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How To Inspire And Motivate Your Employees

How To Inspire And Motivate Your Employees
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These days it has become more important than ever to know about motivating, inspiring, and building a network of productive employees. Everyone likes to feel valued and appreciated. Employers benefit from lower turnover rates and a more pleasant work environment, as do employers and supervisors. These “incentives” don’t have to be costly, but a shift in company values or how employees are viewed is very valuable. If not for a company’s employees, there is no opportunity for success; motivated employees can drive a business to broader heights of success.

1. Offer flexible hours

Life is hectic and lives outside of work can quickly become difficult and unmanageable when work becomes all-consuming to an employee. Flexible hours in a very real sense are an acknowledgement by the employer that employees need time to conduct personal business outside of the workplace. This option also saves employees money and time through lower fuel and commute costs. For parents, additional savings are gained through reduced child care costs. One option is to provide an extra day off by having employees work ten hour shifts over four days. Another is to incorporate telecommute options into an employee schedule when possible.

Employers benefit in having happier, more productive employees. Employees return to work ready to work and tackle the tasks of the workplace. Surprisingly, employees with flexible schedules are less likely to be late or miss work hours, benefiting the employer in increased and more steady productivity.

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2. Make Paid Time Off Banks Available

A paid time off bank allows an employee to combine paid sick, vacation, or personal days and to take a day without specifying a reason. Some employers allow employees to “donate” paid time off to other employees. Days build up throughout the year and are rolled over or disappear at the end of the year. The benefit here is that employees can take time as they need it, without needing to explain the reason behind taking the leave. For example, a sick day may be taken as a personal day for employees who rarely get sick; otherwise the day would be lost to the employee. This option is gaining popularity among employers, who benefit from not having to track different types of leave. The option relates to higher job satisfaction and retention.

Employers gain through having more motivated employees who are better able to use their paid time off as they see fit. Another advantage is that rather than a sudden sick day, paid time off may be scheduled.

3. Keep Work Meaningful and Interesting

No one enjoys a repetitive and boring workplace. Keep work interesting through clarifying work purpose and vision. Employees who share in the vision of the workplace are more likely to be involved, alert, and productive. Work in and of itself should, and does, have a purpose beyond the simple fear of not eating, lack of funds, or becoming homeless. In fact, this may be one of the leading factors among dissatisfaction for employees engaged in low level work. Simply working for a paycheck, in many cases, is very unsatisfying. Even the lowest-level employee should know that there contribution is important to company success. Employees stay committed and are driven toward meeting company goals.

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Employers benefit through greater productivity, as employees grow in their sense of satisfaction in the workplace. Rather than being treated as only “cogs in a wheel,” employees gain a sense of personal satisfaction from being a part of something outside and beyond themselves.

4. Create a Sense of Belonging

Belonging drives the sense of purpose in meaningful work for employees. Often this sense of belonging begins in a company’s core value and mission statement. If a business or company does not have these, it is time to start putting these ideas to paper and incorporating them into the workplace. Avoid cliquish behaviors. Some ways to build cooperation are through team exercises or building a buddy or mentoring system. Get to know the person behind the work; no one is exclusively the work that they do. Learn to appreciate people for who they are, rather than what they do. Sharing the goals and objectives of the organization enhances everyone’s sense of belonging and purpose to the organization. Listen to the ideas and contributions of all employees to add to this sense of workplace belonging.

Employers benefit through a continuous cycle of listening to employees’ ideas and contributions to the workplace. In doing so, redundant processes may be eliminated or innovative methods of doing business may be explored and implemented.

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5. Implement Safety in the Workplace

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    Besides implementing federal guidelines for preventing death, accidents, and the like, safety rules add to a sense of worker belonging and purpose. When the employer sincerely enforces safety, the employee feels there is a real sense of caring that goes beyond simple policy. Sincere efforts to care about the health and welfare of employees, as well as their safety, have a tremendous impact. In come cases, local governments have had to implement regulations or force businesses to regard the safety and health of their workers. Businesses that are proactive in these areas increase workers’ belief that they are more than a means to an end. Implementation of health and safety policies increases workers’ job satisfaction, which in turn improves productivity.

    Building an image of a safe and healthy environment benefits the company through increased sales and a more active role in the community, as a trustworthy organization. Staff morale is improved, while the company saves money on costly accidents that may shut down production.

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    6. Provide Company Perks

    How great would it be to work for a company that regularly provides exclusive perks? Pretty darn, I’d say. Employees could be rewarded through receiving a company product or service or gift cards to local business. Hot Topic, for example, reimburses employees for concert tickets. In return, employees report on the fashions the band and fans were wearing along with merchandising ideas. Include family with a company picnics held annually, and give away business samples or low-cost merchandising items such as pens or notepads. Give tickets to local sports events, the movies, or other local events. Not only are these fun ways to share in the business, but such perks add to an employee sense of belonging.

    Employers benefit from the workplace projecting a fun, caring, and involved image. This image will help attract better employees while encouraging company retention. A sense of teamwork and camaraderie leads to a greater sense of employee job satisfaction.

    7. Open The Door to Greater Opportunities

    One of the more common reasons for employee flight and turnover is reduced opportunities to learn and advance. When career stagnation sets in, employees get bored and look for better employment options. Teach new skills or enhance old ones through ongoing training opportunities. Training is also a kind of “day off” from the workaday grind. Both employees and employers benefit as employees grow in their potential. Make a point to promote from within first, rather than seeking talent from outside the company. Employees who have been with the company for some time have the opportunity to move upward, while new employees have more of a reason to remain with the company. Employees will come to appreciate and understand their intrinsic value to the company.

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    Employers benefit from hiring within by having an employee already familiar with company procedures and culture. Companies can also benefit from offering cash incentive to employees who bring in new business.

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    Published on July 27, 2021

    15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow

    15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow
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    During the pandemic, video conferencing replaced in-person meetings and has now become the standard option for business meetings. Over the past 17 months, most workers have gotten past the video conferencing learning curve with Zoom or Microsoft Teams (or their platform of choice).

    But just as with in-person meetings, attention can wax and wane. Some say we’re just not used to staring at ourselves so much on the screen. Instead of fixating on that, try employing smart video conferencing etiquette, or you may risk indiscretions that will flag you as a slacker.

    Put the Pro in Professional

    After more than a year of fine-tuning, here are the new rules of video conferencing etiquette.

    1. Mute Your Mobile and Other Devices

    The first video conference etiquette you need to know is muting your other devices. Just as in the pre-COVID days, someone’s obnoxious ring tone blaring Taylor Swift’s newest single in the middle of a meeting is also an annoyance if it happens during a Zoom meeting and so is the inevitable fumbling to turn off the sound. Even the apologies to the group get tiresome.

    Also, when notifications are activated on the computer that you’re using for the meeting, the incoming message takes over the audio and you’ll miss out on snippets of the conversation. Be sure to eliminate this possible faux pas.

    2. Dress the Part

    While working from home, you may have fallen into the habit of slipping on your comfiest T-shirt each day. Hey, no judgments! But before you log on to your video conference, try to make an effort with your appearance.

    Depending on your company culture and the importance of your meeting, consider dressing the part of the professional whom you wish to project. It will help you feel more self-assured, and others will likely take you more seriously.

    For women, wear light make-up, put on earrings, and make sure your blouse is crisply pressed. For men, show up freshly shaved. Wearing a crisp collared shirt in a solid color will usually suffice.

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    Pro Tip: Stay away from wearing white or black, unless those colors look great on you. Consider wearing light blue or brown instead.

    3. Stage Your Workspace

    Have you noticed the backdrops of experts interviewed on news shows? Bookshelves and photographs are carefully curated, and no busy-patterned furniture or artwork is in sight.

    Take note of what appears behind you when you choose the location of your video conferences. Piles of junk mail on the table or stacks of folded laundry on the couch will convey more about your personal life than you care to share. Make sure you remove clutter from the camera’s eye, and present a tidy, orderly workspace to your colleagues, coworkers, and bosses.

    4. Put Some Thought Into Lighting and Perspective

    Be aware that in a video conference, your computer camera can actually make you look up to ten pounds heavier depending on where you sit. But you can easily drop those added pounds by moving back from the screen to diminish the wide-angle distortion.

    Frame your head on the screen by tilting the screen up or down. Also, it’s best to not place yourself in front of a window or bright light, which makes you appear in shadow. Instead, face the light source, moving it (or yourself) until you have a flattering amount of illumination. You can also purchase some small spotlights that allow you to add light as needed.

    Pro Tip: If your lights add too much redness to your skin, consider counter-balancing with a green filter.

    Remember That Half of Life Is Showing Up

    5. Arrive on Time

    In the old days of in-person meetings, it was nearly impossible to slip in late into a meeting unnoticed. In today’s video conferences, logging in late still shows poor form. Instead, strive to arrive five minutes early and get yourself settled.

    Once the meeting is underway, the host may be less attentive about late arrivals waiting to be let in. Diverting the host’s attention away from the meeting with a tardy entry request is the ultimate giveaway that you didn’t honor the schedule. If you don’t want a black mark against you, log in on time.

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    6. Turn on Your Video

    Few people like to see their face on the screen, but buck up and turn on your camera in video conferences. In most cases, it’s better to be a face on a screen than a name in a blank square. Your statements will be more memorable when other meeting attendees can see you.

    If you need to turn off the video, either because of a poor connection, some commotion in the room, or a need for a quick break, give a short explanation via the chat feature. Then, go back on video as soon as you’re able.

    Pro Tip: Keep your explanation for your departure pithy. “Sorry! Doorbell rang. Back in five” says it all. Be sure to honor what you say in chat and really do return in five minutes.

    7. Plan Ahead Before Sharing Your Screen

    Don’t be one of those people who makes everyone else wait as you click through folders in search of a document. That’s just poor video conferencing etiquette. If you know you’ll need to share a document or video on your screen, prepare by pulling it out of its folder and onto your desktop. Also, clean up the files and folders on your desktop to reduce clutter and facilitate easy access. Close other programs like chat, calendar notifications, and email. Disable pop-up notifications to ensure there’ll be no unforeseen distractions.

    Be sure to remind the host before the meeting that you’ll need them to activate the screen-sharing function. Show courtesy once you’re finished by hitting “stop share” to return to the screen with participants.

    Attend to the Pesky Details

    8. Make Sure That Meetings Remain Right-Sized

    With the easy accessibility of video conferencing, it can be tempting to extend the meeting invitation beyond the core group and include everyone peripherally involved in a project. But just as with in-person meetings, the more people involved, the more unwieldy the meeting becomes.

    Use good judgment when asking others to sit through a video conference so that you don’t needlessly take up others’ time and so that participants can be fully engaged.

    9. Remember to “Unmute” Before You Speak

    Most of us are likely able to count on one hand the number of video conferences when someone didn’t have to be reminded, “You’re on mute!” Forgetting to unmute before speaking has become one of the most common missteps in video conferencing.[1]

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    Show everyone your impeccable video-conferencing poise by managing your mute feature with flawless control.

    10. Stay on Point to Keep the Meeting Length in Check

    As with in-person meetings, an agenda with assigned time limits for discussions remains necessary to keep a meeting focused. Data shows, however, that video conferencing can actually reduce meeting time.[2] Reasons include the elimination of commuting time and the ability to screen share and annotate to keep everyone on task.

    Additionally, side conversations are virtually impossible with video conferencing now that you can no longer have back-and-forth exchanges with the person beside you.

    Pro Tip: If you’re running the meeting, let attendees know in advance the protocol for the chat feature. Is it okay for them to “chat among themselves” or not? (See point 11, as well.)

    Talking Has a Time and a Place

    11. Chat Appropriately

    Just like side conversations or texting in an in-person meeting, the use of the chat feature during a video conference can be disrespectful unless it’s directed to all participants. Hence, it’s good video conferencing etiquette to mind your use of the chat.

    At the start of the meeting, you may want to ask the host if it’s alright for participants to use the chat feature. This allows them to disable it if they choose. Used appropriately, it can be a helpful tool to clarify or amplify an earlier point once the conversation has moved on or to let the group know that you need to sign off early (and why).

    12. Use the “Raise Hand” Feature to Avoid Interruptions

    The slight lag in many video conferences can result in speaking over another person if you attempt to jump into a conversation. To avoid this awkward interruption, indicate when you have something to add to the discussion with the raise-your-hand feature that signals the host you would like to speak. This effective meeting management device makes video conferencing run more smoothly, especially with a large group, but it must be activated and monitored by the host.

    Pro Tip: For meetings of six to ten people, sometimes the old-fashioned raising of your physical hand may be the best option. But it’s up to the meeting host. Ask them what they would prefer, and follow that.

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    13. Don’t Record the Session or Take Photos Without Prior Permission

    In this case, not sharing is caring. The “sharing culture” made popular through social media has little place in video conferencing. Before recording a meeting or capturing a screenshot of the participants, always ask for consent in advance from the full roster of attendees. Knowing that a video conference will be photographed or recorded could have a bearing on what others are willing to discuss.

    Manage Yourself

    14. Minimize Distractions

    While de-activating audio and video features can keep distractions from affecting the other participants, you will need to manage noise and disruptions on your end to give your full attention to the meeting.

    Move out of high-traffic zones in your home, keep your door closed, and ask family members to be considerate.

    15. Save Snacking for Later

    Save snacking for later—or earlier. Eating while on video conference is a no-no. Munching in front of the group while close to the camera—as you are when video conferencing—subjects the participants to an up-close and (too) personal view of your food consumption process.

    However, it’s perfectly fine to sip quietly from a glass of water or cup of coffee or tea. If the meeting threatens to last for more than two hours, you may want to ask the host in advance to schedule a five-minute break at the halfway point.

    Final Thoughts

    Even though bosses are now beginning to ask workers to spend some of their workdays on-site, up to 80 percent will permit employees to work remotely at least part of the time, which means more video conferencing in your future.[3] Mastering these video conferencing etiquette tips will help you dial in—as well as dial back—your participation and demonstrate your unwavering level of engagement to the team.

    Featured photo credit: Chris Montgomery via unsplash.com

    Reference

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