Managing your small business effectively starts with employee motivation. To keep your staff happy and loyal to your company, it is imperative you understand the different types of motivators, as each employee will be motivated by varying factors.  When you truly understand what drives your staff, you can ensure you incorporate all the tools necessary to create and maintain a productive, efficient and happy workforce.

5 Distinct Motivator Types

Most employees are motivated by varying combinations of these five primary motivational factors. Each person will be driven mainly by one of these types, but the majority will be most productive by having all five incentives in place in their working environment.

  1. Motivated by Challenge: Many, but not all employees are self-motivated, they can challenge themselves internally and be driven by learning new skills and self-improvement.
  2. Motivated by Teamwork: Knowing that they are contributing to the team and company can be a distinct motivator for many employees.
  3. Motivated by Reward: Workers tend to work better and smarter if rewarded for their efforts; the idea that there will be a specific reward for their extra efforts can be extremely motivating.
  4. Motivated by Purpose: Purpose driven employees work towards the greater good of mankind, they are personally motivated by an understanding that their efforts are reaching beyond the company and making a positive impact.
  5. Motivated by Reputation: Some employees need personal recognition for their efforts, they are motivated by praise from their employer, co-workers, and/or clients which encourages them to do their best.

By incorporating these human motivators into your company philosophy, you increase your chances of maintaining happy, productive staff and a successful small business.

 

Motivational Leadership

Effective leadership is vital to your small business success; gain leadership insights and behaviors through ongoing professional development, such as an organizational leadership course; continue to be an avid learner as you progress.  It is important to lead by example; incorporating your vision and intended direction for your company in how you perform your tasks.  Employees are motivated by observing integrity in their employer.

 

Motivational Incentives

  • Offering added time off as a reward is a great incentive for extra effort. This can be carried out in a competition style format, with the best performer(s) gaining added vacation time or paid leave.
  • Offer of Promotion:  If you set an example of promoting those who have truly earned it, it can be a great incentive for employees to know their added efforts and company dedication may be rewarded down the line.
  • Financial Based Bonuses:  A common, but extremely effective motivating tool. By offering cash, vouchers, gift certificates, etc., employees are happy to put in the extra effort for these rewards.

 

Negative Motivators

It is best not to use negative motivation tools with your employees, such as the threat of being let go if they do not reach their targets, as this causes negativity.  The only time this kind of motivational tool should be used is when employees express poor discipline or disregard for the company’s policies and even then only as a last resort.

Positive motivators are much more effective and create staff and management rapport. Running competitions and offering bonus packages keep motivation levels high and give an element of fun to the working day, an extremely productive method of management.

 

Managing Motivation

Be sure to set clear objective standards and administer each motivational tool consistently and fairly, as mismanagement can actually create de-motivation and unease among your employees.  To grow your small business, it is worth investing time and effort in developing a genuine, effective and consistent motivational system for your employees to ensure optimal production and team cohesion.

 

It is understood that there is not one specific type of motivation that applies to every employee. Most require more than one type or even several to perform at their best. We all, in one form or another, strive for autonomy, mastery, and purpose in our lives and careers. We all desire to be self-directed, to keep improving at something that is important to us, and receive the sense that what we are doing is serving a significant purpose beyond merely ourselves.  Once you delve deeper into concepts and motivational techniques such as these, you can begin to understand how to get the most from your employees and ultimately your business, as well.

 

So, what have you done to motivate your employees lately?

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Blake Papas

Blake completed his undergraduate degree in Justice Studies from Arizona State University. Blake has also recently worked in higher education and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Business.

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