Ekaterina Osadchuk – CEO at Indigo Tech Recruiters, economist, professional psychologist, HRD and business development director with more than ten years of experience.
It’s strange to start an article with the fact that it’s impossible to motivate anyone. But that’s true. People’s motivation is always internal, and it depends on goals and values.What can we do to understand and support people, and what should we avoid doing so as not to demotivate people?. In this article, we’ll look at the methods we use at Indigo.
1. Set up driving goals and transmit them to people
Employees are always easier to motivate when each of them understands the vector. I mean, the where, the what and the why, and the expected short and long-term results..
If you think that the employees only need to know their own tasks and do not have to see the big picture, remember the parable of the three stonemasons. All of them did the same job. It was an unbearable burden only for one of them, for another one it was an opportunity to feed the family, and for the third one just it was the pleasure. The third stonemason understood why he worked. He was happy because he was building the temple.
If an employee does not know the overarching goal, he can not prioritize tasks correctly His efforts are out of focus and less effective.
Even if someone is a very productive employee, if they do not know the goals, and therefore the value of their work, they start to lose interest. If every employee understands where the company is going, likes this goal, and feels their contribution to common development, it gives him that necessary energy and keeps him focused on results.
Chaotic movement, lack of involvement and understanding of the company’s development prospects (and their own opportunities at the same time) is one of the most frequent reasons for mature, effective employees` becoming demotivated and leaving.
What to do and how to be?
Formulate your mission and key company objectives
The mission should be global, and it should have value and inspire employees. Therefore it should match their goals and values (long live the correct selection of the team). For example, Intel’s mission is: “To create and improve computer technologies, to connect and improve the lives of every person on earth.” The same time, Facebook’s mission is: “To give people an opportunity to share their lives with others and make the world more open and united.”
The goals are specific and measurable. For example, “to release X number of new products, to enter the Y markets, to get Z $ profit.”
Explain to the staff how their work affects achievement of the common goal. Take time to determine employee’s long-term goals. Define his influence on product or service creation, his role in the company, his area of responsibility in achieving the common mission and goals..
Also, specify short-term goals. Enormously long-term goals do not allow you to enjoy the result here and now. That’s why it’s essential to outline the nearest prospects. For example, in the project work, it could be passing through certain stages. This way you can take satisfaction in reaching a milestone, , and then move on. At Indigo we have so-called Friday standups, where each team shares weekly results. Also, we have 1-2-1 meetings on Mondays, where we discuss the last week’s results individually with each employee and their plans for the next one.
You must note employees’ achievements. The notorious assessment system is needed not just to reward employees, but also to make it transparent and understandable how employees cope with the work and then to give feedback in the form of recognition or recommendations for his self-development. The best motivation for a mature employee is when he realizes that he managed to achieve the desired result and made his contribution to the work of the whole team.
Ambitious goals are usually connected to tasks of a new level and require employee training and development.
Remember, it takes time to get to a new level and to cope with tasks. Fear and resistance will follow the process of changes. Do not forget to support employees regularly, give them the necessary tools, advice, knowledge and be patient. Practice makes perfect, which means your employees will ask questions, seek help and sometimes make mistakes. Your irritability can only demotivate employees and discourage their desire to master new tasks.
The speed of your business development is incompatible with low trust to employees. A Low level of trust leads to bureaucracy and micro-management. This is the most significant business expense and one of the deterrent factors in development.
Trust is confidence. When you trust your employees, you feel confident in their decency, professionalism, abilities. It inspires and gives energy for better results. Distrust greatly demotivates people.
For example, as CEO of Indigo, I am sure that without trust it is impossible to keep a team that works remotely and has a free schedule and performance. Holacracy is impossible without sincerity.
If you are not ready to trust employees, it means, at least, you chose the wrong people for your team. Immediately change your people selection approach. Or find the reasons in yourself. Usually, we will not trust others if we have doubts about our own professionalism, decency or abilities. This is called projection in psychology.
This is impossible without trust. The delegation process often difficult for the manager. However, task delegation(even with the right to make mistakes) is indispensable, and it becomes the most effective driver of capacity development.
Do not give instructions. Ask for your team’s opinion. If the task is too complicated and/or extremely important for business, this does not mean that you must necessarily do it yourself. This means that you need: a) to provide your team with more support, b) to make more control points and c) to give more feedback.
5. Provide feedback that develops your employee skills and recognizes employee merits
Give feedback according to results. If employees do not receive regular feedback about their work, they lose enthusiasm and do not feel their importance. Besides, feedback:
– reduces the amount of possible mistakes when performing new tasks;
– increases the leader’s authority in the eyes of subordinates, because it demonstrates manager interest in employees’ development, and in increasing work process efficiency;
– encourages the employee to develop himself.
Principles of feedback
Respect. Show that you’re interested and confident about the person, his professional skills, achievements and capability of completing new tasks.
Being correct and specific while giving situation description. Be specific and use only facts, not judgments. For example, “I could not rely on you” change on “You completed your presentation 2 hours later, we missed the deadline, and we sent it to our customer late”.
Balance. Do not forget to balance negative and positive feedback. It is necessary to mention employees strong sides and reassure them, that those sides will help him to develop the weakest ones.
Dialogue and solution finding. You talk to each other and find the universal solution. That is why you need dialogue. Give your employee the possibility to think and to explain the situation. Find solutions and ways for development together.
When there is a result and employee deserves to be praised then do it. Good achievements should be acknowledged in public. On the other hand,anything that has gone wrong should be discussed only behind the closed doors and according to the principles of providing feedback.
General chat, corporate newspapers, stand-ups, meetups on the results of the month/quarter/year are the most suitable places to express your gratitude to all employees together and to individual colleagues.
Always expect the best. When setting ambitious goals, also remember about the constant increase in the quality bar.
Initially, it could be scary for you and the team, but professional growth occurs when you go out of your comfort zone. This is the perfect moment for motivation. Employees who share the company’s goals and values will always stay with you and will strive for the best, and the others will quit.
The feedback algorithm
- Set up your minds on a positive wavelength
- Point out the reason for giving feedback.
- Give a short description.
- Discuss employee’s strong sides and what was done well. Say that you would like to complete the task in a better way together.
- Point out a specific action that should be improved.
- Discuss current results.
- Compare current results and a possible better variant. What should be changed?
- Observe the employee’s reaction and choose suitable words.
- Finish the dialogue positively. Show your employee that you are confident in his abilities and capacity to complete the tasks. Remind him about his success with other tasks.
Introduce knowledge sharing and a constructive attitude to mistakes into the company culture. Start with yourself. Share your knowledge, ask questions, be patient, do not dramatize mistakes. Penalties are forbidden. Otherwise, employees will be afraid to try something new, and it will stop innovations and development.
Maybe you will be surprised, but employees do not strive to ensure that their work is highly paid. They attempt to be paid fairly. What does it mean? There are three types of payment. Your employee is consciously or unconsciously oriented on them. They are external, internal and individual payment.
External fairness. It is when I understand that in a similar company with a similar product the same Senior FrontEnd salary gets $ 3500.
Internal fairness. This principle is about “equal pay for an equivalent position.” Thus, if two employees work in the same company in the same positions, they expect to have the same salary.
Individual justice. When there are employees who are in the same positions, they have the same competencies. The same time their productivity is different. One does everything two times faster and with minimal mistakes, the second one is slower and makes mistakes. Bonuses could be the perfect solution in this case. This could take the form of extra payment to the salary or other types of rewards.
The principle of equity
The principle of equity is the basis of remuneration.
- Internal fairness. Equal salaryfor the same positions. Positions with similar requirements have the same salary.
- External fairness. According to market data. How much is this specialist paid on the market?
- Individual fairness. Different rates for the same positions. Everything depends on the specialist’s efficiency.
8. Create an atmosphere.
Corporate culture does matter when it comes to motivation or demotivation.
We already wrote in the article about economic recruiting that corporate culture helps save the company’s budget for hiring and wages. The employee, who is satisfied with the atmosphere in the team, appreciates it more than the increase of salaries in dollars. Especially in the IT sector, where wages thoroughly cover the need for a decent standard of living.
When there is an atmosphere of trust, respect, and openness within the company and when the team relations are promoted, and each employee is valuable, then the motivation and productivity of employees will be high.
And here the process of recruiting employees is especially important. Because it is necessary to find not just a professional, but also a person whose personal qualities and values correspond to the company’s culture. This could be a separate topic of recruiting competence and benchmarks while selecting team members.
9. Remove interference
Reducing the number of distracting and irritating factors will increase your employees’ productivity and motivation.
Someone is disturbed by draughts, and someone has issues with a laptop. Do not dismiss these problems. Avoid being indifferent and find a solution. Yes, sometimes it requires additional resources, including financial ones. But the trust and a comfortable, productive processes in the team is inpriceless.
At Indigo we believe that the moment of motivation is equal to professional competencies of the employee. And, it works at all stages, from the moment when a person tries to become a part of the team, to the project results and career growth.