcome of this is a better service or product.
Regularly review your systems, processes, services and products looking for creative ways to improve them, or how they are sold. Ask the team for their ideas (creativity) and then if these ideas are suitable, make sure they are implemented and reviewed to determine if they did actually improve some part of the business (innovation). Team members will feel a sense of ownership of the ‘new way’ if they are enabled to be part of it.
- Providing opportunities for learning and development
Ensure there are times for the team and/or individuals to learn new skills and expand their thinking. Targeted training needs to be a regular investment, reflected in your budget. It’s not something that you do when you have some spare time or money.
If you select the most appropriate training for people you will see a positive return on your investment through improved work performance and the reaching of targets. If you aren’t seeing results after training, you need to look at how you determined the need for the training, how you chose the provider, the way the training was delivered, and even your role in supporting team members to apply their knowledge gained back at work.
- Recognition of individual and team achievements
Recognising people and teams for the quality of their performance motivates people and we don’t mean rewarding people for just doing what they are paid to do. We mean rewarding individuals and teams for efforts that are ‘above and beyond’ their role, for example, outstanding customer service, ensuring a product was delivered on time when it seemed impossible.
- Providing time to celebrate ‘wins’
Recognising and celebrating accomplishments motivates people. Thank your team members for what they do. Take the time to celebrate when team results are achieved. This doesn’t have to be a major event or cost to the business. A morning tea, lunch or even a mention at the team meeting helps people to feel their efforts are being noticed and appreciated.
- Regularly consulting staff
Regularly ask team members for problems they are seeing, ideas to fix things, and ways to continuously improve what they are doing. Create a culture where the team is encouraged to be part of developing the solution, not just complaining about the problems. This gets people thinking and using the resources you have – your people!
Have regular meetings once a month or after special events or projects and ask all members to contribute ideas in these five areas:
- What went well?
- What hasn’t gone so well (not naming people, just incidents or systems that didn’t work well)?
- What have we learnt from this experience?
- What other projects do we have that we can transfer the learnings from this project to?
- What can we do the same or different next time and/or for other projects?
So, as you can see there are a number of things you can do to engage your people.
The trouble is as a leader if you don’t create the time to do some or all of these things, you’ll never fit them in. They just won’t happen!
And that is the point. When in a leadership position, your role is not to continue to be the technical expert, but to engage the people you have to work together to get things done, and you never know they might just end up LOVING their job!!