Date: 04/03/2015 | By: Liz Painter

BizSmart Select Member Launa Walker writes about motivating the different personalities in your team…

Motivating your staff to work to their full potential is the best way to increase productivity in the workplace but do you really know what motivates your staff? The overwhelming cry is always ‘money’ but this is only a player in the field of a great number of drivers that get people out of bed in the morning.

When you take on an employee, best practise denotes that you get them to sign a working contract outlining all the pay and conditions they should expect, but how often do you find that it is not the job itself that is the problem, but the baggage that comes with it?

Each employee will have their expectations of what they want from the job and many of those are the drivers and motivators that a good manager can tap into to ensure they keep their staff happy and productive. For instance, a very important factor is how much a person needs to be managed. If you are a micro-manager, checking on every little piece of performance carried out by a free spirit, you will drive them batty. On the other hand what if you let your member of staff have an amount of authority beyond their confidence level? To you it looks like they are not up to the job, when in reality they may well need reassurance that they have the right to make these decisions.

Praise is also an interesting concept. Some staff need to have loads of praise, again for reassurance, and will feel unappreciated if their manager is not regularly commenting on the good work that they do. Other staff will not need external validation to feel confident in the workplace; they just want to get on with the day to day.

Feeling appreciated in the workplace is indeed a big driver for many. Is their work making a difference? How does what they do impact on the bigger picture or are they simply wasting their time?

In our fast-moving, task-orientated working environments it is so easy to forget that we employ people, people who will worker harder and faster if their individual motivations are acknowledged… but finding out what motivates people is a skill in itself. The truth is that the better you know your staff, the easier it is to find out what motivates them. Regular team meetings are a must. Don’t just focus on the tasks but watch the interactions too… who gels well with who? The ones who want praise will almost beg for it in front of their peers while others will shrug it off if you overdo it in front of others.

Also vital are the one to ones you hold with your staff. Spending time getting to know them individually will pay dividends; listen to what they say and watch their reactions too. Do you know that only 7% of what we say is expressed by the words we use? The other 93% we pick up through body language and tonality. Watch, listen and learn!

I love the programme ‘Undercover Boss’ and recommend that every employer catches at least one episode. The message is very simple. Listen to your staff and they will be motivated enough to work for you, even if you can’t give them everything they ask for. Explain the issues and they will understand. We are all human after all.

Launa Walker uses her extensive management experience to help develop your staff to deliver to their full potential.  You can view Launa’s Select Member Profile or give Launa a call on 07990 833 446.