The importance of a motivated workforce
Employees are assets, they make businesses move forward. Whether it’s a predominately hourly workforce or a salaried one, it should look forward to coming to work every morning. Each employee is a link in a chain, a workforce is only as strong as the weakest link, and a business is only as strong as its workforce. A business’s success and workforce motivation are mutually dependent on one another. Therefore keeping employees motivated and engaged are part of every rulebook.
Think back to the time when you had just entered the labor market and considered yourself an aspiring professional. Employees have dreams and ambitions and generally look to their employers for fulfillment and advancement. Unfortunately some businesses treat their employees as if they were just another expense on the income statement.
In order to motivate and lead, employers need to understand the unique needs of employees. When it comes to motivation, much like a diet, one size does not fit all. When workers are intrinsically and extrinsically motivated they take pleasure in doing their jobs which translates to increased operational efficiency for the business. The trick lies in identifying and understanding what employees value and prioritize. Let’s first talk about some standard motivational techniques that have stood the test of time.
The tried and tested
Recognize and appreciate employees
Employees who are acknowledged and appreciated for their efforts feel fulfilled and hence work harder – this is human nature. Hard work and exceptional performance should not go unappreciated if managers wish to see these as constants in the workforce. Managers have a number of options to appreciate an employee or a team that has performed well – these can range from a small post-it to a mass email acknowledging the achievements.
Get to know your employees
One of the quickest ways to develop a relationship with employees is by spending time getting to know them. This relationship helps in creating a flow of information and ideas that are necessary to build a high performing workforce. It will also help you in understanding the learning and retention abilities of employees. Try organizing a social event to break the ice.
Ask for feedback
Employees feel involved and part of the organization when their views and opinions are considered during the decision making process. Listen to your employees if they have something to say about the company culture, operations, performance standards or the work environment – it is likely they have some value to offer. It’s also a great way to create employee ownership and responsibility.
Career growth – show them the future
Employees care about their future. It gives them financial security knowing that they are working to be in a position to provide for themselves and their dependents. As an employer it pays to guide, nurture and mentor employees so that they are prepared for the unknown future. Something as common as a resume building workshop or a career development course can help employees prepare for the unknown. When employees realize that you care for their growth, they are likely to reciprocate for the business.
Help employees in times of financial challenges
Employees are likely to face a financial shock that can impact their output at work – it could cause absenteeism, lowered productivity or work related accidents. Nearly 7 out of 10 worry about their financial obligations. If and when possible, provide a financial cushion to your employees in the form of a salary advance or an employer loan. It is the surest and safest way to increase employee loyalty and motivation.
Offer a financial wellness program
A financial wellness program for employees is a great way to show that you care. There are many wellness benefits you can choose to provide – retirement plans, financial literacy programs, emergency funding, investment programs, and so on. Showing your employees that you are interested in reducing their financial stress can result in increased productivity, engagement and retention. It’s a Win Win relationship.
The psyche of blue collar and white collar employees
As mentioned earlier, one size does not fit all. What may motivate a factory worker may not necessarily work for a graphic designer, for instance. Therefore, it is recommended to break down the workforce between blue collar and white collar employees. Once the distribution is made clear you will be in a better position to develop effective motivational strategies. While the general motivation tips mentioned earlier are fairly effective in both cases, it pays to give custom attention to the distribution.
Nearly 60% of the total workforce in the United States works at hourly wages – which is about 80 million workers. This is a sizeable amount. Generally speaking blue collar workers are concerned about meeting weekly expenses, job stability, a steady flow of income and saving for retirement. When it comes to motivating blue collar workers, a financial wellness program is often recommended because it is structured in manner to help them during all stages of their lives. Consider offering an innovative financial wellness program that addresses an employee’s immediate and future financial concerns which can include financial emergencies, financial literacy and saving for a rainy day.
On the other hand, white collar workers are generally more concerned about their career’s growth, recognition, financial security and upward mobility. Empowering employees and putting them in challenging job situations are some ways to help them actualize their potential. An official networking event such as a fund raiser could give employees an opportunity to network and develop corporate relationships. Offering stock options to workers can create a sense of ownership and loyalty to the company. These offerings are likely to keep white collar employees engaged and motivated.
The one thing in common
The one thing in common between hard working people is the need for financial security, financial dignity and financial savings. At the end of the day it boils down to what pays the bill today, tomorrow and when least expected.
The bottom line is that in order to gain employee commitment and dedication, employers need to deliver the same. This means businesses must invest in its employees to create an environment where employee financial health, security and dignity are nurtured. Arguably the most effective tool businesses possess to develop this Win Win relationship is a financial wellness program.
If a workplace is able to create an environment that leads to an increase in employee self-confidence and self-worth, it can potentially result in an inherent desire for the workforce to deliver it’s best. The PayActiv financial wellness program is built on the foundation of delivering financial security, dignity and savings to employees. It has a proven track record with over 90% user satisfaction and measurable increases in employee engagement amongst all users.
Watch how PayActiv’s financial wellness program has motivated thousands of people like Anna.
“The way your employees feel is the way your customers will feel. And if your employees don’t feel valued, neither will your customers.”
Sybil F. Stershic, Taking Care of the People Who Matter Most: A Guide to Employee – Customer Care.