Sooner or later you’re going to have employees. If you want to create a large company, you’ll have no choice but to hire people to help you out.
Although hiring employees may sound simple, you’ll quickly learn that no one will care for your company as much as you nor will they work as hard as you. Every once in a while you may find some rock star talent to help you out, but those won’t be the majority of the people that build up your team.
So how do you get people to work really hard? Well, you have to push them to their limits, yet keep them motivated or else they’ll get burned out and quit. Here are 7 tactics I use to push employees to their limits while still keeping them motivated and happy.
Tactic #1: Encourage and discourage at the same time
Every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday I have a tendency to point out how employees can be working more efficiently, what else they can do for the company, and how they need to be creating more aggressive revenue goals.
Over the years I’ve quickly learned that critiquing people 4 days a week does help them work harder, but at the same time it can cause them to quit. So every Friday, I make sure I compliment them on how well of a job they are doing and how I am happy to be working with them. I also do the same thing over the weekend through text messages and emails, which makes them ecstatic and ready to work hard on Monday.
The reason I choose to compliment on Friday is because it’s usually a deadline day in which everyone is trying to hit all of their weekly goals. So by saying how well of a job they did, it shows that you appreciate them as well as gives them a sense of accomplishment.
Tactic #2: Dangle a carrot
The best way I’m able to motivate employees to work hard while keeping them happy is to dangle a carrot in front of them. For each employee you’re going to have to figure out what carrot appeals to him or her most. If you can’t figure out what appeals to them, you may want to start with dangling money as most people are looking to move up in their career.
For example, I know my assistant wants to make more money, so every month she can push me to close 2 enterprise deals, she gets a decent size bonus. This works well because it not only pushes her to figure out which companies I can sell large contracts to, but it also makes her think about my company’s financial well being.
I have another employee who loves luxury watches. I’ve offered to buy him a fancy watch if he is able to get my company an extra 100 qualified leads each day as that will drastically improve the company’s bottom line.
Whatever carrot you decide to dangle, make sure your employee is emotionally attached to it. Playing off of logic is great, but dangling carrots that play off of emotions are more effective.
Tactic #3: Feed them well
Everyone has to eat! So why not feed them? Google and Facebook are just a few of the companies that feed their employees for free and it seems to work well. This way they don’t have to leave work to get food and they’ll be more productive.
If you are starting out you may not be able to provide the level of food services that Google and Facebook provide, but this doesn’t mean you can’t treat your employees to a nice meal once a month. Or you can tie meals to specific company objectives, such as buying lunch on Fridays for employees after you know they have achieved their weekly goals.
When feeding your employees, you don’t have to pick the fanciest restaurants. Just pick a unique place that has a fun vibe. I have found that those type of places are much more appreciated than the stuffy restaurants that you have to dress up to eat at.
Tactic #4: Spontaneity
One of the easiest ways to make your employees more productive is to change up the environment they are working in. You can do things like rearranging office furniture, but I prefer changing up the environment by being spontaneous.
For example, I have a weekly brainstorming session with 2 marketers whom I work with and we typically brainstorm in my condo. Last week we decided to brainstorm while taking a walk on the harbor, as the weather was nice. The beautiful thing about this is that my guys were able to come up with some awesome marketing ideas and they didn’t feel like they were working. Instead they felt like they were just taking a break from work and relaxing by the water.
The trick with being spontaneous is to do things that your employees wouldn’t expect. Like the example above, it can be very simple, and it doesn’t have to cost you a dime.
Tactic #5: Give them a voice
Just because someone works for you, doesn’t mean they are your “bitch”. They are there to help you grow your business, and do what’s best for it… they aren’t there to be your slave. Everyone has feelings and people want to be heard. So when you are in meetings or making decisions about your company, ask your employees what they think.
You don’t always have to take their input, but you’re better off asking them what they think as they could come up with a good solution or a point that you may have never thought of. Plus this will also help them think outside of the box so one day they can just make certain decisions for you so you can focus on the bigger picture.
Tactic #6: Your goals should be to help them accomplish their goals
Before any employee starts working for me, I always ask them their 5 most important personal goals. These goals can’t be tied to work and have to be purely personal. Once they list them out to me, I let them know which ones I can help them accomplish.
In most cases I can typically solve 4 out of 5 goals any new employee lists out to me. So as they continue to work for me over the course of each year, I slowly help them mark off each of their goals.
At the end of the year I go over their personal goals and if they were happy with their accomplishments. At the same time I go over their new goals for the next 12 months and I help them accomplish them as well.
The reason you want to help employees out in their personal life is because it will affect their work life. It doesn’t matter that they should keep both worlds separate, people just have a tendency to mix their work life and personal life together.
Tactic #7: Don’t stop pushing
Employees have a tendency of correlating bonuses, raises, and promotions to how well they do in their job and how much they are learning.
So before my employees have the chance to ask me for a raise or a promotion, I let them know what I expect from them as well as what additional things they need to do to receive a promotion.
By doing this I’m pushing my employees to work harder and I keep on pushing them until they start snapping back at me. Now although they may hate me for this, when they look back at what they accomplished and learned, they tend to be happy with their progress.
Using the tactics I mentioned above is a great first step in keeping your employees happy while pushing them to their limits, but it isn’t enough. Over the last 10 years as an entrepreneur I learned one important thing… it’s the small things that really make a big difference.
Get to know your employees, bond with them, and find out what makes them happy in life. If you care for them just like you care for your wife, husband, child, or sibling, you’ll quickly realize that not only will they work really hard for you, but they’ll be happy to do so.