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8 Changes You Can Make to Motivate Your Employees

8 Changes You Can Make to Motivate Your Employees

As an employer, one of your top priorities should be employee morale. After all, if your employees aren’t happy, it’ll show in their work, which shows in your sales.

There are entire books on the topics of management, employee motivation, and how to convince employees to do their jobs. There is a prevailing sentiment that employees are somehow lazy and uncaring, and need to be convinced that they need to do more than just wait around to collect a paycheck.

Successful employers and managers have found, however, that if you treat your employees like human beings, you can often create impressive success that translates into higher employee morale. Here are 8 simple ways to do just that.

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Care About Where Your Employees Are Headed

As a manager, when was the last time you sat down one on one with a team member and had a real conversation with them about where they saw themselves in five years? Maybe they envision themselves with the company, or maybe they have an entirely different goal in mind. If you know, and can feed them opportunities to use skills that build towards their goals, they’ll be more productive.

Link Employee Rewards And Company Performance

Are employee rewards for everyone, or just for those with corner offices? If your company truly believes in employee rewards being for every member of the company, then there needs to be a reasonable way for employees to perform at the expected level. Using rewards to try and achieve unrealistic goals is demotivating across the board.

Truly Care About Work-Life Balance

Do you have an employee who has a young child or elderly family member that they need to care for? Is there a hobby or club that they travel out of town for a few times a year? By offering flexible scheduling, to whatever degree is possible, you show your employees that you care not just about their productivity but their wellbeing. That, in turn, increases their productivity and benefits your business.

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Listen To Your Employees

If your employee comes by your desk to vent about a troublesome client, listen to them. If they’re having a frustrating day, or they have a success that they want to share, be their supportive ear. Sure, there are lines that need to be drawn at times if they’re discussing inappropriate outside work activities, but with work related conversations, you should be a safe place for them to express themselves. The less employees take these stressors home, the less likely they are to fester, and create long term unhappiness with a job.

Reward Behaviors You Want To See

If you see an employee doing something great, reward them for it. Know their “currency” beforehand, and use it. Some employees like to be publicly thanked; some like having you drop by their desk and say “I saw that you really paid attention at the meeting and were much more precise with your reports labeling this month. Thank you for that.”

Anyone who has ever trained anyone will tell you that rewarding positive behaviors gets you much better results than punishing negative ones.

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Communicate With Your Employees

If your employees never see you, how can they work with you? If you spend all of your time in your office or cubicle, sending out emails that can be misinterpreted and newsletters that no one reads, you aren’t managing a team.

Set up face-to-face conversations. Organize group meetings. Have open-door hours, where employees can come into your office and talk about their current projects, business ideas, client concerns, or anything else that they need to share in that moment.

Give yourself a face, so that they see you as a person.

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Be An Example

If you want your team to follow the rules of the office, you need to not just follow them, you need to be picture-perfect. Some managers follow the axiom that team members will determine an office’s dress code by looking at their supervisor and then dressing down one notch. This is true of many employee behaviors. If your employees see you get away with a rule bending once, they will assume that they can get away with it as well.

If you’re putting rules in place, don’t break them. If they’re not reasonable rules for the office, don’t make them in the first place.

Empower Your Employees To Succeed

As an employee, nothing’s worse than being told to do better without being given any tools or strategies to actually achieve the goal of improvement. As a team manager, make sure that you know what tools your team needs, and that they are readily available.

Managing a team for success is absolutely possible – you just have to treat people like people, instead of like replaceable cogs. You will get back what you put in, so start with your highest effort.

Featured photo credit: VIKTOR HANACEK via picjumbo.imgix.net

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Margarita Hakobyan

MBA from the University of Utah

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Last Updated on November 19, 2019

Work Smarter, Not Harder: 12 Ways to Work Smart

Work Smarter, Not Harder: 12 Ways to Work Smart

I imagine that like me, you say that you never have enough time and that you just cannot cope with 60 dozen things all at once.

How on earth do you get out of that spiral?

Many people never sit down and look at how to work smarter, rather than harder and even longer hours. But not you, you’re smart enough to try to learn effective ways to work.

So how to work smarter not harder? Here are 12 smart ways you should be following:

1. Improve Your Time Management Skills

Easier said than done? Well, no actually, because there are a few simple rules that can really help you to manage time better.

For example, when setting up a top priority task, you need to switch off the phone and ignore your email first. Then you need to abandon any ideas of multitasking as that will slow you down and ruin your focus.

Finally, set a reasonable deadline and do everything in your power to meet it.

“When you’re born, you’re born with 30,000 days. That’s it. The best strategic planning I can give to you is to think about that.” — Sir Ray Avery

2. Speed up Your Typing and Use Shortcuts

These days we’re all keyboard slaves. So why not speed up your typing and try to get rid of the two finger syndrome. In fact, when you save 21 days per year just by typing fast!

This is exactly what I am doing now, so I cannot honestly say I am practicing what I preach!

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But help is at hand. Try some of these apps and games to help you type fast: 8 Most Effective Games and Apps to Learn to Type Fast

Using shortcuts on the keyboard is another time saver and can speed up your work.

For example, press F2 to rename a selected file, while CTRL + I will put selected text in italics.

There are so many of these. If you make the effort to learn them, they really can be helpful.

3. Learn How to Use Productivity Tools

It is well worth downloading all the useful tools and apps that can highly boost your productivity. Take a look at these 18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools and install whatever fits your needs.

Now that is really a great way of working smarter, not harder.

4. Use Your Phone Wisely

Instead of writing emails, sometimes it’s better to pick up the phone and talk to the person responsible. It saves time, especially for important or urgent discussions.

If that colleague works in the same office, it is even better to go and talk to him or her. It gives you a break, you get some exercise and you actually make human contact which is becoming quite rare in this electronic world.

5. Keep a Tab on Your Tabs

If you are like me, you might well find that you have a ton of tabs open at the top of your browser.

In order to find the one you want, you have to search for them as they are off screen. Having all these tabs open slows down your browser too.

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One solution is to use OneTab which can keep a neat list on the screen of all these tabs when you want to quickly get to one of them or you want to remind yourself which ones you have open.

6. Use a “To Don’t” List

We all know about to do lists and I find that they are generally great. They give me a great sense of achievement as I cross off the tasks done.

But often, I find that we are doing non-essential tasks or ones that can easily be postponed. That is why many people recommend the to don’t list.[1]

Some people prefer to savagely prune the to do list while others prefer to have two separate lists, to do and to don’t. You just have to work out what works best for you when you are trying to save precious time to become more productive.

7. Expect Failure and Fight Paranoia

When failure rears its ugly head, some people get a bit paranoid and fear that this may become a trend.

Projects will go wrong and failure should be expected rather than feared. Learning lessons from failure and analyzing what went wrong is the best way forward.

“Do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again.” — Richard Branson

And here you can find 10 Great Lessons Highly Successful People Have Learned From Failure.

8. Be Concise

Rambling on at meetings, in emails and even when introducing yourself to new clients can waste a lot of people’s time.

One way is to practice and sharpen your “elevator speech,”[2] which tells people in 30 seconds or less why they need your skills and how they can benefit from doing business with you.

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Just think of the many situations where this could be useful:

  • Making new contacts
  • Talking about yourself at a job interview
  • Meeting people at conferences or parties
  • Phone calls to new clients

9. Ask the Right Questions

“You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions.” — Naguib Mahfouz

How do you get feedback? The secret is to ask the right questions at the right time.

When you do this, you are gathering the information you need to help in decision making. This will save you time and you will be able to cut meetings to a minimum.

Forbes magazine reports on research that they carried out on asking the right questions.[3] When that happens, the positive effects are increased by 400%. There are also other benefits in staff motivation and a positive impact on the company’s bottom line.

Lifehack’s CEO Leon has shared about how to ask for feedback to learn faster: How to Learn Quickly And Master Any Skill You Want

10. Learn as Much as You Can

You should always be on a steep learning curve. Look at your skills profile and determine where you need to fill a gap. Talk to important connections and network in your niche.

Keep up to date on trends and developments. It is a fact-changing world. When an opportunity arises, you will be the best equipped to seize it because you have never stopped learning. Just another way of working smarter.

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” — Mahatma Gandhi

11. Look After Your Greatest Resource

No, your greatest resource is not time. It is YOU.

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If you do not get enough sleep, exercise and relaxation, you find that you become less and less productive. You begin to work longer and longer hours, which is the exact opposite of what you want.

What you should be doing is making sure you are in the best shape. It is useful to remember that you need a break of 15 minutes after every one and a half hours of work.[4]

Taking breaks and getting fresh air and exercise is one of the best ways of working smarter, not harder.

12. Don’t Fall into the Trap of Working Smarter and Harder

As a society, we are obsessed with doing everything smarter so we are more efficient and we save time all around.[5]

But the most important thing to remember is to accept when we are ready to switch off that computer and not fill up the time with even more work!

The Bottom Line

The key to greater productivity is to work smarter, not harder. Working smarter saves precious time and energy for the things that really matter — your life goals, your personal growth, your health and your relationships.

Stop working for more hours and start working smarter!

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

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