10 Best Ways to Motivate Your Staff

Increased job satisfaction and performance, decreased turnover rates, and overall growth in company profits have all been linked back to employee motivation.

Psychological studies have different names for highly successful, motivated employees, discussing levels of “organizational commitment” or rates of reported “needs satisfaction.”  Whatever the theoretical approach, the bottom line is still the same; motivated employees propel a company forward.

Below, we’ve outlined for you ten of the best ways to motivate your staff.

1. Lead by example.

 

Motivation has to start from the top. Any leadership training will tell you that people struggle to follow where they perceive a duality in standards, or the pretense of a “do as I say, not as I do” attitude. Specific applications vary from business to business, but usually involve leading with both an affirming, constructive attitude and disciplined, dedicated work ethic.  Your conduct will be powerful motivation for your employees.

2. Set company goals.

Psychologists talk about humans desiring three things: competence, autonomy, and relatedness. These ideas work into several of the tips on our list; the third is particularly relevant here. People want to feel like they are part of the team; our next point will follow this as it relates to co-worker relationships, but it has to begin, again, at the top.

Companies who are able to articulate long-term and short-term goals to their staff will find their business running more smoothly. Workers are motivated by the transparency and vision of clearly-communicated goals. Having the big picture influences the manner in which day-to-day tasks are carried out. Everyone is on the same page, and this “relatedness” is highly motivating.

3. Promote cooperation over competition.

Competition can sometimes be useful within a company, but the stronger pull should be toward cooperation. Again referring back to the idea of “relatedness,” cooperation among employees promotes unity and increases the likelihood of an employee staying with a company. Encouraging a mindset of cooperation guards against destructive, self-promoting behaviors like deception and manipulation that can crop up in environments of intense competition. Cooperation is motivating.

4. Pair employees with fitting tasks.

This has to do with the “competence” side of the psychological triangle. Studies show that employees are most motivated to complete tasks that are appropriately challenging. Throwing an insufficiently-trained employee into an overly challenging situation will create more stress than satisfaction. Under-stimulation will foster boredom. Job descriptions should pair with an employee’s level of training.

5. Work with employees as individuals.

“Competency” continues, as the easiest way to ensure employees are linked to appropriate tasks is by checking in with them one-on-one. Employees, when given the opportunity, can offer valuable insight into their own performance and productivity and ways in which it might be improved. This is also a great time to bring in the final element, “autonomy,” by encouraging staff to offer suggestions and set personal goals that align with the larger company goals. As employees take ownership of their positions, motivation has been shown to increase.

6. Have a positive working environment.

Workplace environment comes up again and again as one of the key factors in employee satisfaction, performance, and longevity. And “positivity” is the keyword. Across a variety of industries, employees repeatedly report that they would be willing to move for a job with a positive work environment.

7. Have a functional working environment.

Since work environment plays such a big role in employee satisfaction and performance, we’ll give you one more tip. Besides being positive, a work environment needs to be functional in order to fully facilitate productive, motivated employees. Your staff can probably offer insight here, so don’t be afraid to ask them for advice. Ask employees which facets of office life, if any, are hindering their performance, and what could be done to rectify these issues.  A little extra effort placed on good organization and communication could have big payoffs.

8. Offer incentives.

Sure, life can’t be all extrinsic motivation; there aren’t ribbons and candy bars for every success. But finding fitting ways to reward great work will motivate your staff and help you create room for growth in every area of your company. Look for ways to recognize quality work, and keep employees challenged by providing plenty of opportunities for growth and development.

9. Provide plenty of training.

This ties back in to incentives.  Motivated employees are challenged by their work environment, so facilitate and encourage the development of new skills. An employee won’t be on the lookout for a different job if he or she is looking forward to new and exciting opportunities within his or her current company.

10. Give (and take) feedback.

From assimilation with company-wide goals to individual performance, personal employee feedback, done well, will motivate employees. Learn how to offer feedback in an affirming manner, and avoid using set apart evaluation times as regular opportunities for criticism. Make sure communication goes both ways, giving employees time to ask questions and offer suggestions.
Opening up constructive communication will be motivating to you, as leadership, as well. As employees are able to invest in the vision of the company, they will be increasingly eager to provide hiring referrals, pass along creative ideas for company improvement and growth, and speak well of your company within their personal social circles.

Why You Should Always Be Recruiting

Here’s what we don’t mean by “always be recruiting.”

We are not advocating recruiting and hiring without regard for your business’s budget. While we believe strongly that excellent employees make an excellent business, we aren’t trying to convince you to tank your business by ignoring wise financial practices.

We are also not talking about dishonest business practices, like keeping candidates holding on with empty promises of possible positions that are always just around the corner. Teasing candidates with less-than-upfront communication will only earn your company a bad reputation.

Here’s what we do mean.

You should always be making the most of your recruiting efforts by creating an environment in which employees can do great work, by letting potential candidates know that you have created an environment in which employees can do great work, and by networking effectively with potential candidates – active and passive.

These efforts speed along the hiring process and ensure that your company doesn’t have to start cold with any hire. Companies with big-picture recruitment goals can avoid the panic of needing new employees immediately but being unable to take the time to recruit, train, and maintain employees once they arrive. No panic means no compromise, no last-minute hiring that forces a company to disregard its standards due to time constraints.

Create an employee-friendly environment.

This does three big things for you. It promotes employee satisfaction, leading to better employee performance, decreased employee turnover, and increased employee referrals and other informal advertising by current employees within their social circles.

This can have a powerful influence on your hiring efforts, even increasing your attraction over passive candidates who may have work but would move for a company who placed more value on their employees’ well-being.

Making big changes in a work environment doesn’t happen overnight. This is a big-picture goal, a topic to discuss with your leadership and implement more and more as time goes on.

Maybe you need to improve communication between levels of employees, maybe you need to consider an updated benefits package, maybe you need to discuss private versus collaborative workspaces, maybe your company needs to work on its policies concerning internal promotions and employee-growth incentives; this is an area to regularly evaluate.

Market your employee-friendly environment.

Once you’ve put in the effort to improve the culture within your company, encourage your current employees to spread the word. Make time to follow up, responding to their suggestions for improvement and candidate referrals. This advertising is not only free, but potent, as the word of a current employee can either fortify or dismantle a business’s marketing efforts.

Promote your excellent work environment, including it in social media campaigning and job advertisements. New research on the Millennial and Gen Z generations in the workplace almost always includes some mention of work environment and its importance. Potential employees want a taste of what it would be like to work for a company, and companies have more creative marketing tools than ever before at their disposal.

Follow up with potential candidates – active and passive.

“Talent pipelining” can be misunderstood. Some think of it negatively, associating pipelining with either copious amounts of work (babysitting potential candidates with endless phone calls and coffee dates) or dishonest candidate communication (keeping candidates available by making disingenuous promises about opportunities you have for them).

When used in a positive light, pipelining is one facet of great networking. Networking takes time, but does not have to be all-consuming or dishonest. It’s often as simple as keeping track of names and numbers for new business acquaintances, taking a few minutes each week to call and check in with active or passive candidates, and returning phone calls and emails in a timely fashion. It’s good business practice and another great way to ensure that your company is not left high and dry when a position opens up. Chances are, if you are networking well, you will often have a list of leads to follow when a need arises.

Recruitment agencies are networking experts and can be called upon to consult on hiring and networking practices or to provide candidates if you need networking with an extended reach.
You should always be recruiting, strengthening your business by preparing for inevitable personnel changes. Proactive recruiting prevents job openings from throwing a company into crisis mode, allowing you to keep your business functioning at a consistently high standard, no matter the hiring circumstances.  

4 Myths About Recruiting

 

We’ve heard some tall tales about recruiting over the years. Here are four we’d like to clear up for you today.

  1. Companies should begin the recruiting process when they have a job opening.

 

The practice of reactive hiring can place a company in the uncomfortable position of being forced to compromise. Having to start from scratch with every job opening, the hiring process can become a lengthy ordeal. The longer a position is open, the more pressure a company feels to fill it.  Managers begin considering candidates who aren’t qualified or start asking current employees to fill roles outside of their job descriptions.

Alternatively, companies can save themselves the headache by proactively working to promote a consistently hiring-friendly environment. Contributing to this would be discussions of company culture and branding and whether or not current employees are satisfied with their positions. Quality candidates are attracted to businesses who treat their employees well. This expands into marketing and networking plans that prioritize regular and effective communication with quality candidates.

Recruitment agencies are great at filling positions quickly, and we are often asked to step into hiring-crisis situations. But professional recruiting agencies can also be a great help to businesses wanting to change the way they view hiring, incorporating more long-term solutions into their business plan and building up quality practices so that no job opening has to begin at square one.

  1. Candidates will find us on their own; extra money for outside recruitment is a waste.

As a recruitment agency, we hear the money question often; “Is it really worth it to spend money hiring outside recruiting help? Surely, candidates will come to us.” Recruiters do come with a cost – but an experienced recruiter will be worth every penny.

Sometimes, talent will find you, and you will not need recruiting help. However, every business encounters difficulties at some point. Maybe a company is looking to hire a very specific skillset, or needing a position filled immediately, or struggling with high employee turnover rates, or getting little to no response from job postings, or a whole host of other hiring-related issues. It is at these times the value of a recruiter is unquestionable.

Hiring issues can take you by surprise. Even large, well-known companies do not get to put their feet up when it comes to acquiring new talent. If a prestigious, highly-regarded business is not successfully marketing open positions, they too will struggle to find the right candidates.

Don’t overlook recruiters as a problem-solving option. Investing in quality employees will only benefit your company.

  1. Recruiting can’t work for my company.

Maybe you’ve heard that recruiting is only for big companies, only for small companies, only for upper-level positions, only for lower-level positions, or only for a few particular industries. Skilled, experiences recruiters work with companies of any size, entry-level to C-suite positions, and across a broad range of industries.

Recruitment agencies and consultants have well-honed hiring skills: communicating well with businesses and candidates, researching new hiring practices and technologies, delving into specific industries and fields to understand specific needs, selling a position  or a company to a qualified candidate, etc. Additionally, professional recruiters have years of hiring experience, allowing them to diagnose all kinds of hiring problems and present workable solutions. These skills and experience can benefit any business.

A quality recruiter will be honest with you about how they are or are not able to help your company.  Often, with their vast connections and research capabilities, recruiters are able to provide valuable services even in fields with which they have limited initial familiarity. However, if there is a situation in which a recruiter feels your company would be better served by another agency, he or she can provide quality recommendations.

  1. Technology has made the role of recruiter obsolete.

Technology has changed industry worldwide, not just recruitment.  And while it has altered our job description – sometimes expanding, sometimes condensing – the heart of recruiting is still the same. Recruiters are professional communicators and professional deal closers. Tech improvements have yet to replicate the effectiveness of a skilled, experienced recruiter selling a candidate on a company. Technology is tool; it cannot supplant personal recruitment.

Great recruiters harness, rather than fear, new technology and will be able to put tech to good use as they work for your company. Recruiters can also be valuable consulting resources to companies wondering which new products are worth the investment.

Companies looking to improve recruitment practices should not hesitate to seek out recruiting experts. If you’ve been discouraged by these or other myths in the past, find an experienced recruiter who can answer your questions and help you make a plan to optimize your hiring.

In a Virtual World, You Need Virtual Recruiters

Marketing expectations have changed dramatically in recent years. Phone books and their yellow pages are obsolete, while Facebook pages are essential.

A 2014 study by G/O Digital found that 80% of consumers polled said that they would be more likely to purchase a product if they saw positive user reviews on the company’s Facebook page. Most respondents also told G/O that they check a company’s social media site multiple times a week (30% even 2-3 times a day) before ever walking into a local business.

Online presence isn’t only about product review and purchasing information; it’s how candidates are expecting to begin interactions with potential employers.

Glassdoor’s 2014 study reported that the majority of job seekers use social media at least once a month to learn more about potential employers. 76% want details on what makes the company an attractive place to work. Millions of applications are submitted online each year.

So while candidate recruitment may have been primarily a game of in-person communication years ago, technological savviness is definitely a requirement for success today.

How do professional recruiters make the most of hiring practices in the virtual world? What makes a tech-knowledgeable recruiter particularly valuable to today’s businesses?

  1. We can make the most of global applicant pools.

When one share of a link can send a job-opening advertisement from one side of the world to the other, screening large and diverse pools of applicants is a necessary skill for a modern recruiter. Whether your business is looking for insight into the best use of screening software, wanting assistance further narrowing down candidate lists from those who have already been through basic online screening, or wanting an expert to deal with the hiring from start to finish, a virtually-clever recruiter can help.

  1. We can show you how to make your hiring process more efficient.

Just because you can conduct business virtually doesn’t always mean you should, though there are portions of the hiring process that are clearly improved by the latest-and-greatest tech inventions. Recruiters familiar with hiring in the virtual world are able to help businesses decide where to focus their time and money, understanding which tech improvements carry the biggest bang for your buck and which are less-efficient, distracting, or merely peripheral.  

  1. We can help you ensure quality, personal hires, even long-distance.

Because a recruiter working virtually conducts such a large percentage of his or her business remotely, he or she is an expert at quality communication even when in-person meetings are not a possibility. A business can and should still value personal communication, rather than hiding behind programs and systems; but it isn’t always easy to tell where the hiring and onboarding process has become too detached.

Recruiters involved in a company’s hiring process know how to push past the difficulties of distance, establishing and maintaining relationships with candidates and selling those candidates on a business when the time comes to make an offer. Recruiters consulting for businesses can help their internal hiring teams understand how to pair quality tech infrastructure and time-tested business practices to make the most of every hiring opportunity.

  1. We can help you improve your company branding to make the most of online advertising.

Is your social media presence helping or hurting your business? How is your company perceived by potential applicants? How is your hiring process promoting or hindering your company’s reputation?  A tech-savvy recruiter can help you answer these questions.

Stepping back and looking at a company’s place within its industry is a good place to begin. How are social media platforms being used most effectively by similar businesses? How do a company’s current advertisements compare to those of competitors, and how is this influencing their branding as a whole? How is a business’s branding being promoted passively, such as through its dealings with candidates who are not offered a job?

Seasoned recruiters can help businesses set realistic goals for growth that coincide with a larger business plan.

Looking to a “virtual recruiter” doesn’t mean handing hiring over to the computer, it means seeking out a recruiter who is able to make the most of every resource – tech-related and not – to ensure that your company is thriving in today’s virtual world.

 

5 Things to Keep in Mind When Working with Recruiters

Candidates contacted by recruitment agencies often have questions about the nature of that particular business relationship.  We’d like to help by offering some advice.

  1. Make sure you are working with a skilled, experienced recruiter.

If a recruiter is dishonest, manipulative, or desperate, do not partner with him or her. This also includes recruiters who will not communicate professionally or who seem to know very little of your industry. These are red flags, not marks of a skilled and experienced recruiter.

  1. Understand that recruiters are usually hired by companies.

When you are contacted by a recruiting consultant or if you are considering inquiring with a recruitment agency, keep in mind that recruiters are hired by companies. Recruiters search for quality candidates who are the best fit for their clients, the businesses who hired them.

Quality recruiters will be honest and upfront about the opportunities and timelines in which they would like to involve you, but it’s important to remember that they are not under contract to match you to a job, but rather to match a candidate to a company.

  1. Go back to the basics.

Basic business courtesies may seem obvious, but they should not be ignored if you want to make the most of your recruiter-candidate relationship.  Being on-time, prepared, and professional is important, whether you’re preparing for a preliminary phone or video meeting or at a final in-person interview. Meeting with a recruiter could be your first interview with your future employer (should you progress through the hiring process), so take the time to ensure a good first impression.

  1. Recruiters can help with networking.

Recruiters can be valuable assets to candidates currently job searching (or who will be job searching in the future), even if candidates are not a strong match for companies currently employing a recruiter. Maintaining a good relationship with a recruitment consultant can keep you in the running for future open positions.

Networking in this way will only prove profitable to candidates who are honest and professional in their dealings with recruiters. Be open with recruiters about your interest level in a position; don’t oversell your willingness to change jobs or move if you aren’t ready to follow through. Lying to recruiters about your qualifications will only hurt you in the long run, so be honest. Recruiters are unlikely to recommend candidates who have misled them in the past.

  1. Recruiters can help with job hunting, even if they don’t have a position open for you.

Recruiters can also be a great source of information, whether it’s a simple tip on updating your résumé or insight into what experience is most sought-after in a current field, advice from a seasoned recruiter is worthwhile. Without being obnoxious, it’s okay to check in with a recruiter from time to time, as they will be aware of any changes in the job market and could have suggestions for your search.