Jake Davis

Outside the Paycheck: How to Motivate a Team

An unmotivated employee is an undedicated employee. And an unmotivated employee who isn't dedicated to helping your business grow should not be on your team.

It's our job as business owners to build the right team and motivate them to get the best out of them (while giving them our best too). Mavidea's team is comprised of unique personalities and skillsets. We have creatives, analytical thinkers, extravert salespeople, and both full and part-time employees. While everyone who comes here expects to earn a paycheck every two weeks, few, if any, are only motivated by money. And if you’re unable to motivate your employees outside of money, as soon as they find a bigger paycheck, they’ll have little reason to stick around.

As one of the owners and leaders at Mavidea, one of my jobs is motivating our team outside of the money they receive for doing the job. Here are several efforts and values we’ve tried and embraced to motivate our team here at Mavidea.

How to Motivate Employees Outside of Money

Be Honest and Transparent

Trust is important. If your employees aren't sure if they can trust you, it will be hard, if not impossible, to motivate them. Be open, honest, and transparent. We practice many of the concepts of open-book management and our employees know how well we’re doing as a company. Being open as a company helps employees trust that they can be open also.

Know Every Team Member’s Personal Goals

Our goals drive our decisions. If one of your employees wants to start their own business, how they approach their work and their future with your company will be much different than an employee who is five years away from retirement and trying to save enough money to live comfortably after they retire. Having this information is powerful—not just for you, but for your employee so you can help them get to where they want to be. Know your employees’ goals!

Involve Them in Solving Problems

One of the simplest ways to fix problems in your business is to ask your employees how they would solve them. By including them in the solution, you're showing that you value their feedback, and by listening and implementing some of their suggested changes, you're also holding them accountable. When they have a vested interest in a solution to a problem, they’re likely to work harder and buy in completely to that change, rather than resist something that was forced on them by management that they disagree with.

Share Your Company’s Goals

Just as we share our financial standing with our employees, our staff also knows the goals of their specific team, and the company as a whole. Your employees can't help your business properly if they don't know what your goals are, just as you can't help your employees if you don't know theirs.

Provide Opportunities for Growth

Do your employees see themselves growing with your company, or are they there for a recurring paycheck and that's it? Find ways to give your employees opportunities to grow that align with their goals. You may not be able to promise them that they will have a chance to become the company's CEO, but maybe starting a new department or launching a sister company could be beneficial for your business and inspire a hard-working and ambitious employee.

I honestly want all of my employees to make tons of money, although not all of them are motivated by money. We plan on continuing to grow, and we need amazing employees to help us do that. And you will not be able to keep amazing employees on your team without helping them grow alongside your business.

Empower Your Staff

Our team has teams within it. We have a web team, IT staff, and our owners. Relationships aren't built by the emails we send out or talking to an employee once a month—they come from working in the trenches with each other. If these mini-teams are given freedom and work effectively apart from the rest of your company, it can actually result in very strong bonds within that team, which is what we’ve experienced here. And motivation can come from wanting to see our team succeed, whether in business, sports, or our family.

Host Team Activities

Christmas parties, potlucks, and even the occasional team meeting can serve as a way to bring your team closer together. The more a part of your team someone feels, the more they will want to help that team succeed. We host regular activities both in and out of the office, from volunteering at a local food bank to hosting community events at our office that our team helps organize. These interactions serve as a break from our day-to-day work and also help build stronger bonds.

In summary, if you want to motivate a person, get to know them. The stronger the relationships you create with each employee, the better you can meet their needs, and the better you’ll be able to motivate them. And the more they’re motivated, the better they will be able to accomplish their own goals and the goal of your company.

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