Motivating your employees isn’t always the easiest thing to do. You might be able to offer pay rises and promotions if you’ve got tons of cash to spare, but it’s not a guaranteed fix. Throwing money at the problem may buy you only a little time before morale dips again, and a promotion overshadowed by micromanagement will only make a new job title feel like a phoney gesture. So what can you do? Here are five of the best ways to motivate your staff in 2016.

1. Give them the right tools

First, give your employees the tools they need to do their job. Invest in technology, HR systems and all the other necessary software to streamline tasks and processes. Automating work that doesn’t require so much human input will free up your team to use their time in other areas, which ultimately will leave them with more energy and motivation to do great things for your business.

2. Set the example

A key way of motivating your staff is to give off a positive and infectious attitude.
Be energetic, enthusiastic, demonstrative and passionate – it’s hard for anyone to feel demotivated if their leader is so effusive! If you’re excited about the business, your employees are far more likely to get on board to achieve whatever you want.

3. Provide incentives

Recognise and reward people for their hard work. Staff who demonstrate creativity, innovation, and are willing to go the extra mile are exactly what your business needs. The best way to generate more of it is to provide incentives. These don’t have to be expensive (though you could use monetary carrots if you want to) – simple, positive feedback and praise can be enough to motivate many people to keep giving their best.

4. Empower your employees

Stop hovering over their shoulders, however tempting it is! Instead, give your employees ownership of their work. You can set the parameters and big deadlines, but let them decide how best to manage their time and get the work done. Also, empower your staff by giving them a genuine platform to suggest their ideas. This will make your team feel valued and know that they’re an integral part of the company. Trust and respect goes a long way towards making your employees feel competent and fulfilled, which in turn makes them more motivated than they otherwise would be.

5. Be flexible

If you’re willing to place a little faith in your employees and afford them flexible working hours, you’ll likely find they’re more motivated to produce work of a higher quality when they are working. Why? People are increasingly looking for a work-life blend as opposed to a work-life balance. Due to technology blurring the boundaries between our personal and professional lives, it makes sense to introduce a flexible working calendar.

Why not allow your employees to work from home or dip in and out of the office to fit around their family commitments? Or, take a leaf out of Branson’s book: allow your employees to take holidays whenever they want, working on the assumption that they’ll only do so when they’re comfortable their absence will not damage the business in any way.