A new year is supposed to represent a fresh start. Yet as much as we want to believe our employees’ energy levels and engagement shoot back up to 100 percent the moment the calendar flips to January 1, the truth is, motivation isn’t automatic. Employees still need to be motivated to be at their most productive, and it falls on you as the manager to get them motivated for the new year and every day to follow.
A new year is supposed to represent a fresh start. Yet as much as we want to believe our employees’ energy levels and engagement shoot back up to 100 percent the moment the calendar flips to January 1, the truth is, motivation isn’t automatic. Employees still need to be motivated to be at their most productive, and it falls on you as the manager to get them motivated for the new year and every day to follow. Although there are plenty of managers out there who believe motivation requires a lot of hand-holding or flashy gestures, there are many ways to motivate your employees without taking too much of your time or theirs. Here are a few simple examples of employee incentives that can help keep your team focused and motivated in the new year and beyond.
Give Them Something Extra
Perhaps the most obvious motivator is to give your employees a little something extra to thank them for their efforts. These tokens of appreciation don’t have to take the form of bonuses on their paychecks — they can be something as simple as a pre-paid gift card to their favorite coffee shop or lunch spot.
Get Their Input
Letting your employees know you value their input can be a great way to motivate them because it gives them ownership of what happens within the company. Whether you hold brainstorming sessions or take informal surveys of your staff, checking in once in a while to see what new ideas your employees have tells them they matter to the overall success of the company. There’s an excellent chance you’ll receive some useful advice, too.
Make Work More Fun
Some companies have put a lot of thought into the idea of making their workplaces more fun, with elaborate themed parties and hiring flash mobs to dance in the office and the like. Those ideas might be a bit much for your office, but you can still inject a little fun into your workplace with elements like monthly contests, themed casual-dress days and monthly celebrations for everyone with a birthday in that month.
Be A Good Example
It’s hard for employees to be motivated when they feel as though their boss doesn’t even want to be at work. Remember to lead by example and let your enthusiasm about the company and about your team’s goals show in your demeanor as well as your actions. People want to feel like they’re contributing to something everyone believes in, and unless you make it clear that you believe in what they’re doing, they might not get the message.
Be Open And Communicate
Employees feel more motivated when they know their boss values what they do, and it’s your responsibility to make sure they know. An open-door policy not only encourages your employees to stop in and share their input with you, but it also gives you the opportunity to let them know individually that you appreciate their hard work or provide them with an inspirational pep talk. Even a simple hand-written note communicates that you care enough about what they do to take the time, and that speaks volumes.
Keep Goals Within Reach
Your company obviously has lofty goals for its future, but the employees on the front lines may not be motivated by something as big-picture as “Reach $1 billion in annual revenue.” Breaking those big goals down into smaller goals like “Add 25 new customers this month” not only gives employees something they can wrap their heads around in the context of their jobs, but also provides regular opportunities to celebrate when those goals are met.