If you get the feeling your employees are dragging their feet or clock-watching – counting the minutes ‘til they can escape the shackles of their Excel spreadsheets – you’re probably not imagining it. An unmotivated team is easy to spot and you must take action because it’s bad news for your bottom line.

Nip it in the bud. It’ll take a bit of a commitment on your part but it’s well worth the effort. Here are some tips that have worked for me.

1. Lead by example

Start by making sure you’re a great influence on your team. It’s tempting to grouse about the client or moan about overtime in front of your staff, but resist. Show your staff you care about the company and are excited about work. I fist pump every member of staff when I arrive in the mornings and leave in the afternoons. It’s something I’ve always done and I get great feedback on it.   

2. Be a good listener

Do you have an open-door policy? Employees need to feel heard and appreciated. If you worry your office will turn into a thoroughfare, get yourself a small orange traffic cone. If you’re not free to chat, put it on your desk so your guys know not to disturb you. Of course, a good manager will use the cone sparingly.

3. Individual attention

Employees have different personalities – take some time to get to know each one. Who are the leaders; the most gregarious? Put them in charge of tasks and get them to rally the troops. And the loners? They’re great for tasks that require undivided attention or a singular focus. Not every project needs to be a team effort. Different things motivate different personality types, and if you take the time to figure it out, you’ll get the best out of each team member.

4. Growth opportunities

People need something to work towards, so make sure your employees are aware of opportunities for advancement. Try to promote from within or define clear, achievable growth paths for each employee.

5. Incentives

When it comes down to it, there are two things you can reward your staff with: time and money. Translated into work currency, it’s things like flexi-time; a parking bay; the occasional half-day off. These won’t put massive dents in your budget but they’ll mean a lot to the guys working hard to grow your company. Gift and meal vouchers also work well.

6. Recognise and reward

Recognition is no-brainer: It doesn’t (have to) cost you a thing, and it keeps staff motivation levels high. Do you make an effort to recognise and reward significant achievements, both small and large? If not, start immediately. You choose the method – a pat on the back, a few words of appreciation, a company announcement or a bonus.

7. Vibrant workplace

This is something that’s big for us at Magnetic. I know that having a fun, comfortable and welcoming space goes a long way towards motivating my staff, and it also brings the team closer together and gets them excited about work. We do monthly team lunches, and a couple of times a year we’ll go away for a weekend. Obviously, you need to find perks that work for your company, its people and its size. I like these 12 workplace happiness tips from Harvard Business Review.

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