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On Aug 26 2019 / by Wyoming Paul

5 ways to keep staff motivated at work

And boost productivity, retention, customer service, and profitability

Even if your employees are generally amazing and dedicated, there are times when motivation levels can slump. Perhaps the quality of work has declined, deadlines are only just being met, or the kind of creativity and verve that you used to see has faded. Whatever the symptoms, combatting demotivation is worth the effort; left to fester, it can have a significant impact on productivity, retention, customer service, and profitability.

Luckily, there’s plenty that you can do about it, starting with the five suggestions below. They can have a huge positive effect on your business, and best of all, many of them are free or highly affordable - plus, if you’ve got a parking space that isn’t used 24/7, you can earn revenue from it to fund them! Find out how much you could earn from your car park by clicking here.

1. Communication

The first step to increasing motivation levels is to find out if there are any underlying problems that are hampering your team’s engagement and productivity. As Officevibe’s website says, ‘you can’t fix the problems you don’t see.’ How to make these hidden issues visible? Just ask.

  • At Parkable, we use surveying platform Officevibe to collect regular, anonymous feedback from everyone in the team. That allows us to gather data on how staff are feeling over time, as well as picking up on more specific issues that can then be considered and addressed.
  • You can also try tools like SurveyMonkey or 15Five to quickly and efficiently receive a one-off batch of feedback.
  • Also remember to keep other channels of communication open, so that people feel free to talk about any problems they’re experiencing at work, or pass on their suggestions for improvement.

2. Recognise good work

What motivates people to do great work? Getting paid fairly is one (crucial) part of the equation, but there’s another important element - being recognised in a personal, authentic way for work well done. Recognition lets people know that they’re doing the right thing, and encourages them to continue. On the other hand, if recognition is expected but not given, it can be demotivating, reduce the effort being put into work, and even create resentment.

Recognition also affects self-esteem, our sense of belonging, and our emotional connection with those giving (or withholding) praise. That’s why giving regular, effective recognition is so crucial for maintaining motivation in the workplace.

Here are a few suggestions for recognising great work:

  • The best recognition is free. When it comes to our craving for recognition, most of the time a simple ‘this was excellent work’ is enough. You could give someone positive feedback in person, or write them an email or a handwritten note.
  • Special occasions. If you want to celebrate someone’s hard work in a more extravagant manner, consider a gift card for their favourite shop or lunch with the boss.
  • Include the whole team. If you want to really ingrain recognition in the culture of your business, set up a monthly prize giving. Let your staff vote for a team member to celebrate, and give out awards. You can also use this as an opportunity to highlight your company’s values, by tying each award to a core value.

For further tips, see this article - 40 ways to say thank you at work.

3. Create an inspiring place to work

When it comes to motivation and engagement, your surroundings make a big difference. Colour, lighting, noise, and layout shouldn’t be overlooked - they can have a significant effect on the mood, concentration, and productivity of your staff. If you want to motivate your team, and keep them motivated for years to come, investing in your workplace is certainly worthwhile.

When Parkable’s NZ office moved from the Auckland CBD to Morningside, we spent a few weekends together decorating and furnishing our new space. The result was a cozy, stylish office that we enjoy spending time in, plus a more tightly bonded team.

Here are our tips based on our own office renovation:

  • DIY wherever possible. You’ll save money, bond over something different, and get everyone invested in their physical workplace. In our office we built wooden window seats, painted and put together a tile wall, and assembled our kitchen from flat packs.
  • Plants are the best kind of decoration. Not only do they add life and colour to your workplace, but they have also been shown to boost concentration and productivity, reduce stress, and make people feel relaxed and calm.
  • Create pockets of space. If your workplace can accommodate different types of work - silent, collaborative, extra comfy - your team will have more opportunities to work in a space that suits their needs and mood. At Parkable we have comfy window seats, silent booths, and a few areas for groups.

Comfy window seats in the Parkable office

4. Engage employees in the ‘why’

There’s a big difference between being told ‘Just do it’ and having the importance of something explained to you. If you know why you’re doing something, and you care about that ‘why’, you’re far more likely to be motivated to do a good job.

“The number one challenge we see facing managers when they’re trying to motivate their employees is the fact that the managers have not adequately educated their employees on why they’re doing what they’re doing, only what needs to be done. To be motivated, an employee needs to realize the impact of his/her day-to-day work and fully understand how it affects the business as a whole.”
- Ingrid Catlin, Marketing Director at WorkStride

This idea also connects beyond simple directives. It extends all the way to your company’s primary purpose. Having a strong ‘why’ behind your company’s mission will help to motivate every action your team takes.

For Parkable, the ‘why’ is to make parking easy and stress-free, while ensuring that local communities make the best use of their space. This ‘why’ underlies every decision we make, dictates where we will go in the future, and motivates our team to do an amazing job every day.

Integrating the ‘why’ into your day-to-day:

  1. If you haven’t done it already, decide what your business’s ‘why’ is. This activity can include your whole team or only leaders, depending on the size of your business. Questions to consider during this process are: Who does your business help? Which problems are you solving? What is your vision for the future, and how can your business get us there?
  2. If possible, encapsulate that ‘why’ in a single sentence, so that you know you’ve identified the most essential driver behind your business.
  3. Connect your ‘why’ to daily activities. This will both motivate your team long-term and help you to identify which daily tasks contribute to the core of your business, and which do not.

5. Offer more than just work in the workplace

Eating well and exercising regularly has been found to have a huge positive impact on everything from concentration, to energy, to creativity, to memory, to mental health. By giving your team access to healthy food and exercise, you could see a big improvement in performance and motivation. Not only will your staff and their work output benefit, but by showing your team that you care about their wellbeing, you’ll be well on your way to ‘employer of the year’!

Although it may seem like a small benefit, offering shared lunches or free snacks at work can lead to improved staff satisfaction, collaboration, retention, and trust.

  • A survey by Seamless found that 60% of people say that having snacks available at work would make them feel more valued and appreciated.
  • Research has found that eating together improves social bonds. Having a close relationship with your team creates trust and increases satisfaction at work, so take any opportunity you can to sit down for a meal together.
  • To learn more, read our blog about the benefits of shared lunches, and how to organise awesome team lunches at any budget.

Team exercise is another great way to both improve productivity and strengthen bonds. One of the best things about working at Parkable is that we have a weekly yoga class and bootcamp. Not only does the exercise relax and focus the team, but it also provides a chance to interact and support one another outside the office.

Parkable team lunch

Like these ideas?

If you want to go the extra mile in staff engagement but aren’t sure if your business has the budget, Parkable can help. Even if your business only has one or two underused parking bays, by signing them up on Parkable you could earn enough to pay for some amazing recognition gifts for employees - and if you have a few more bays available, after a couple of months you could easily cover an office revamp, weekly shared lunches, or a free exercise class.

To find out more about hosting with Parkable, click here!


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