Employees who are motivated will be more engaged, meaning they will put in a greater effort and try hard to deliver great results.
Motivated employees are usually happier because they know they are doing the job well or learning something new, and therefore they have a high sense of satisfaction and pride.
- Empower and involve employees in decisions that affect their job.
- Clear leadership and regular communication is the best motivation for most employees along with interesting and varied work, growth opportunities, being recognised and feeling like they belong and are respected.
- Discuss with your staff what is important and what they find motivating. Is it training (on-farm or off-farm), being given additional responsibility or challenges, rewards (vouchers, cash, additional time off), flexibility in managing their work/life balance, specific days off, or a pay rise? If you don't ask you won't know!
- Get to know your employees and find out what makes them tick. Watch your employees' body language and attitude after you have rewarded or recognised them. Did you hit the mark? Try to make sure the recognition or reward matches the effort or result they put in to the task.
- Make sure any motivation for an individual does not undermine team motivation or harmony. Generally it is best to motivate employees both as individuals and as a team. If the team did a job well then be sure to recognise the entire team. If an individual had a stand-out performance then recognise that.
- Getting the basics right is important. If you don't provide fair wages and safe working and living conditions then nothing you do or provide will be motivating.
- Look for opportunities to motivate your employees every week. Being genuinely thanked for a job well done is motivating for many people and this can happen every day!
- Schedule in bigger rewards like bonuses, salary increases or promotions.
Quick Questions & Answers
How do I motivate my employees?
If you want to create a culture where everyone does a great job and is enthusiastic and committed to the farm, then you need to identify other ways to motivate staff and build this in to your planning and budgeting.
Saying thank you and giving quality feedback to employees is the first step in motivating employees.
Recognise and reward good performance regularly. Rewards do not need to be complicated; however they should be appropriate to the situation. For short term and intermediate goals, rewards might include praise and thanks, providing a few beers after work, movie tickets, even an unexpected half-day off every now and then. For long term goals, rewards might include bonuses, training opportunities, stock, extra annual leave and so on.
Conduct "stay interviews" with each staff member to find out what’s important to them, their personal and career goals for the future and how the business can support them to achieve their goals. Different people are motivated by different things. Common motivators include training and career development, autonomy, remuneration, work-life balance, interesting work and friendships with workmates. While most people come to work for the money, money alone is rarely a powerful motivator.
During the performance management process, set goals for the coming year including any personal development goals the employee may have. Then link these goals back to the employee’s motivators. Research shows that most people need to see the benefits for themselves in order to be truly committed to a goal. The benefits can be tangible (pay increase, bonus, paid time off) or intangible (social interaction, recognition, personal sense of accomplishment, feeling what they are doing is meaningful). An astute manager recognises this and helps the employee to see the connection between the farm goals, their individual contribution and the potential benefits for the employee.
Try working through the questionnaire to identify what’s important to employees so you can understand your people better.
Review the rewards and benefits you currently offer to ensure there’s a good variety and they are tailored to your particular employees. Don’t just rely on pay rises and bonuses, these are only one type of reward. Other types of rewards to consider are: stock, letters of appreciation on employee’s file, job rotation to achieve more variety, career progression, support for tertiary study (fees/paid time off), social activities, movie tickets, shouting dinner for the employee and their partner, paid time off and so on.
Work on creating a coaching culture throughout the farm. There are a number of courses and books on coaching. Coaching involves asking the employee questions to help them solve the problem and find their own answer. Coaching helps grow employees’ skills, confidence and gives a sense of accomplishment, and is one of the most effective ways of motivating staff to reach their potential.
Find how to become an effective coach and/or mentor on your farm.