Employee Motivation Tips: Keeping Them Loyal

Keep your best workers working with these employee motivation tips. A turnover rate can drive your business into the ground.

Increasingly, numbers show that keeping a good employee is the most profitable move for a business to make. High turnover can be devastating and discouraging employees from wandering the classifieds isn't easy in today's world. But offering a larger salary just won't do it anymore. Employees are looking for freedom and personal respect to make their careers whole. Use these suggestions to spur loyalty and aid turnover.

Motivation starts with the individual. Listening to employees' individual needs and concerns is the first step to preventing them from straying. Suggestion boxes and regular reviews are a great start, but casual conversations tend to reveal more than formal forums. Asking direct questions is the best way to get answers""a straightforward "How do you like your job?" can reveal what brings satisfaction and discontent.

Use an incentive program to give employees accountability. Every employee likes to know how their hard work reflects on the company. Setting up incentive programs that tie the individual's achievement to the company's success fosters pride and self-worth. Doing this gives the employee ownership in his actions and will also provide a yardstick to track productivity.

Reward top producers with "everyday" bonuses and set up a system that compliments the incentive program. A weekly or monthly giveaway (for a free lunch, tickets or small gift certificates) reminds employees that they are recognized. These gifts aren't bribes; they should earnestly address the employees' needs.

Set attainable goals. The quarterback and receiver love the glory of a long-bomb touchdown, but a nickel-and-diming technique to win yardage is easier for the whole team. We live in a world filled with pressure, adding more to the cooker won't complete the project any sooner. People respond to reasonable, realistic requests. Then, by gradually increasing expectations those higher goals can be obtained.

Offer competitive salaries. This sounds pretty easy, but as long as rewards, bonuses and pats on the back are getting handed out, solid paychecks should be too. Often employers look at these extras as part of their employees' earnings--and they are. But a salary is payment for work and a bonus is payment for individual or company success. Employees know the difference and so should employers.

Communicate your needs efficiently. In most cases the hardest part about instructions is following them. Management often gets wrapped up in delegating without providing a true purpose. Don't be afraid to reveal business plans and company goals. Sharing the whole picture provides a long-term investment to the worker and makes it easier for him to picture a long-term relationship with the company.

Be flexible. Just as a businesses' needs change, so do the employees'. Flexibility goes hand in hand with communication. It's needed to make changes and to explore options. Flexibility is another way to show employees willingness to keep them satisfied. Changing company policies to incorporate individual happiness doesn't sound like the "corporate" thing to do, but it ensures the strength and integrity of your workforce.

Above all, say, "Thank you." Offering respect gives more worth to a hard day's work than anything else. Thank yous are priceless to keeping an employee loyal. This type of positive reinforcement is an easy and inexpensive gesture to make. It also offers the employee the kind of instant gratification people in the 21st century need to get through the day, and the workweek.

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