Ten inexpensive but effective ways to motivate your staff

Even within the most renowned companies, work can become very pressured or even humdrum at times. Below we've listed ten tried and tested ways to keep your team motivated.

1.  The power of a pizza. Taking your team out for a lunch is a great way to lift morale and get a good feeling for the group dynamics. To give staff something to look forward to such as a ‘jolly' should be something that is planned at least a week in advance.

2.  Public praise. Be effusive in praising the efforts of your staff. We all like praise for a job well done and taking the time to give sincere and genuine thanks to a staff member in front of their peers will boost their self-esteem.

3.  A beer brings cheer. Not without reason is a drink after work the traditional way to bond your team. However, there are many ways for workmates to have fun together that need not involve consuming copious amounts of alcohol: an ‘Away Day' paintballing or bowling, for example. But if you must drink, don't get drunk in front of your team - it looks unprofessional.

4.  Train all for the price of one. Providing people with the opportunity to attend an external training course is a great means of stimulation and simultaneously shows that you are prepared to invest in their development. After they return, encourage them to outline what they've learned to the rest of your team.

5.  Friday afternoon fun. Work does not have to feel like work all the time and every hard working team needs a little downtime. Once a month, on a Friday afternoon is often a great time to do something different that keeps people motivated for the following month. Team prizes that combine humor with public recognition will go down well. For example, one prize might be delivered like this: "For dealing with the most abusive customer of the week we have this bespoke set of ear plugs". 

6.  Additional responsibility. Learn to recognize when a member of your team wants and is ready for additional responsibility. Smart people often crave opportunities for development, figuring that the additional skills they pick up make them more marketable.

7.  Job title. It costs nothing to improve someone's title but may mean a great deal to him or her personally and the way that they are perceived in the workplace.

8.  Demonstrate integrity every day. Nothing destroys team morale and cohesiveness more quickly than a boss who no one trusts, particularly one who plays team members off against each other. You must be prepared to demonstrate integrity and stand up for your staff at times.

9.  Be flexible and gracious. Sometimes staff members may have to take time off unexpectedly. Try to be gracious and accommodating about such requests. In return, staff will often work exceedingly hard to make up for lost effort. Indeed, when happy we're all more productive.

10.  Clear goals to a rewarding career. People need clear goals for the short and medium term at work. Do your best to provide those objectives and steer them towards meeting them.


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