“How do I motivate my staff?”

That’s the question I am most often asked when I spend time with business owners and managers.

They are looking for some kind of silver bullet — something they can say or do immediately that will give them highly motivated and engaged employees.

So I throw the question back — what do they do to motivate their employees?

They then tell me about bonuses, incentive schemes, team-building exercises, away days and all sorts of things that usually cost money and have limited results.

Well, here is the good news, and it won’t cost you anything, or very little to implement other than a bit of thought and some of your time.

The No. 1 motivator

The No. 1 motivator for people at work is — the work itself.

Not money as many people still think it is, or even recognition.

In all the surveys that have been done over the years with employees, this is the most important motivator that comes up every time.

It doesn’t matter in what country the research is done or the industry, the results are always the same.

Employees are highly motivated and engaged if they feel they are doing something meaningful. In other words, they believe that what they do makes a difference, they like what they do and find their job interesting.

You might be thinking: “What if they don’t like their work, how am I supposed to motivate them?”

You can offset their lack of job satisfaction by spending some quality time with them. You can give them positive feedback and empower them.

However, there are other practical actions you can take to make your team members’ jobs more meaningful and interesting:

•   Vary the jobs they do;

•   Give them more responsibility;

•   Give them some of your tasks;

•   Ask them to train or mentor another member of the team;

•   Ask them to sit in on occasional management meetings; and

•   Give them further training.

Making the job more interesting

Some years ago, I inherited a de-motivated telesales team. This was in the beer industry and the main task for the people in the team was to phone pubs, clubs, bars and hotels.

They obtained the customer’s order for different kinds of beer and entered the details into the computer system.

Here are some of the actions I took to make the job more interesting for the 17 individuals and for the group:

•   I promoted the supervisor to team manager.

•   Two members of the team were promoted to team leaders, each leading a team of seven.

•   A range of minimal cost incentives, product promotions and team competitions were introduced.

•   Each member of the team spent time with a field sales person visiting customers.

•   Product knowledge sessions were conducted to give the team a better understanding of the different beers sold by the company.

•   New products were introduced, including soft drinks, wine and spirits.

•   Everyone attended a wine appreciation seminar.

•   Friday afternoons were designated as party times (with the work still getting done).

•   The team became involved in fund-raising activities and charity events.

•   The team took part in a national telesales competition and came in second.

Many other things took place with the objective of making the job more interesting and enjoyable.

This is probably a totally different business from the one you work in, but I am sure you could produce your own list that would make your team members’ jobs more interesting, more meaningful and much more fun.

As Mr Herman Cain, an American businessman and the founder of Godfather Pizza, said: “Nobody motivates today’s workers. If it doesn’t come from within, it doesn’t come. Fun helps remove the barriers that allow people to motivate themselves.”

Article by Alan Fairweather, “The Motivation Doctor”. He is an international business speaker, successful author and sales growth expert who develops the talents of business owners, managers and sales and customer service people. For more information, visit: www.themotivationdoctor.com. Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Alan_Fairweather