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How To Inspire And Motivate Your Employees

How To Inspire And Motivate Your Employees

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.

    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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    Last Updated on December 3, 2019

    7 Powerful Steps to Achieve Career Success

    7 Powerful Steps to Achieve Career Success

    I often hear people say, “I want to be successful but don’t know where to start” or “I’ve achieved career success yet I’m not happy.” And then I ask, “what does career success mean to you?” And many have a hard time articulating their response with much conviction.

    It’s common that people lack clarity, focus, and direction. And when you layer on thoughts and actions that are misaligned with your values, this only adds to your misdirected quest to achieve your career success.

    A word of caution. It’s going to take some time for you to think about and work on your own path for career success. You need to set aside time and be intentional about the steps you take to achieve career success. In my opinion, this step-by-step guide is apart of your life philosophy.

    1. Define Career Success for Yourself

    Pause. Give yourself time and space for self-reflection.

    What does career success mean to you?

    This is about defining your career success:

    • Not what you think you ‘should’ do
    • Not what people may think of you
    • Not adjusting to friends and family’s judgements
    • Not taking actions based on societal or community norms

    “A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it. It just blooms” – Zen Shin

    When you strip away all your external influences and manage your inner critic, what are you left with? You need to define career success that best suits your life situation.

    There’s no fixed answer. Everyone is different. Your answer will evolve and be impacted by life events. Here are a few examples of career success:

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    • Work-life balance
    • Opportunities for growth and advancement
    • Feeling valued that my contributions had an impact

    Now even as you reflect on the examples above, the descriptions are not specific enough. You’ve got to take it deeper:

    • What do you mean by work-life balance?
    • What do you consider to be opportunities for growth and advancement?
    • How do you like to be recognized for your work? How do you know if your contributions have had an impact?

    Let’s take a look at some potential responses to the questions above:

    • I want more time with my family, and less stress at work
    • I want increased responsibilities, to manage a team, a higher income, and the prestige of working at a certain level in the company
    • I’d like my immediate leader to send me a thank-you note or take me out for coffee to genuinely express her or his gratitude. I’ll know I’ve made an impact if I get feedback from my coworkers, leaders and other stakeholders.

    Further questions to reflect on to help narrow the focus for the above responses:

    • What are some opportunities that can help you get traction on getting more time with your family? And decrease your stress at work?
    • What’s most important for you in the next 12 months?
    • What’s the significance of receiving others’ feedback?

    Now, I’m only scratching the surface with these examples. It takes time to do the inner work and build a solid foundation.

    Start this exercise by first asking what career success means to you and then ask yourself meaningful questions to help you dig deeper.

    What types of themes emerge from your responses? What keywords or phrases keep coming up for you?

    2. Know Your Values

    Values are the principles and beliefs that guide your decisions, behaviors and actions. When you’re not aligned with your values and act in a way that conflicts with your beliefs, it’ll feel like life is a struggle.

    There are simple value exercises that can help you quickly determine your core values. This one designed by Carnegie Mellon University can help you discover your top 5 values.[1]

    Once you have your top 5 values keep them visible. Your brain needs reminders that these are your top values. Here are some ways to make them stick:

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    • Write them on cue cards or notes and post it in your office
    • Take a picture of your values and use it as a screensaver on your phone
    • Put the words on your fridge
    • Add the words on your vision board

    Where will your value words be placed in your physical environment so that you have a constant reminder of them?

    3. Define Your Short-Term and Long-Term Goals

    When writing your short-term and long term life goals, use the SMART framework – Specific Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Treat this as a brainstorming exercise. Your potential and possibilities are limitless.

    How you define short-term and long-term is entirely up to you. Short-term can be 30 days, 90 days, or 6 months. Maybe long-term goals are 4 months, 1 year, or 10 years.

    Here are a few self-reflection questions to help you write your goals:[2]

    • What would you want to do today if you had the power to make it the way you want?
    • If no hurdles are in the way, what would you like to achieve?
    • If you have the freedom to do whatever you want, what would it be?
    • What type of impact do you want to have on people?
    • Who are the people you most admire? What is it about them or what they have that you’d want for your life or career?
    • What activities energize you? What’s one activity you most love?

    Remember to revisit your core values as you refine yours goals:

    • Are your goals in or out of alignment with your core values?
    • What adjustments do you need to make to your goals? Maybe some of your goals can be deleted because they no longer align with your values.
    • How attainable are your goals? Breakdown your goals into digestible pieces.
    • Do your short-term goals move you towards attaining your long-term goals?

    Get very clear and specific about your goals. Think about an archer – a person who shoots with a bow and arrows at a target. This person is laser focused on the target – the center of the bullseye. The target is your goal.

    By focusing on one goal at a time and having that goal visible, you can behave and act in ways that will move you closer to your goal.

    4. Determine Your Top Talents

    What did you love doing as a kid? What made these moments fun? What did you have a knack for? What did you most cherish about these times? What are the common themes?

    What work feels effortless? What work do you do that doesn’t seem like work? Think about work you can lose track of time doing and you don’t even feel tired of it.[3]

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    What are your desires? Try it out. Experiment. Take action and start. How can you incorporate more of this type of work into your daily life?

    What themes emerge from your responses? How do your responses compare to your responses from the values exercise and your goals?

    What do you notice?

    5. Identify ‘Feeling’ Words You Want to Experience

    Do you have tendencies to use your head or heart to make decisions?

    I have a very strong tendency to make rational, practical, and fact-based decisions using my head. It’s very rare for me to make decisions using my emotions. I was forced to learn how to make more intuitive decisions by listening to my gut when I was struggling with pivotal life decisions. I was forced to feel and listen to my inner voice to make decisions that feel most natural to me. This was very unfamiliar to me, however, it expanded my identity.

    Review this list of Feeling Words. Use the same technique you use for the values exercise to narrow down how you want to feel.

    Keep these words visible too!

    Review your responses. What do you observe? What insights do you gain from these responses and those in the above steps?

    6. Be Willing to Sit with Discomfort

    Make career decisions aligned with your values, goals, talents and feelings. This is not for the faint hearted. It takes real work, courage and willingness to cut out the noise around you. You’ll need to sit with discomfort for a bit until you build up your muscle to hit the targets you want.

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    Surround yourself with a supportive network to help you through these times.

    “These pains you feel are messengers. Listen to them” – Rumi

    7. Manage Your Own Career

    Not to be cynical, but no one can make you happy but yourself. If you don’t take control of your career and manage it like your own business – no one will.

    Discern between things that you can control and what you can’t control. For example, you may not be able to control who gets a promotion. However, you can control how you react to it and what you’ve learned about yourself in that situation.

    Summing Up

    For many who have gone through a career change or been impacted by life events, these steps may seem very basic. However, it’s sometimes the basics that we forget to do. The simple things and moments can edge us closer to our larger vision for ourselves.

    Staying present and appreciating what you have today can sometimes help you achieve your long-term goals. For example, if you’re always talking about not having enough time and wanting work-life balance, think about what was good in your work day? Maybe you took a walk outside with your co-workers. This could be a small step to help you reframe how you can attain work-life balance.

    Remember to take time for yourself. Hit pause, notice, observe and reflect to achieve career success by getting deliberate and intentional:

    1. Define Career Success for Yourself
    2. Know Your Values
    3. Define Your Short-Term and Long-Term Life and Goals
    4. Determine Your Top Talents
    5. Identify ‘Feeling’ Words You Want to Experience
    6. Be Willing to sit with Discomfort
    7. Manage Your Own Career

    “When you stop chasing the wrong things you give the right things a chance to catch you.” – Lolly Daskal

    Good luck and best wishes always!

    More Tips on Advancing Your Career

    Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

    Reference

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