Five Tips to Motivate Employees

Here are five tips from Inc. Magazine to help motivate your employees and create a sense of community.

It can be difficult to feel passionate about the job you’re doing, especially if you’ve been at it for a while. A lack of motivation among employees is a dangerous issue that every leader must tackle head on, otherwise it could lead to burnout, poor performance, dragging sales and resignation letters.

It would be great if you could create an environment where your employees feel welcomed, inspired and useful at work, so that they actually look forward to Monday morning.

The person in charge has the power to transform a company’s culture and make a business feel more like home to the employees.

A great manager makes time to get to know employees on a personal level. While an employee’s personal life and values should never impact the way they are perceived at work, there are many benefits to getting to know team members outside of what they do. By taking the time to understand the staff’s backgrounds, a manager can gain considerable insight. Maybe a staff member is fluent in multiple languages, or has technical skills in what you company is currently lacking. You won’t know until you ask.

Paying attention to what your team members have learned through their unique experiences can help you find more ways to improve their quality of life and address their needs at work. Plus, you might just end up learning something that helps you better serve your customer base too.

Motivate your team by engaging them through new tasks that speak to their unique skills When filling a role in your company, you probably were mostly focused on the applicant’s skills that applied directly to their job description. However, chances are that they have more skills and passions than just the ones they’re using for their specific job. If you make the effort to find additional tasks that speak to their other talents, your employee will feel like you’re really paying attention to who they are as a full person, not just how they contribute to your bottom line.

To combat boredom, you also should offer continuing education and professional development so that employees can improve on skills that they are passionate about. This way, even if they transition to a new type of work, they will be much more likely to want to do so in conjunction with your company, because you have supported them throughout and offered opportunities for them to grow alongside you.

Emphasize good mental health by providing regular opportunities for employees to express their needs. Employees might be struggling to find balance in their lives. Maybe a single parent is having trouble getting their kids to school while working a nine-to-five job? Another employee could be dealing with an illness that makes it difficult for them to participate in office events. The point is, you just won’t know what’s going on with your team members unless you provide an environment where they feel comfortable speaking openly with you.

There are many things that you can do to facilitate a workplace that is conducive to honest and frank discussions that bridge the gap between leader and team. Whether it means sitting down with employees individually to talk about their career path and how you can help them get where they want to go, or bringing in a certified counselor, providing your team with regular check-ins will vastly improve their overall morale.

Foster connections between employees with team bonding experiences. When you make an effort to support a closer camaraderie between employees, work becomes more enjoyable and thus more productive. Office sports teams, special outings and birthday parties are just some of the ways you can facilitate bonding in your company. As well as creating friendships between team members, by participating in these activities yourself, you can help remove the perceived barriers between you as the boss and the people who work for your company.

Recognize employee accomplishments. There’s nothing like the feeling of being congratulated for a job well done to encourage a renewed interest in producing results at work. Take the time to genuinely appreciate your employees for the work they do, so that they never feel that their hard work is going unnoticed. Whether it’s a simple mention in your weekly team meeting or a personalized compliment in their holiday card, just letting them know that you see what they’re doing and value it can be a huge confidence boost for even the most seasoned employee. The added benefit when you acknowledge triumphs in public is that your others will see that hard work will result in recognition, resulting in renewed efforts throughout your team. A simple rule here is to make praise public while always keeping criticism private.

Kind Hearts Brighten Season

Builder Shares Millions
A builder who became a multi-millionaire after bagging a £105m Euromillions jackpot ($139 million USD) has told his customers he will finish their jobs for free – as an early Christmas present. Steve Thomson, from Selsey, West Sussex, England promised to go back to work in a bid to ‘stay normal’ after becoming the ninth-biggest UK winner in the history of the European Lottery last month.

Coin Crusader Strikes Again
For the sixth year in a row, the anonymous “Coin Crusader” has generously dropped two rare gold coins into a Salvation Army red kettle in Broward County, Fla. The coins, worth approximately $3,000, were wrapped in one dollar bills and anonymously dropped into the Salvation’s Army’s red kettle at a Walmart Neighborhood Market. All proceeds support the Salvation Army’s feeding, shelter, and social service programs.

Lucky Waitress Garners Huge Tip
A group of friends got together Sunday in Paterson, NJ, to eat, enjoy one another’s company and fill the pocket of one lucky waitress. Local activist Zellie Thomas and nearly a dozen friends finished eating at an IHOP restaurant in the city and were about to leave, but not before giving a $1,200 tip. “She was still looking at it as we were paying the bill. We gave her the money and she was starting to count, like, ‘Wait, wait: You guys gave me too much money,’ ” Thomas said. “ ‘You were supposed to give me this amount.’ And we were like, ‘No, that’s all for you. That’s your tip.’ ”

The Bank with a Heart
Dundee Bank in Omaha has an annual Christmastime tradition of handing out cash to total strangers. Employees of the two-branch bank have hit the streets with envelopes containing two crisp $20 bills and some instructions. Perfect strangers are asked to keep $20 and give away $20 to the person or cause of their choice. Scrooges might think this a marketing ploy, though Tiny Tims might remind them that people who get cash off the street might have bigger needs than a new place to bank, if banking at all is in the cards. Rather, it’s a way to spread joy. Joy to the bank staffers who get the privilege of handing out the envelopes and experiencing the shock and wonder that comes from the recipient. More joy when the recipient gets to treat someone else. “People have cried, have screamed. Have chased after them and hugged them,” said Mandy Mellott, a spokeswoman for the bank. “It’s a really cool way for our employees to interact in the community.”

Big One for the Kettle
Among the crumpled bills and pocket change, a Salvation Army bell ringer in Indiana recently found a shiny gold coin in his red kettle. But not just any gold coin. This coin, a 1915 100 Corona Austrian gold coin, was valued at $1,500. And the name of the man who collected it outside of a Noblesville Walgreens is just as smile-worthy: James Bond.

Secret Santa Spreads Joy
For passengers getting on the bus in Milwaukee recently, it felt like boarding a bus to crazy town. “I said what? This is a dream or something,” one passenger said.But it wasn’t a dream. The drivers were real elves working for the real Secret Santa. Secret Santa is an anonymous, wealthy businessman who every year travels the country giving out $100, $200, sometimes $300 to random strangers. He usually finds his targets in thrift stores.
But this year, Secret Santa recruited some elves from the Milwaukee County Transit System to do at least some of his giving. He chose the Milwaukee drivers because they’re always doing kind deeds, whether it’s stopping the bus to fetch a pair of lost children’s shoes, helping a turtle cross the street or rescuing a child out wandering alone. There is a real culture of kindness, which Secret Santa said makes them the perfect accomplice.

How About a $10 Million Bonus
The very generous chairman of a Maryland real estate company has given his 198 employees the ultimate holiday gift: A $10 million bonus to share. When the employees at St. John Properties attended their annual holiday party, many expected food, drinks and good company. Each also received an envelope. You’re all participating in a bonus based on the number of years (of service) of $10 million,” company founder and chairman Edward St. John announced. The workers were stunned to find out that on average, they each would be going home $50,000 richer. The highest bonus awarded was $270,000.

Growth of the Backyard Bungalow

Accessory dwelling units are popping up in more backyards, CNBC reports. These stand-alone housing units are either serving as rentals to generate extra income for homeowners or extra space for aging parents or adult children who move back home.

The growing interest in ADUs has sparked changes to local and state zoning rules to allow for more construction. Some communities are even pointing to ADUs as a solution for a lack of affordable housing. For example, the city of Portland, Ore., waived impact fees in 2010, making it significantly less expensive to build ADUs in the city. It also prompted construction to soar: The number of ADU permits rose from 86 in 2010 to 660 in 2018, reports.

“ADU is still, for the most part, an affluent homeowner product, meaning you have to have cash on hand to take this on,” Steve Vallejos, CEO of Prefab ADU, told CNBC. His company’s most popular ADU model is a 288-square-foot home that costs about $105,000 to build. ADUs are “addressing financing, it’s addressing standardizing products within cities, and then also it’s creating partner relationships with contractors, architects, and even other builders,” Vallejos says. “There are many different scenarios that people look into based on income, lot size, different zoning rules – so we build ADUs that start at about 150 square feet going up to 1,200 square feet.”

Some homeowners view ADUs as a rental income generator. Some are even turning their ADUs into a retirement plan. Homeowner Lisa Puchalla of Washington, D.C., told CNBC that she and her husband can envision themselves retiring one day in their ADU. The District of Columbia is another city that recently relaxed its building codes to allow for more ADUs. The Puchallas have an ADU in the side yard of their home and rent the ADU out on a monthly basis. “I can definitely see us hanging out there, retiring and traveling, and then renting the main house,” she says.

Could an Empty Garage Solve Housing Crisis?

That empty garage being used for storage may be the answer to a housing shortage that is ailing markets across the country, housing analysts say. Several communities nationwide are considering lifting zoning requirements to allow more accessory dwelling units or ADUs, which would permit adding extra housing onto an existing home.

California, facing an epic housing shortage, is one state actively pursuing the idea. A recent report from the California Housing Partnership says that the state needs 1.4 million more affordable rental homes to meet current population needs. California lawmakers have been relaxing their laws to allow more ADUs – whether that’s a garage conversion, backyard cottage, an in-law apartment or granny flat that could be added onto an existing home. Calif. Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed a law to urge greater construction of ADUs.

Companies are now stepping in to help. One project under way, called United Dwelling, enters into a partnership with a homeowner and pays for the garage conversion. Once it is converted into a living area, they’ll then manage the rental of the apartment to a tenant and split the rent with the homeowner. The company received a million-dollar grant last year from Los Angeles County to help grow its garage conversions in the area.

ADUs have been regarded not only as a way for homeowners to generate extra income but also as a place for young adults who move back home or aging parents who want to move in. ADUs could also help provide greater affordable housing to low-income populations in need, housing analysts say.

However, one common complaint regarding affordable housing has been the impact to neighboring properties, including having more people living on one property and street parking issues.

“While nonprofit housing developers prioritize multifamily developments, we support ADUs as one of many tools that can help address our housing crisis, given the staggering deficit of units across California for people of all incomes,” Alan Greenlee, executive director of the Southern California Association of Nonprofit Housing, told The New York Times. “Notably, ADUs can help achieve greater density of units in neighborhoods that are primarily zoned for single-family homes.”