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Last Updated on July 29, 2021

7 Effective Ways To Motivate Employees in 2021

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7 Effective Ways To Motivate Employees in 2021

Learning how to motivate employees is easier in theory than in reality, mainly because knowledge is useless without application. The pressures of remote work, hiring freezes, and uncertainty around a job only add to the chaos that is managing people in the workplace, and the pandemic has taken its toll on much more than company bank accounts, as team morale and employee motivation have come to a crux in the road.

HR managers are seeing a significant increase in workplace-related issues being reported since the pandemic started, and they’re showing no signs of slowing down. This trend will most likely hold as companies begin to place restrictions on workplace options by demanding employees return to the office to resume standard pre-pandemic workflow.[1]

A notable 48% of employees have reported issues to their HR departments since the pandemic started.[2] And these statistics appear to be getting worse with new developments in COVID-19 variants, civil unrest in cities across the country, and people deciding to change careers amid turmoil within businesses.

Yet, while this may sound like we are on the brink of an economic collapse, the glass is still half full.

Because of the pandemic, the environment has seen significant advances in decreasing water and air pollution due to less travel.[3] The US economy is still barreling through a bull market, and most of us have had greater opportunities to spend time with family due to lockdowns and social distancing measures.

As Winston Churchill said,

“Never let a good crisis go to waste.”

Companies that choose to change the way they treat their employees during these dire times will see their efforts pay dividends down the road for many years to come, and motivating employees is one small piece of the puzzle towards making the workplace a place of productivity, engagement, and continuous improvement.

Profits are usually preceded by people taking action, which is why investing in your employees is one of the most vital factors in maximizing company growth.

Curious as to how to motivate your employees to success? Here are seven effective ways to motivate your employees in 2021.

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1. Ask Them for Their Feedback

Something magical happens when you ask someone their opinion about a topic—they immediately feel better about themselves and you!

When people provide their perspective, it feeds their ego and changes their view of the conversation, creating a greater likability for you or the individual who asked the question.[4] This simple strategy can leave a long-lasting positive impression, which in turn will facilitate greater trust and higher employee satisfaction over time.

Employees who feel heard have a higher probability of coming to work early or staying late to finish a project because they feel they are genuinely part of the team. Their work is no longer seen as just being a part of the job because they are now emotionally invested in individual and company-wide initiatives.

Asking questions will also facilitate higher-level cognitive processing, promote new ideas, challenge company norms, and provide a greater sense of confidence in creating solutions to problems.

2. Give Them the Freedom of Choice

Do you remember what it felt like to drive a car on your own for the first time? It felt like absolute freedom. Life was now different. Time appeared to slow down, and everything felt like it was there for you to explore.

What if you were able to make employees feel this same sort of fulfillment at work? Good news—you can!

When employees experience true freedom of choice, they can put more energy and effort into their work. They no longer feel anxious or worried about being watched. And from a neurological perspective, freedom can maximize brain power and mental processing.

Research has consistently shown how chronic stress and anxiety can negatively impact the brain, altering our ability to process information and impair working memory. It also causes us to be more error-prone, creating more work on the back end as we try to go back and fix errors.[5]

When employees feel like they have a choice in the matter, their motivation and willingness to get work done will inherently increase.

3. Minimize Meetings for Greater Productivity

There’s a reason Jeff Bezos uses the two-pizza rule for his meetings—too many cooks in the kitchen can create unnecessary tension and slow down progress.[6]

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Even more importantly, excessive meetings can also delay the growth and creativity of problem-solving—and this isn’t just popular opinion. A study conducted by Igloo Software found out that 47% of employees think meetings are unproductive.[7]

A Harvard Business Review survey also found that 65% of senior managers felt meetings take away from their ability to complete their work, with 71% of them feeling like meetings were an unproductive and inefficient use of time.[8]

This time spent meeting could easily be spent working on projects or investing in building relationships between colleagues, yielding a significantly greater return on investment through team building and effective communication strategies.

Meetings sound great in theory but rarely yield the dividends needed to justify their use. And for the most part, excessive meetings can be demoralizing, especially if they’re unnecessary and wasting time. More work from meetings usually equates to less motivation to work as it piles up, regardless of an individual’s efforts.

4. Provide Resources for Continued Professional Growth and Learning

Investing in your employees is one of the best investments a company could make—especially during dire times—because it shows that you have employee’s best interests in mind. Yet, many companies worry that the time, energy, and money they invest in their employees will turn on them if they leave.

Regardless of the investment, some employees will choose to leave at some point in time. But when employees leave on good terms and feel like they could grow with a company, they instantly become walking billboards for the company they left, which can create future job referrals and opportunities for expansion.

When employees feel like the company they work for is willing to invest in them for their personal growth, those employees will be more inclined to invest their time, energy, and resources to work even harder for the company. This process creates a positive feedback cycle of productivity that can carry any company through the inevitable ups and downs.

We’ve got news for you for those who are still skeptical about making investments in employee development. Investing in employee training and development can reduce employee turnover and absenteeism over the long run, once again saving precious time and resources.[9]

5. Engage Employees in Setting Individual and Company Goals

Peter Drucker is famous for saying, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.” And there’s a reason for why he said it.

Goal setting can be one of the most impactful ways to increase motivation and boost productivity, and according to Latham and Locke—two of the most prominent researchers in goal-setting theory—setting goals can boost productivity by 11 to 25% when done correctly.[10]

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Once again, when employees feel as though they are a part of the conversation, they are willing to put in the extra effort when needed to complete a task, finish a job, or go above and beyond their regular line of responsibilities to be a team player.

This concept also combines individual initiatives and turns them into company-wide goals, providing a fully encompassing and heavily integrative approach to team building. When the employee and the company reach their individual goals, a sense of personal and professional fulfillment occurs, creating a shift in momentum that the business can use to propel the company into even more growth and development.

Goalsetting is no longer something you should do behind closed doors. It’s an essential part of your business plan and can help you retain top talent while creating an optimal workplace environment.

6. Let Them Know You Care

People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. And if they know you care, they will have no reason to look elsewhere for another job opportunity.

Caring is so much more than saying “thank you,” although this is always a great place to start. Caring about employees means genuinely listening to their feedback, providing them options and alternatives with choosing how they want to work, and allowing them to make decisions on their behalf freely.

When companies care about their employees, they don’t question why an employee needs to take time off or whether a project will get done because they trust their people. They let their employee’s outcomes and actions speak for themselves.

When companies genuinely care about their employees, employee engagement skyrockets, and employee retention is kept at bay. These factors are significant because maintaining high employee retention is a bigger problem than hiring new employees, especially with small businesses.[11] 99.7% of the employers in the US are small businesses, so when they struggle with keeping employees happy, everyone suffers as a result of it.

Caring may not directly show up on the monthly budget or quarterly earnings reports, but that doesn’t mean it can’t have significant payoffs over the long run.

7. Give Praise In Public, Critique in Private

Have you ever felt the spine-tingling second-hand embarrassment of being in the same room as someone who was being scolded by a superior? It’s horrific and entirely preventable.

What do you think this does to individual morale? What about team morale? Do these sorts of antics facilitate taking calculated risks, challenging the status quo, or provide motivation for progress? Think again.

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Influential leaders must give feedback, but the way they choose to provide input can have a ripple effect throughout the company, even if it doesn’t directly affect everyone.

One bad incident can yield significant negative consequences throughout an organization and have detrimental effects for years to come. As Maya Angelou said, “people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Praising employees in public provides a collective boost in team morale by creating an overall sense of security that appeals to our foundational needs.[12] This factor is even more impactful when negative feedback and difficult conversations need to occur.

By providing an intimate setting without external or outside judgment, difficult conversations can take on a life of their own that can create growth, learning, and development. And this is the time to give feedback about performance, metrics, and must-needed changes. Not only does this facilitate trust and relationship building, but it also promotes safety and time to discuss personal and professional factors that may also be weighing in on an employee’s performance.

Trust can take years to create and minutes to shatter.

Motivation Is Just the Start

To truly move a company forward, systems need to be in place to reach goals and expectations. Opportunities like this don’t happen in a vacuum, so you’ll have to learn how to motivate employees and maximize their productivity.

Motivation is merely a stepping stone to productivity and maximizing company growth, which is why leaders and employees need to communicate their intentions with clarity and by taking action consistently. Much like one cannot acquire the benefits of physical exercise by merely thinking or speaking about it, the same holds for setting goals and having genuine intentions of change.

Your actions will always speak volumes, so be sure to stay consistent as you implement these steps. Motivation is a lot like bathing—you must do it daily to uphold your standards.

More Tips on How to Motivate Employees

Featured photo credit: Campaign Creators via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Dr. Erik Reis

Peak-Performance Leadership Consultant

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Last Updated on August 25, 2021

Why Personal Branding Is Important to Your Career

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Why Personal Branding Is Important to Your Career

As a recruiter, I have met and interviewed hundreds of candidates who have no idea who they are.

Without a personal brand, candidates struggle to answer the question: “tell me about yourself—who are you?” They have no idea about who they are, what their strengths are, and how they can add value to the company. They present their CV’s believing that their CV is the key to their career success. In some ways, your CV still has its use. However, in today’s job market, you need more than a CV to stand out in a crowd.

According to Celinne Da Costa:[1]

“Personal brand is essentially your golden ticket to networking with the right people, getting hired for a dream job, or building an influential business.” She believes that “a strong personal brand allows you to stand out in an oversaturated marketplace by exposing desired audiences to your vision, skillset, and personality in a way that is strategically aligned with your career goals.”

A personal brand opens up your world to so many more career opportunities that you would never have been exposed to with just your CV.

What Is Your Personal Brand?

“Personal branding is how you distinctively market your uniqueness.” —Bernard Kelvin Clive

Today, the job market is very competitive and tough. Having a great CV will only let you go so far because everyone has a CV, but no one else has your distinct personal brand! It is your personal brand that differentiates you from everyone else and that is what people buy—you.

Your personal brand is your mark on the world. It is how people you interact with and the world see you. It is your legacy—it is more important than a business brand because your personal brand lasts forever.

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I have coached people who have very successful careers, and they come to me because they have suddenly found that they are not getting the opportunities or having the conversations that would them to their next role. They are having what I call a “career meltdown,” all because they have no personal brand.

A personal brand helps you become conscious of your differences and your uniqueness. It allows you to position yourself in a way that makes you stand out from the pack, especially among other potential job applicants.

Don’t get me wrong, having a great CV and a great LinkedIn profile is important. However, there are a few steps that you have to take to have a CV and LinkedIn profile that is aligned to who you are, the value you offer to the market, and the personal guarantee that you deliver results.

Building your personal brand is about strategically, creatively, and professionally presenting what makes you, you. Knowing who you are and the value you bring to the table enables you to be more informed, agile, and adaptable to the changing dynamic world of work. This is how you can avoid having a series of career meltdowns.

Your Personal Brand Is Essential for Your Career Success

In her article, Why Personal Branding Is More Important Than Ever, Caroline Castrillon outlines key reasons why a personal brand is essential for career success.

According to Castrillon,[2]

“One reason is that it is more popular for recruiters to use social media during the interview process. According to a 2018 CareerBuilder survey, 70% of employers use social media to screen candidates during the hiring process, and 43% of employers use social media to check on current employees.”

The first thing I do as a recruiter when I want to check out a candidate or coaching client is to look them up on LinkedIn or other social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Your digital footprint is the window that highlights to the world who you are. When you have no control over how you want to be seen, you are making a big mistake because you are leaving it up to someone else to make a judgment for you as to who you are.

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As Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, once said, “Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room.”

In her book, Becoming, Michelle Obama writes about the importance of having a personal brand and her journey to defining her personal brand. She wrote that:

“if you don’t get out there and define yourself, you’ll be quickly and inaccurately defined by others.”

When you have a personal brand, you are in control. You know exactly what people will say about you when you leave the room.

The magic of a personal brand is that gives you control over how you want to be seen in the world. Your confidence and self-belief enable you to leverage opportunities and make informed decisions about your career and your future. You no longer experience the frustrations of a career meltdown or being at a crossroads not knowing what to do next with your career or your life. With a personal brand, you have focus, clarity, and a strategy to move forward toward future success.

Creating your personal brand does not happen overnight. It takes a lot of work and self-reflection. You will be expected to step outside of your comfort zone not once, but many times.

The good news is that the more time you spend outside of your comfort zone, the more you will like being there. Being outside of your comfort zone is where you can test the viability of and fine-tune your personal brand.

5 Key Steps to Creating Your Personal Brand

These five steps will help you create a personal brand that will deliver you the results you desire with your career and in life.

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1. Set Your Personal Goals

What is it that you want to do in the next five years? What will your future self be doing in the next five to ten years? What is important to you? If you can answer these questions, then you are on the right path. If not, then you have to start thinking about them.

2. Create Your Unique Value Proposition

Create your unique value proposition by asking yourself these four questions:

  1. What are your personality features? What benefit do you offer people?
  2. Who are you and why do people enjoy working with you?
  3. What do you do and what do people want you to do for them? How do you solve their problems?
  4. What makes you different from others like you?

The answers to these questions will give you the information you need to create your professional story, which is the key step to creating your personal brand.

3. Write Your Professional Story

Knowing who you are, what you want, and the unique value you offer is essential to you creating your professional story. People remember stories. Your personal story incorporates your value proposition and tells people who you are and what makes you unique. This is what people will remember about you.

4. Determine Which Platforms Will Support Your Personal Brand

Decide which social media accounts and online platforms will best represent your brand and allow you to share your voice. In a professional capacity, having a LinkedIn profile and a CV that reflects your brand is key to your positioning in relation to role opportunities. People will be connecting with you because they will like the story you are telling.

5. Become Recognized for Sharing Your Knowledge and Expertise

A great way for you to promote yourself is by sharing knowledge and helping others. This is where you prove you know your stuff and you gain exposure for doing so. You can do this through social media, writing, commenting, video, joining professional groups, networking, etc. Find your own style and uniqueness and use it to attract clients, the opportunities, or the jobs you desire.

The importance of having a personal brand is not going to go away. In fact, it is the only way where you can stand out and be unique in a complex changing world of work. If you don’t have a personal brand, someone will do it for you. If you let this happen, you have no control and you may not like the story they create.

Standing out from others takes time and investment. Most people cannot make the change by themselves, and this is where engaging a personal brand coach is a viable option to consider.

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As a personal brand coach, working with my clients to create their personal brand is my passion. I love the fact that we can work together to create a personal story that defines exactly what people will say when you leave the room.

Other People’s Stories

Listening to other people’s stories is a great way to learn. In his article, 7 TED Talks About Personal Branding, Rafael Dos Santos presents the best Ted Talks where speakers share their stories about the “why,” “what,” and “how” of personal branding.((GuidedPR: 7 TED Talks About Personal Branding))

Take some time out to listen to these speakers sharing their stories and thoughts about personal branding. You will definitely learn so much about how you can start your journey of defining yourself and taking control of your professional and personal life.

Your personal brand, without a doubt, is your secret weapon to your career success. As Michelle Obama said,

“your story is what you have, what you will always have. It is something to own.”

So, go own your story. Go on the journey to create your personal brand that defines who you are, highlights your uniqueness, and the value you offer to the world.

Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

Reference

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