These are the seven secret employee motivation techniques that I have found to work. You can start to use these methods right away and they don't cost a thing.
1. Get to know each member of your team
“Don’t forget to get to know every one of the people on your engagement teams. Remember, to them you are a rock star.” This is the advice I was given by our CEO when I was first promoted to Managing Director at a very large consulting firm.
I thought about it for awhile and I realized that he was exactly right. When I was younger and in a staff position, nothing motivated me like getting to know “the boss”. Now that I was the boss, I vowed to make it one of my priorities. It became one of the employee motivation techniques that I used the most. It was especially important to the people on our consulting teams as my team was almost always far away from home and working long hours. I made it a point to get to know them and plan dinners out and other outings for the team on a regular basis.
2. Stay visible--this is a very powerful employee motivation technique
I call it “management by walking around”. Every morning I made it a point to go around and talk to everyone on my team. I tried to come up with a subject that was personal to them. For my sales teams, I would recognize something that they did well the day before. If there wasn’t something specific, I would start up a conversation about one of their customers or a product that they sold well. For an inside sales group, obviously this was logistically easy to do. For a field sales team, I would do it on the telephone. Even if I had to meet with the sales person that day to resolve a problem, I would make sure the conversation ended up with my recognizing something they had done well. This employee motivation technique works for everyone, not just sales people.
3. It's up to you to relieve the tension
Put on your “vagabond shoes”. Do something to relieve the stress your team is feeling. When I was a sales director for Mattel, every February we attended Toy Fair in New York where my team met all of our customers in the span of two weeks and booked 90% of our business for the year. This trip was tiring and stressful with long hours and no breaks. Most of my team dreaded this trip, but it was critical in making our sales goals. So, about a week before we took off for New York, I would stand in the aisles among the cubicles and start singing, very low, “start spreadin’ the news”. Then “I’m leavin’ today”. “I want to be a part of it, in old New York”. You get the idea. I sang the whole song. Soon everyone was in the aisles and we were all singing and soft-shoeing it and laughing at each other. Sometimes when things got pressure-filled (usually during quarter end) I would break open some toy samples and start shooting foam rubber bullets down the aisle. Do something to break the tension. It’s your job. Humor is one of the most effective employee motivation techniques that I know.
4. Compliment your team in writing
Let your employees hear from you in writing. At the end of a milestone of any kind (month-end, quarter-end, contest-end) write an email to the entire group congratulating them on the job they have done. Don’t skip this if it has been a rough quarter because, believe me, they will notice. Give them any pertinent sales/production numbers and let them know where your department stands towards any group goals that have been set. If it has been a rough quarter, be honest about it and tell them in straightforward language what needs to be done to correct the problems. They will appreciate your honesty and openness. Be sure to copy the appropriate upper level executives. Your employees will love this as it shows that you are proud of them and that you are paying attention to the details. They will also pay attention to the details.
5. Be a supportive boss--this is one of the most important employee motivation techniques I know
Support your people. Fight for them. If they need new equipment or training to do their job, get it for them. Let them know that you are fighting for them. If someone accuses them of wrongdoing, get the facts and back them. Then deal with any problems behind closed doors. If they know you support them they will support you when the going gets tough.
6. Treat everyone fairly
Make sure it’s fair. This applies to your dealing with everyone. If you get the reputation for being fair, your employees will follow you anywhere. When I was with the big consulting firm, we had an assignment system for engagement credit that was totally unfair. We all had to fight each other for the credit that we deserved because the system was set up poorly. Managing Directors who were the most aggressive ended up with the credit, not those who worked for it. It was a lousy system and we hated it. Be sure to correct anything like this that is unfair because it is a killer of employee motivation.
7. Recognition is one of the most powerful employee motivation techniques
Recognize, recognize, recognize and then recognize again. Never underestimate recognition. This includes verbal and written recognition as well as awards. Those Employee of the Month/Quarter/Year Awards? Don’t underestimate their importance. These things mean a lot to your team and you should never ignore, forget or minimize their significance.
I hope that you found these techniques interesting and worthwhile. If you would like to comment, I invite you to contact me here.
Click below on articles about Employee Motivation:
If you like what you see, please sign up for my regular newsletter, Possibility, to receive the latest information. To receive each new post as it is written, please sign up for the RSS feed on the lower left side of this page.
Get a free e-book titled Survival Guide for Corporate Climbers and a relaxation audio download when you sign up for this newsletter! Two great thank-you gifts for signing up!
Want to stay up-to-date on the latest in energy-based motivation and self improvement techniques? Sign up here for my regular newsletter titled Possibility. You will receive:
My name is Carolyn Jolly. My professional life has been in sales, marketing and IT management. Along the way I’ve been studying and experimenting with self improvement and personal development techniques for the past 20 years. I have had more than a few mind-blowing experiences and I’ve made some discoveries that have shaped my ideas. I’m now using this website to pass those ideas along.
Our world is changing very rapidly. Many of the constants and institutions we thought to be permanent are now crumbling or changing drastically. This website is dedicated to those interested in how to manage their lives in light of these changes or in just becoming a better person. I hope the information you find here will stimulate you to embark on your own voyage of motivation and self improvement.
I hope that you will find something here that interests you. If you have any questions or comments, you can reach me here.