This article is re-published with permission from the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO)
When your company is underperforming, many employers assume cash incentives will turn up the volume. All employees are delighted by a raise or a bonus, right? Sure, for about five minutes. It turns out money isn’t actually everything when getting a high-powered team to meet goals and objectives.
If it were that simple, every company with deep pockets would be successful and all commission-based sales people would perform the same. Research shows money alone is not enough to make team members bring their A game.
Below are five critical motivators to getting your best employees working happily and consistently. Master them and watch your team soar to new heights.
1. Help them learn.
Smart, ambitious people need mental stimulation. If they feel stagnant, they will get distracted and perhaps search for another company that is mentally stimulating. They want to be challenged and exposed to new ideas. Give your best people the first opportunity to access training materials, try their hand at new techniques, and practice advanced skills. Provide them with access to your most experienced leaders and mentors. And because teaching can help solidify the teacher’s own expertise, offer them a chance to bring newer people up to speed.
2. Say thank you.
Achievers thrive not only on their accomplishments, but through appreciation. Anyone who shows improvement, solves a problem or exceeds a target is justifiably proud.
They want to know you are proud, too, and you appreciate their efforts. Public recognition through awards and acknowledgement shows they are valued on the team. It is easy to send a brief thank you note or make mention at a weekly meeting with a personal comment on their accomplishment and why it matters. A public awards wall with noticeable achievements rewards those who excel and motivates those who are looking to be recognized.
3. Empower them.
Achievers want responsibility. But it can be really hard for a leader to step back and let their people fly solo. It is especially tempting to rush in when they start to stumble or stray off the path.
But most people learn more from their failures then they do successes. Empower your best employees so they can act on their own. If you construct your processes to allow for limited failure, smart employees will step up with creative solutions and learn along the way. Create ways for your people to test their skills safely, without threatening the team or company’s prospects. This will relieve you of the pressure to come to the rescue and short circuit the process.
4. Help them enjoy themselves.
People want to have fun. Nothing is less motivating than the prospect of eight hours of drudgery — that’s a recipe for a staff that drags in at 8:30 a.m. and bolts for the door at 5 p.m. on the dot. If you want your staff to bound in early and stay long past dinner time, make work a place they love to be.
Find fun and entertaining ways to accomplish work and celebrate success. Encourage them to enjoy each other’s company while working on engaging tasks together. The more an emotional connection exists among the team the more likely they will help each other so they share in the rewards of accomplishment.
5. Help them grow.
Some people are perfectly willing to stay in the same position doing the same work for 20 years — their bliss is not in the office. But if your people are showing signs of boredom, fatigue and dissatisfaction, they are definitely in need of stimulation.
They want the opportunity to push themselves, test their own limits, and see what they can accomplish. Give them ways to grow personally and professionally at work. Personal and professional training programmes are consistently rated as the most valuable reward high achievers value from their employers. Taking an active interest in someone’s personal growth is a thoughtful way. Budget time and resources to make sure all employees grow to their full potential so they will see beneficial results.
The Young Presidents' Organization, is a peer-to-peer organization for chief executives, eligible at age 45 or younger.