Your workers are an investment. After all, your business can only run as well as the effort that each individual puts into it. This makes the performance of each employee a key factor in the success (or failure) of your business, which begs the question: how do you keep them motivated to succeed at every turn?
The best tradie business owners know how to steer their employees towards better working habits, and build communities out of their workforces. Want to keep your clients happy and your shop thriving? It all begins with engagement and investment among your staff.
To save you the trouble of losing business to tardy tradies and slacking staffers, we’ve put together our ten most highly recommended tactics for team motivation. Read through the article, and see which ideas you can use to run a tighter ship.
#1: Be Engaging
Your worker should know and care about your business as much as you do. The chances are good that your employees would be more enthusiastic about their work if they had a vested interested in the business. In fact, motivation is only half of the equation here –it pays to keep your team interested in their work because a positive work environment can lead to better productivity.
One way to keep your team engaged is to make them feel welcome as soon as they come aboard. Plan out orientations and get to know them. Provide them with a thorough introduction and overview of the business, taking care to explain your business’s goals, plans, and aspirations in terms that they can relate to.
Likewise, do your best to let them know how valuable they are as individuals. They should have a clear idea of the role they play in shaping your business’ future. Make sure they know that they are now an inextricable part of the business and just as central to its overall success as you are.
#2: Give Encouragement
A nurturing environment is necessary if you want to push your workers to give their all. Emotional fatigue is a reality among those who value their work, and highly motivated employees benefit from positive reinforcement from their managers and employers. Don’t let your employees fall into a slump or brood over their waning productivity –an occasional push to keep them going can pay off in the long run.
Validation matters. A positive talk at the onset of a busy month can help your employees keep stress levels to a manageable level. Similarly, thanking them for their hard work and quality service once a milestone has been reached gives them a reason to look forward to more work.
However you choose to approach it, remember that detachment is toxic for productivity. Motivate your team by being present, and by inspiring action more often than you enforce discipline.
#3: Evaluate Constantly
Offering your team the chance for genuine improvement through guided evaluations can bring about a more collaborative workplace. If you highlight their strengths and show them you’re interested in helping them past their weaknesses (as opposed to shaming them), your team will be all the more motivated to improve over time.
You can do this by yourself, or with the help of a manager. Set aside some time to review each employee’s output with them, or assign a supervisor act as a mentor. Help them set clear goals, and come up with a clear action plan to help them in moving forward.
When motivating your team, it’s important to set standards for improvement for your team. Through, this they track their own progress and feel fulfilled when they meet personal goals.
#4: Recognize Achievements
Positive reinforcement is a tried and tested tool for nudging people towards greater productivity. Making a habit out of gestures of gratitude like a pat on the back can be a big help when you want to motivate your team to do better.
One easy way to do this (particularly helpful for tradie bosses attached to their tough-guy attitudes) is by telling them when clients praise their work. Likewise, you can’t go wrong with praising members for exceptional work, or providing small incentives like an extra day off.
Appreciation can be enough to make the average tradie’s efforts worthwhile. It shows your team that there’s meaning in the work they do and that you aren’t blind to their hard work.
#5: Keep Open Communications
The quickest way to a demotivated team is to allow yourself to shut off from them, and vice versa. On one hand, open lines of communication help you identify moments when you need to work harder in motivating your team. On the other hand, workplace communication itself can be a powerful tool in keeping your people interested and engaged.
We aren’t saying you ought to hand them all your home phone number, but you’d do well to try keeping an open-door policy when at the office, and give ample opportunities for staff to voice their concerns. A suggestion box can set the tone for greater motivation, but only if you follow through on the notes people leave for you –provided they’re serious, of course.
Don’t underestimate the role of communication in employee motivation. Let the dialogue flow both ways, and take advantage of every opportunity to connect with your team.
#6: Value Your Workers
Your workers should feel as if they are integral parts of your business. Knowing that they are valued inspires them to apply themselves.
Take sick days, family emergencies, and personal leaves seriously –after all, it’s hard to respect a boss who calls bull in the event that a family member falls ill. Remember that your workers are entitled to as much time to themselves as you are.
You motivate your team when you afford them respect, and take their needs into consideration.
#7: Push For Empowerment
Giving your workers more freedom in the workplace can make them feel more involved. This form of empowerment creates deeper ties to your business, and leaves your staff with the impression that they have as much of a stake in the place as you do.
During staff meetings, ask your staff for ideas on how to solve workplace problems, and how to improve the systems you’ve put in place. When possible, give them the liberty to choose their own projects.
This all pays off when your employees feel that, instead of simply working for you, they’re working with you.
#8: Provide Opportunities
Giving your workers opportunities for advancement or promotions can motivate them to excel. At the same time, it shows you’re willing to reward loyalty and improvement. There are many layers to how this can motivate your employees, but the bottom line is clear: don’t let working for you feel like a dead end.
As your business grows and expands, give your senior employees the chance to apply for managerial positions. To make sure you wind up with quality picks, you can provide leadership training for interested workers. Just make sure that you base your decisions on clear and unambiguous merits –nothing shatters a team like talk of an undeserved promotion.
This strategy sends a message that your employees’ positions aren’t stagnant. You give your workers a reason to seek improvement and hit new peaks in their performance.
#9: Challenge Your Workers
Sometimes, the best way to break complacency is through provocation. Giving your staff a healthy supply of challenges can keep their jobs from feeling dull and pointless, and provide them with opportunities to learn and upskill along the way.
Assign tasks with progressive levels of difficulty. Don’t be afraid to take on and assign more demanding jobs, and use it instead to give your team and your business a higher standard for the work you can perform. Likewise, take a strategic approach to pass larger responsibilities onto your more senior employees.
The best workers love a good challenge; if you’ve picked the right sort of person to help you run your business, then your team should welcome the task.
#10: Paint The Bigger Picture
Each person in your business should always know what you are doing and why you are doing it. This aligns expectations and understanding. It helps workers appreciate your vision, connect to it, and contribute to growing your business.
Be clear and upfront about your long-term goals. If you plan to upsize your business in a few months or years (which you should), then let your employees in on the plan. Make sure they don’t lose sight of the bigger picture, and their role in that picture.
Hold periodic meetings with your team to keep them updated and excited about the state of your business.
Motivating a team isn’t a walk in the park, but it isn’t rocket science either. At the end of the day, remember that you’re working with people, and that people have an innate need to aspire for greater things.
Give them a reason to get out of bed in the morning that goes deeper than a paycheck. Run a meaningful business, and a highly motivated team is sure to follow.