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Keep your Team Motivated!

Success won’t happen if your team are not part of it!

As a business owner and employer, I’ve no doubt I join millions of businesses worldwide in the quest to understand how to maximise employee team motivation and productivity…so I thought it might be useful to share my own experience in this month’s blog. In order to provide a totally transparent and representative viewpoint, I’ve written this with input from my team, so I’ve nowhere to hide! When you’ve had a chance to ponder the content, we’d love to hear your thoughts and your own experience in this area.

The simple fact is that happy employees make motivated, productive employees – this fact is universally accepted as one of the basic tenants of a successful business. But what does a happy employee mean? We would be forgiven for jumping to the conclusion that financial remuneration is the primary factor to consider here; my own experience, and indeed the experience of our team, indicates that employee team motivation goes much deeper than this.

To add some context to this article, I’ve selected what I feel are the most important factors to consider, starting with the physical work environment.

The Physical Work Environment

The physical workspace includes everything – it’s the art that hangs on the walls, the office floor plan, the demographics of the people we work with, and any physical perks we might get such as wonderful coffee, or a lounge area that employees can use to unwind a bit.

When we moved into our existing offices some four years ago, we quickly assembled our desks, set up all our IT requirements, put some artwork on the walls, and got straight back to work. We were all quite happy with our new surroundings, but agreed we needed to add ‘something more’ to the studio at some point; however with a (thankfully) hefty workload, the studio environment became less of a priority list… until a few months ago.

We came to work one morning, looked around and thought – this needs to change! Within a few short weeks, we had a vision of a workspace that was bright, energetic, positive, creative – all the core values of our own business. Floors came up, new electronic desks were deemed a must have, paint colours were consulted, plants were discussed, and before long, we could see our new world coming together.

Motivated Team - New Studio Picture

And the difference is..?

Visually, we are delighted with our new surroundings – however the benefits of our new surroundings go much deeper than this…which is the main purpose of this blog. The following are just some of the immediate benefits we all agreed on:

• Pride in our surroundings – increased immeasurably!
• Spring in our step on the way to work
• Health & Wellness – our investment in electronic desks, bright colours and new lighting provides a much softer and inviting work environment
• And a nice and not to be dismissed addition for our return on investment – increased activity, motivation and monthly billing

Visually, we are delighted with our new surroundings

Other important factors include…

I will come to financial rewards later, but first want to touch on some of the softer measures that have created immense loyalty in our team; I think the caveat for all of these is that trust is key – and that this goes both ways.

Flexibility – Coming to work Monday to Friday, sitting at the same desk, drinking from the same cup, looking out the same window becomes monotonous very quickly; create an environment that allows team members to work at home, meet clients in their offices, or go to a coffee shop to get their work done. Breaking up the day or the week not only makes for happier employees, it allows for enhanced creative thinking and outside influence. I firmly believe it doesn’t matter where the work is done, as long as it’s done.

Part-Time/Full-time – I’m a strong believer in getting the work-life balance right. If this means some employees work a set number of days per week, but absolutely deliver in those days, go for it! By providing a less than conventional approach to the working week yields a considerable long-term return.

Communication – If you are running a relatively small operation as I am, you may make the mistake of assuming you know what your team are thinking. Don’t Assume! While informal communication is great as part of the day to day running of the business, I would highly recommend that all businesses (no matter what size) have a formal communication process. This includes an annual appraisal process that allows for objective feedback and discussion in a structured environment.

Formalise all Processes – As an extension of the above point, we all work better if guided by a formal, structured process of weekly meetings and project management processes.

Financial Involvement & Ownership – Why have I left financial reward to the end when most employees would suggest this is their most important consideration? I am not disputing this for one minute – if the financial rewards are not attractive, no amount of free coffee or flexible working hours will compensate for that. So yes, financial rewards must reflect the position, contribution and overall performance of each team member.

However, I would caution that financial reward in itself is not enough – if the ‘softer’ elements are not present, if your team do not enjoy coming to work, they will move. There is nothing more certain.

I’m a strong believer in getting the work-life balance right.

I have added ownership to this final point, as there is such a strong link between ownership and performance. This is not about giving employees company ownership, more about ownership of the overall business performance (and the part they play in achieving this). If employees can directly impact on the business performance, and be rewarded accordingly, their motivation, loyalty and output will be considerable and sustainable.

In summary: Employees who enjoy and like the environments they are a part of will be more engaged, productive, happy, and healthy. So check out your workspace, look at your team in an objective manner, ask yourself ‘am I a motivating influence?’ Invest in your people and their work environment, it will absolutely deliver a expediential return on investment. I promise you!

I’d love to hear from you so leave me a comment below.