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How to motivate your staff

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Making sure you get the most out of your staff can often be one of the most challenging aspects of running a business.

With the current economic climate certainly proving to be difficult at times, motivating your employees to do their best when representing your company could well be the difference between success and failure.

According to a recent study by the Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM), perhaps the more traditional method of encouraging staff to work harder – by offering a financial bonus – is losing the effect it might once have had.

The research found that of the 1,000 people surveyed, only 13 per cent listed performance-related bonuses as one of their top three effective means of motivation.

So what does inspire workers to up a gear these days and how can you get everyone striving for company success?

Flexible working

With technology like 4G connectivity and conference call facilities ever-improving, homeworking certainly seems to be one way to keep employees happy without it impacting on the bottom line.

Recent research by the Employers Network for Equality & Inclusion found that not only were more companies planning on introducing more mobile working practices over the next five years, but also those who were already employing such measures were seeing an increase in levels of staff satisfaction.

Of course, it is unlikely your workers will be motivated if they are unhappy – therefore this is certainly a step in the right direction.

Salaries

Going back to the ILM study, while bonuses aren’t so effective – the impact of having a respectable salary rated highly among both men and women as being one of the key factors in getting them to work harder.

It’s almost like the saying that respect is a two-way street – if you value your staff, pay them what they’re worth and in return they are more likely to push themselves to justify the faith that you are putting in them.

Logic also dictates that underpaid – and therefore undervalued – staff are less likely to be happy in their work, which again takes us back to the equation that happy equals motivated.

Communicate

This doesn’t mean simply communicate the fact you want your employees to work harder.

Communication between management and the office floor is vital to making sure that everyone is pulling in the right direction – from communicating what your vision and aims are for the company to finding out what your workers need to help them do their jobs more effectively.

By involving your workforce in regular update meetings and training sessions you are investing time in the cogs that fit together to make your business work – and that is time spent very well indeed.

Make work fun

Doing this can really pay off in the motivational terms – Google, for example has everything at its London headquarters from spiral slides and massage chairs to themed offices and on-site allotments to inspire its staff to achieve great things.

If yours is the type of company people enjoy working for, then that loyalty will transfer itself to productivity.

While your own way of making work fun doesn’t have to be as comprehensive as Google’s – you may well notice that a little effort in this department can go a long way.