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Annie Hayes



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Feature: Top 10 tips on motivation



By Sarah Coles-Porter, Event Director, Incentive World & National Incentive Show

Everybody needs to be motivated, a good motivation scheme at work improves productivity, customer and employee loyalty and morale; Sarah Coles-Porter presents her top ten motivation tips.

Incentives, gifts and rewards are not just important but essential to a productive and happy office.

The importance of motivating staff cannot be stressed enough, especially in today’s uncertain climate. Recognising and rewarding staff will help them to feel satisfied, happy and included as an essential member of the company.

The following top 10 tips on motivation have been compiled to help companies boost their business without blowing their budget.

1. Start with a bang
Make sure from the outset that employees are aware of the rewards on offer and are inspired by them. Use staff and sales meetings, team briefings, email and newsletters to sell the schemes on offer, explain them and answer any questions. Be as creative as possible.

2. Do some research
What worked well last year may not work again the second time around. Similarly, what motivates a 20 year old female may not work for a 60 year old male. By researching employee profiles, businesses can ensure that motivation is targeted and made appropriate to staff.

3. Seek inspiration
There are thousands of potential rewards from gift vouchers to gadgets, or luxury goods to leisure breaks on offer, selecting the right benefits is the key to a successful reward structure.

4. Be inclusive
It is no good just offering incentives to the top tiers of the company. Lower level employees are just as, if not more important to productivity within the business.

5. Little and often is key
Giving a one off bonus or gift will only have a short-term effect. It is far better to offer less more often as it creates continued motivation. Many organisations create staff motivation schemes that offer rewards that are awarded annually. The rewards, however attractive, will often seem too far in the distance to incite motivation.

Interest can be revived by shortening the payout horizon with interim rewards. The award values need not to be huge, but the motivation value of having frequent winners is tremendous. News of these targets and prizes also creates a communications opportunity that raises visibility.

6. Allow individuals to set their own targets
Persuading staff to take continuing ownership of their personal targets and objectives is an ongoing challenge. However, if you ask individuals or a team to set their own goals, they often choose figures that are larger than a manager might have set. Ownership of the targets in this way is the key to raising levels of motivation to achieve them.

7. Incentives should encourage sustained effort
Nothing de-motivates a middle ranking performer more than to see a high flyer streaking ahead from the start. However, if everyone starts afresh each quarter, or each month, with plusses and minuses wiped out, everyone has a chance to compete on equal terms.

8. Targets must be achievable
It is no good setting impossible targets for staff – this will make any incentive pointless. Ensure that sales targets are achievable for all, not just by the high fliers. Pitch the threshold level fairly low, but with scales continuing upwards for higher achievers.

9. Communicate frequently
After the initial launch, awareness of motivation and bonus schemes fades into normality. There needs to be a constant communication programme that keeps the scheme in mind. Creative messages via a variety of routes from post and e-mail to newsletters should be used to generate excitement, including teasers, league tables and progress charts.

10. Add an element of surprise
Everybody expects a gift or party for Christmas. How about having a party to celebrate staff? Or giving a gift or additional holiday in the middle of the year? These unexpected gestures are far more likely to generate motivation, respect and loyalty to the company than rewards that are expected.

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Annie Hayes


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