It can be hard to create a workplace where employees feel inspired, engaged, and motivated – but it’s worth the work to build a strong company culture and reap the benefits thereof. Inspired employees are more engaged, more interested in doing a good job, and more connected to their coworkers.
But what can you, as a boss, do to inspire your employees? A lot, actually. Simply giving your employees the respect they deserve and the space to do their jobs can work wonders. It’s also important to recognize things like employment anniversaries and employees’ life milestones. Be a little flexible when employees need it, and give them the chance to align their goals with company needs.
1) Respect Them
It’s vital that your employees feel that you respect them. Employees who feel respected by leadership feel more engaged – up to 55 percent more – than those who don’t feel respected by leadership. Build relationships with your employees based on honesty, communication, and support. When you’re trustworthy and act with integrity, your employees will be more loyal to you, and will feel more committed to their roles and the company.
2) Recognize Their Milestones and Accomplishments
Do you know what motivates your employees? It may not be money. For plenty of people, a little recognition is as satisfying as a more tangible reward. Praise and recognition makes people feel good about themselves. It can increase feelings of satisfaction and self-worth. It strengthens bonds between coworkers and between team members and management. It can even make working extra hard or putting in long hours feel like less of a sacrifice, when you know your effort will be seen and appreciated.
In addition to recognizing workers who put in extra hours or those who exceed expectations in some way, remember that everyone needs their time in the sun. Every one of your employees is doing something that deserves recognition. For example, you can give recognition for an employee anniversary to every employee on their work anniversary day. You can acknowledge everyone’s life events and birthdays. You can find some strengths in an employee’s performance to praise them for – maybe they’re never late, or ready to take on any problem, or always know how to calm a certain client down. Everyone needs recognition, and it should come regularly throughout the year, not just in the form of annual performance reviews.
3) Involve Them in Setting Goals for the Company
Employees need to understand the company’s goals and how their own roles help the company achieve those goals. When you know what the company is trying to achieve, you can more easily understand how you can help. Employees can have an important role to play in setting company goals, because they alone know intimately what they can and can’t do, and that input can be vital during the planning stages of reaching any goal. Furthermore, goal alignment between employees and management can help everyone feel more motivated and more invested in outcomes.
4) Be Flexible
Especially in the post-COVID world, people want some flexibility. And with technology being what it is, there’s no reason not to give it to them. Give your employees the opportunity to flex their schedules or work from home some or all of the time. Flexible scheduling options will leave your employees feeling like you support their work-life balance, and that will help them feel more respected. It will also leave them with the energy to devote to doing their best work, and they’ll feel more loyal to a job that supports them both professionally and personally.
5) Give Them Some Space
No one does their best work with management breathing down their neck. Higher levels of autonomy in the workplace have been found to boost feelings of job satisfaction. You need to trust employees to do their work independently, and if you’re not hiring employees who can do their work independently, that’s something you need to work on.
You can allow your employees to decide such things as what order to do things in, how to complete specific tasks, how fast to work, and even, to some extent, where the work takes place. Give employees milestones to reach or offer increased flexibility as a perk to top performers. You might be surprised at how well employees work when you’re not hovering over them.
Are your employees as inspired as they could be? If not, they could have one foot out the door and you wouldn’t even know it. Grow your management skills and inspire your employees, and they’ll reward you with increased loyalty and performance.