From tired to inspired: five practical tips to motivate employees

According to the latest Gallup poll, only about a third of American workers feel engaged at work. Without that feeling of engagement, employees are bound to be looking for new, better opportunities. So, how can you keep your team focused and excited about their jobs? Here are five practical solutions that will help you create an environment of motivation and inspire longevity of employment amongst your team members.

Step 1: Look in the mirror

If you’re coming into the office carrying worries from home or stress about the job, your employees are going to mirror that back to you.

Think about your own family, whether as a parent now or as a child growing up; when Mom or Dad is moody and out of sorts, everyone in the house feels it. The same is true of the workplace. Your employees are your work family, and their ability to work in a positive, encouraging and optimistic environment depends on your ability to create it.

Step 2: Get to know people

If you are nothing more than a name on an office door, you can’t influence the mood and motivation of your team effectively. Get to know people. Ask them how their weekend was. Inquire and show caring about them as individuals that have lives outside of the workplace. Create a bond. Form a connection. Show empathy.

Being a business owner is a very busy job, but find the time to stop for a moment and show that you care and your employees will respond with more caring for the work they do for you. They’ll be loyal, they’ll give back to you and they’ll be much more committed.

Step 3: Treat employees like “intrepreneurs”

It’s not realistic to expect your employees to have the same level of commitment for your business as you do— it’s your baby! — but they can certainly come close with the right motivation driving them.

When your team members feel personally invested in the company, they are more likely to be motivated to help the business succeed. To achieve this requires taking the time to sit down with each employee one on one (or have team leads do this for larger companies). Express the overall vision and mission of the company clearly, succinctly and with passion, tying in the individual’s position within it as crucial to the company’s overall success.

Finally, put the ball in the employee’s court. Ask them how they feel they can best contribute to the big-picture vision you’ve laid out. By taking this last step, you are empowering that person to become an “intrepreneur,” someone who is building the company’s success from within.

Step 4: Focus on solutions

Ask team members to focus their energy on solutions rather than problems. To grow and achieve your highest successes, you and your employees need to work together to create positive outcomes rather than focusing on current or past perceived failures.

Establish a “no whining” zone and ask employees to check life’s baggage at the door when they come to the workplace… and that includes you! If you got stuck in traffic on the way into the office or your plumbing broke at home or you quarreled with your significant other, set those things aside and focus on positive momentum. One great way to do this in in Step 5.

Step 5: Encourage an attitude of gratitude 

If your company is a place where people feel truly celebrated and appreciated for their successes, it will be a workplace they are invested in and motivated to remain with. Take the time to personally thank and praise individual employees for a job well done, even on a small scale.

Celebrate team achievements as well as individual ones and do so both one on one and at team meetings. You could even have a weekly success meeting on the schedule!

As your company grows, having a committed team to back you up each step of the way will be integral to your success. Do this right, and you’ll create a winning company culture that people will want to support with their time, energy and efforts. At the end of the day, people want to feel appreciated, respected and necessary. Put energy into delivering these to your team and watch your company thrive.

Allison Maslan is a serial entrepreneur, having created and successfully run 10 different companies including cultivating a 20-year practice as a holistic physician. Her company Allison Maslan International offers Pinnacle Global, a three-tier business coaching program that teaches entrepreneurs how to accelerate their growth, capitalize on their success and balance it all with a meaningful life. Visit www.AllisonMaslan.com. For further high-impact support, listen to her free audio for business owners, “The 8 Millionaire Secrets of Successful Business Owners,” at www.AllisonMaslan.com/cd.