What follows are not things that I have gleaned from Facebook’s CEO Sheryl Sandberg; the 5 things that really motivate your employees are purely things that have worked for me over the last 30 years. I’ve worked in companies with 1000’s of employees to a small business with 6. Every team and individual has different motivators, I am purely looking at five quick ways to motivate your team. Whether you are a department head, the MD / CEO or even a Senior Partner in a law firm responsible for talent acquisition or general HR, this short list is for you.
1. Let them know you trust them
Imagine for a second you give your eldest child the keys to the house, she may only be 14 years old, there’s a good chance she will lay down the law to her siblings, folded arms and stomping feet included. You are nipping across to a neighbours house to share a bottle of wine, you’re away no more than 90 minutes. She knows where you are and has your mobile on speed-dial. The same care and attention you apply to your team works too. If you let them know you trust and depend on them, they will fill those shoes sooner than you think. A vote of confidence can go a long way. Let them know you trust them to do the best job possible and they will rarely disappoint you.
2. Give your employees purpose and show them the bigger picture
Every employee has a job to do a role to fulfil, they know it, you know it, however when an individual within your team is given a deeper purpose that is directly linked to the bigger picture of what the company is attempting to achieve it can be transformative. A friend of mine Mike Stevenson regularly uses the following example. As a young lad he was working on building sites down in London, labouring, hoofing buckets of bricks and tiles up and down scaffolding. Although back breaking work he noticed on this latest site the morale of the team was very much more upbeat, happy in their job, delighted to be there, not always diving off for another cup of tea. He soon found out why. The head foreman who had been away when Mike started, returned to the site and asked Mike to join him in the site hut. “Do you know what you’re doing here laddy? We’re building a palace, fit for the kings and queens of Europe; here let me show you the plans and the architects mock-up of the finished building.” Mike left the hut with real purpose and a drive to do the best he could because of the responsibility he had been given and the role he was playing.
3. Motivate Individuals Rather Than the Team
Making sure your team has aligned incentives is the only true way to ensure everyone is working towards a common goal. Framing the strategy contextually for each individual ensures each member of staff has a clear and personal understanding of how working together benefits them and the team. It is a technique that allows you to motivate your team to accomplish amazing things. For this to work it is a good idea to have them complete a DISC profile or a short personality test, making sure to rephrase your purpose and big picture thinking into a way that is more likely to stick, be accepted and adopted.
4. Reward Based on Feedback
I really like Steve Gill from 50 on Red’s way of delivering his team rewards. Steve developed an App for integragion on Slack, it calculates how many times each employee was praised-in order to send daily and monthly summaries. Whoever garners the most kudos wins various awards and recognition. “Valuebot has helped us to visualize our culture and reiterate how much we support one another. The positive energy we create in the office helps us to attract and retain talent.”
5. Create Recognition Situations
When I worked at SITE, an events business, every management meeting started off with each department head recognising someone from their own team who had gone above and beyond for the company or a client. The positive feedback motivated team members and it held management heads accountable for their staff recognition. A very simple process that became an invaluable part of the company culture.
As for Sheryl Sandberg, other than being the CEO of Facebook she is most famous for saying: “If you are offered a seat on a ROCKET ship, don’t ask which seat, just get on!” I look forward to joining you on ours soon 😉