Address the Problem — Rewarding Employees

— February 6, 2018

Address the Problem — Rewarding Employees

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No matter how eager and motivated your employees might appear on their first day at work, the initial enthusiasm will dwindle with time. Sooner or later, the daily grind gets the best of us, and as a result, our motivation plummets rapidly along with our general performance levels. After all, repeating the same tasks day in, day out gets really tiresome after a while. This is why it’s absolutely essential for employers to combat the issue of low motivation and nip it in the bud before it spreads throughout the whole workplace like a plague. Restoring morale is much harder if the entire office is infected by a lack of motivation. Hence, here are six ideas on how to successfully motivate your underperformers.

1. Invest in them

It might seem counterintuitive to invest in workers that start underperforming, but oftentimes they just need a break from their current routine tasks. Consequently, some additional training can do a thing or two for them. Firstly, it’ll give them something entirely new and exciting to do for a change, which will assure them that they aren’t just stuck in a Groundhog-Day-like scenario. Secondly, it’ll show them that you do care about them and thus further incentivize them to repay the trust you have given them. In addition, this is an excellent retention strategy not just because it helps motivate your workers, but because it enables you to find worthy candidates for promotion. You’d be surprised just how many born salesmen and managers you might have in your ranks, and they should always prioritize them over outside candidates due to their vast experience with the firm.

2. Turn work into a competition

Perhaps you have a squad that’s more goal-oriented and they simply can’t see the bigger picture when you give them simple and menial tasks. Use this to your advantage and turn their work into a friendly competition. Provide weekly or monthly bonuses to those who manage to come out on top of their respective departments. For example, rank them by the number of sales made if they’re in the sales department, number of works published if they’re in the editorial department, and so on. This will not only motivate them to work much harder but be more effective as well if they want to reach the milestones needed for those bonuses.

3. Give them an occasional pat on the back

However, be prepared that these challenges won’t have the same effect on all of your employees. Those who lack a winning mentality won’t even participate in these competitions. Therefore, you need to change your approach and reward their continued loyalty in a different way. For example, giving them a universal gift card for office related expenses, such as those pesky travel expenses, coffees, and snacks, will make them feel appreciated all year long. As a result, these added benefits will give them a motivation boost and increase their overall performance accordingly.

4. Give them a break

Sometimes they’re under-performing because they’re simply burnt out due to being overworked so much. After all, they’re not slave labor, so you can’t make them work indefinitely. Therefore, allowing your employees to relax from time to time by sending them on a short vacation is the best way to ensure they have a proper rest from work. Also, try rotating these free days in such a way that you don’t send out a whole department on vacation all at once leaving you with no one behind to cover for them. Give a day off to different team members each week and be sure to let them know when it’s their turn in advance.

5. Try some team-building activities

Team-building is a very popular concept these days, and for a good reason. It helps create a solid working bond between your coworkers, and thus improve their mutual cooperation and efficiency. Additionally, they’ll have tons of fun in the process, which will help mitigate their stress levels even more effectively. This is excellent because you don’t want to stress them 24/7 which will burn them out quite quickly. Letting off some steam every once in a while with fun activities is a good way to achieve work-life balance, so that when the stakes are high, they will cope with the pressure much more easily.

6. Create a positive work environment

All of these strategies won’t do you any good if your company culture is somewhat poor and has a bad rep to go along with it. Be aware that employees will always dabble in rumors during the lunch breaks or cigarette breaks, and this could result in bad morale. Even more so when newer employees only hear depressing stories from their senior colleagues from day one. For this reason, you want to give your employees some positive things to say about your company. Keep decorating the office, buy them an espresso machine or even a new fridge to store their goodies inside. Get some plants, upgrade your equipment and change your overall attitude towards your employees and they’ll respect you for that.

All in all, motivation is an extremely precious resource in today’s business world. It’s almost become a commodity of a sort. This means that you need to work really hard to pull your employees out of the ditch sometimes to get them back into shape and boost their morale whenever it’s needed.

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Author: Angela Hausman, PhD

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