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Motivate Your Employees Or Team Members In 10 Easy Ways

Motivate Your Employees Or Team Members In 10 Easy Ways

When it comes to motivating employees, many employers think the only way to do it is by offering more money. Fortunately for your bank balance, that is rarely the case. In fact, according to a recent survey by BNET, now a part of CBSMoneywatch, when asked the question: “What motivates you at work?” Most people responded with something other than money.

“The results showed that doing something meaningful is more important than money or recognition to your employees. Twenty nine percent of respondents said that doing something meaningful was the most motivating thing about work. Money motivated 25 percent, and recognition 17 percent.”

So how can you motivate employees to work better? Try these ideas:

1. Career Path Exploration

You chose your employees because they are great at what they do, but maybe they don’t want to do that forever. Helping your employees grow and expand their responsibilities through additional training opportunities can be very motivating. Let your employees explore their options and find their own path. Maybe they really enjoy their job but want to be better at it — or maybe they’d like to try something different. Job shadow opportunities and classes can be very motivational and help your employees think they’re “getting somewhere.”

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2. Honor Their Personal Lives

Maybe you don’t want to know about your employees’ personal lives but honor the fact that they have one. If you know a mother has a child to pick up from school at the same time everyday and it’s not critical that she sit at her desk during that time, respect that and give her the chance to be there for her child too. If you know she’s a good employee and loves her job, she’ll love it even more if you let her come in early or work from home in the evenings so that she can do the things she needs to do for her children in the afternoon. Doing this will make her a loyal employee who values the work she does for you because you value how she divides her time.

3. Do Unto Others

This is the basic Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” How were you treated when you were an employee and not the president of the company or the owner? Was it bad? Do you wish it had been better? Was it good? Treat your employees as you wish to be treated and you will see the respect flow both ways.

4. Say Thank You

Whether you want to throw an employee recognition party or just pull someone into your office to express your gratitude, saying “thank you” is the single most important and motivating thing you can do for any employee. Write a quick note or an email. Let them know you are paying attention and appreciate the work they do. It takes less than 5 minutes and it can truly make someone’s day.

5. Hold Social Gatherings

Beyond the standard holiday party, try and hold social events for your employees. While everyone has a life outside the office, let’s face it, when you spend eight or 10 hours a day with the same people, you get to know them pretty well. It’s only natural that employees would want to hang out with each other after work. Have a volleyball tournament. Host a cookout. Go to the lake and have a campfire. Invite families. Make your work life a part of an overall “family-like” structure at work.

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6. Give Time Off

Nothing is less motivating than hearing “you don’t have days left in your schedule” when you need a day off. No matter what it’s for, allow your employees to make the call when it comes to taking a day off. According to Bloomberg Businessweek:

“Highly educated employees given autonomy over their own schedules end up working harder because they want to prove who can put in the most time at the office, University of Pennsylvania professor Alexandra Michel found (PDF) after spending 12 years studying the work habits of young executives at two large investment banks. Bankers, software engineers, and lawyers—so-called knowledge-based workers—often work more than 100 hours per week to the detriment of their health, even when nothing urgent demands their attention, she says.

“When employees feel they are required to work more, it motivates them to work less. When given more power to set their own pace, young bankers choose to work longer hours, take less vacation time, and sacrifice personal needs, Michel said in a study published in the summer issue of The Sociological Quarterly. Quoting one of her study subjects, Michel wrote: “When someone left before midnight, you’d hear comments like ‘half a day today?’”

7. Face Time

Kevin Plank, the founder of Under Armour, says, “When we had fewer than 25 employees, I brought the entire team together at least once a week. We’d talk about a lot of things, including major decisions that were on the table. I listened to everyone’s opinions, and, without fail, they’d bring up things I hadn’t thought of. More important, my team members knew that they were part of the process and that their voices mattered. Employees are more motivated when they feel needed, appreciated, and valued.”

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Bring employees into the room. Ask their opinions. Implement their ideas. It’s motivating to think you have some say in what goes on in your business.

8. Research and Development

Foster creativity and innovation by asking your employees to spend a percentage of each workweek exploring new things and brainstorming new ideas. Some days this might be just surfing the Internet, exploring a half-baked idea but other days could see an employee building a scale model of a new design for the whozit that might be the “next big thing.” Some days this kind of exploration might not go anywhere but other days it could mean the start of something big.

9. Don’t Micromanage

Chances are, unless they’re new to the job, your employee knows how to do the work your asking them to do. Nothing is less motivating than being supervised every step of the way — especially if it’s a task you’ve done a thousand times before. Let go. Let your employees do their work. If a mistake happens, allow your employee to take responsibility and fix it if they can. Think how much time this will free up for you too!

10. Hire “Engines.”

Kevin Plank likes to hire leaders. He calls them engines and they motivate other employees.

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“At Under Armour, I call them engines, and I place them strategically around the organization. Look for people who aren’t afraid to make the big, tough, decisions — people who want pressure and responsibility. They are innately passionate and inspired, and they make other people want to work hard for them. When you find people with these characteristics, use them wisely. They’ll certainly make your job easier, especially when it comes to keeping the rest of your team motivated.”

It’s important, especially in a large organization, to have those people who can help make things work. Motivate these people by letting them know how valuable they are.

Featured photo credit: NBC via i.huffpost.com

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Michelle Kennedy Hogan

Michelle is an explorer, editor, author of 15 books, and mom of eight.

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Published on March 20, 2019

How to Write a Powerful Mission Statement for Your Business

How to Write a Powerful Mission Statement for Your Business

Have you ever felt lost in the minutia of your job?

As a business owner, I can relate to getting bogged down in the day to day operations of my business. Things like inventory, payroll, scheduling, purchasing and employee management take up the bulk of my day.

While these things are important and need to get done, focusing too much on the details can make you lose sight of the big picture. This is why having a good mission statement comes in handy.

What is a Mission Statement?

Put simply, a mission statement is an internal document that provides a clear purpose for the organization. It provides a common reference point for everyone in the organization to start from.

In other words, after reading your company’s mission statement, managers and employees should be able to answer the question “What are company’s main objectives?” For example, Southwest Airlines mission statement reads:[1]

“Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.”

In this single statement, Southwest conveys the company’s goals of providing the highest level of customer service as well as providing a good working environment for their employees.

Mission Statement VS. Vision Statement

While the mission and vision statements are related, there are subtle but distinct differences the you should be aware of.

First of all, a mission statement is designed primarily as an internal company document. It provides clarity and direction for managers and employees.

While there’s nothing wrong with sharing your company’s mission statement with the outside world, its intended audience is within the company.

While a mission statement provides a general framework for the organization, the vision statement is usually a more inspirational statement designed to motivate employees and inspire customers. Going back to Southwest Airlines, their vision statement reads:[2]

“To become the world’s most loved, most flown, and most profitable airline.”

This statement inspires good feeling from the customer while motivating the employees to achieve that vision.

What Does a Good Mission Statement Look Like?

When coming up with a mission statement, it’s important to take your time and do it right. Too often, people (especially entrepreneurs) just write down the first thing that comes to mind and they end up with worthless or (worse yet) a generic mission statement that is utterly useless.

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Remember, a mission statement should provide a common framework for everyone in your organization.

When writing a mission statement, you should always try to incorporate the following;

  • What we do?
  • How we do it?
  • Whom do we do it for?
  • What value are we bringing?

Now, you can see how tempting it is to just come up with something generic that ticks off those four boxes. Something like “We provide the best widgets available online for the consumer.”

After all, that did check off all the boxes:

What we do? Provide widgets.

How we do it? Online.

Who do we do it for? The consumer.

What value we bring? The best widgets.

The problem with this mission statement is that it could apply to any number of companies producing the same widget. There is nothing to distinguish your company or its widgets from any of your competitors widgets.

Compare that mission statement to this one:

“We provide the highest quality widgets directly to the consumer at an affordable price backed up with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If our clients aren’t 100% satisfied, we’ll make it right.”

What’s the difference?

Both mission statements answer all the same questions of what, how, whom and value. But in the second statement, they are differentiating their company from all other competitors by answering the question “what makes us unique”.

Another way to read that is, “Why you should buy from us.” In this example, it’s because our widgets are of the highest quality and we stand behind them 100%.

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You might have noticed the statement didn’t say that we sell widgets at the lowest possible price. That’s because we are emphasizing quality and satisfaction over price.

A different company’s mission statement may emphasize selling widgets at the lowest possible price with little to no mention of a guarantee.

Hallmarks of a Good Mission Statement

1. Keep It Brief

Your mission statement should be no longer than three sentences. This is not your company’s magnum opus.

You should be able to distill the what, how, who and why questions into a succinct message.

2. Have a Purpose

A company’s missions statement should include the reason it even exists.

Make clear exactly what the company does with statements like “We strive to provide our customers with …….”

3. Include a “How”

Take this as an opportunity to differentiate your company from its competitors.

How do you provide a product or service that’s different or better than how your competitor provides it?

4. Talk About the Value You Bring to the Table

This is where you can really set yourself apart from the competition. This is the “why” customers should buy from you.

Do you offer the lowest prices? Fastest delivery? Exceptional customer service? Whatever it is that sets you apart and gives your particular products, services or company an advantage talk about it in the mission statement.

5. Make Sure It’s Plausible

It’s okay to shoot for the stars just to settle for the moon, but not in a mission statement.

Being overly ambitious will only set you and your employees up for failure, hurt morale and make you lose credibility. You will also scare away potential investors if they think that you are not being realistic in your mission statement.

6. Make It Unique and Distinctive

Imagine if someone who knew nothing about your business walked in and saw how it was operating, then they read your mission statement. Would they be able to recognize that mission statement was attached to that business? If not re-work it.

7. Think Long Term

A mission statement should be narrow enough so that it provides a common framework for the existing business, but open enough to allow for longer term goals. It should be able to grow as the business grows.

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8. Get Feedback

This is very important, especially from managers and employees.

Getting their input can clarify how they currently see the company and their role within the organization. It’s also a good way to get people “on-board,” as studies show that people are more likely to go along with an idea if they feel included in the decision making process beforehand.

9. Review Often and Revise as Necessary

You should review the missions statement often for two reasons.

First, as a reminder of what the essence of the company is. It’s easy to forget when you are in the day to day grind of the business.

And two, to make sure that the mission statement is still relevant. Things change, and not everything can be anticipated at the time a mission statement was written.

For example, if a mission statement was written before the advent of the internet, a company that use to sell things door to door now probably has a website that people order from. You should always update the mission statement to reflect these changes.

The Value of Mission Statements: Why Go Through All of These in the First Place?

It may seem like a lot of work just for a few sentences that describe a company, but the value of a well written mission statement should not be discounted.

First of all, if you are an entrepreneur, crystallizing the what, how, whom and value questions will keep you focused on the core business and its values.

If you are a manager or other employee, knowing the company’s basic tenants will help inform your interactions with both customers and colleagues alike.

Strategic Planning

A relevant mission statement acts as a framework for strategic planning. It provides guidance and parameters for making strategic decisions for the future of the company.

Measuring Performance

By having the company’s mission in a concrete form, it also allows for an objective measurement of how well the organization is meeting its stated goals at any one time.

Management can identify strengths and weaknesses in the organization based on the criteria set forth in the mission statement and make decisions accordingly.

Solidifying the Company’s Goals and Values for Employees

Part of a well run organization is nurturing happy and productive employees.

As humans, we all have an innate need for both purpose and to be part of something larger than ourselves. Providing employees with a clearly defined mission statement helps to define their role in the larger organization. Thus, fulfilling both of these needs.

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Now I’m not saying that a mission statement can overcome low pay and poor working conditions, but with everything else being equal, it can contribute to a happier and more productive workforce.

To Hold Management Accountable

By creating a mission statement, a company is publicly stating its highest values and goals for the world to see. By doing so, you are inviting both the public and your employees to to scrutinize how well the company lives up to its ideals.

So if you state that you only provide the highest quality products, and then offer something less, it’s fair for both the public and the employees to question, and even call for a change in management.

If management doesn’t take the mission statement seriously, no one else will either; and the legitimate authority that management rely’s on will be diminished.

To Serve as an Example

This is the opposite side of the coin from the previous statement. If the highest levels of management are seen taking the mission statement seriously and actively managing within the framework of the statement, that attitude filters down throughout the organization.

After all, a good employee knows what’s important to their boss and will take the steps necessary to curry favor with them.

Finally, use the company’s mission statement as a way to define roles within the company. You can do this by giving each division in the company a copy of the mission statement and challenge the head of each division to create a mission statement for their respective departments.

Their individual mission statements should focus on how each department fits in and ultimately contributes to the success of the company’s overall mission statement. This serves as both a clarifying and a team building exercise for all parts of the organization.

Final Thoughts

Developing a mission statement is too often just an after-thought, especially for entrepreneurs. We tend to prioritize things that we perceive will give us the biggest “bang for our buck.”

Somehow, taking the time and effort to sit down and think seriously about the what, whom, how and value of our business seems like a waste of time. After all, we got in the business to make money and become successful, isn’t that all we need to know?

That mindset will probably get you started okay, but if you find yourself having any success at all, you’ll find that there really is such a thing as growing pains.

By putting in the time and effort to create a mission statement, you are laying the groundwork that will give you a path to follow in your growth. And isn’t building long term success what we are really after?

More Resources About Achieving Business Success

Featured photo credit: Fab Lentz via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Southwest Airlines: About Page
[2] Fit Small Business: 10 Vision Statement Examples To Spark Your Imagination

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