Every manager has wrestled with the challenge of motivating his or her employees. What is it that drives employees to do their best work? After all, the company’s success depends on the employees’ output. The employees are the ones who have the power of representing your company to customers, they are responsible for giving your customers a great experience, for working efficiently and not cutting corners to get tasks completed on time. Any good manager understands the importance of employees being dependable, doing their job well, and having a good attitude. Yet the question still often lingers, what motivates them?

It’s seen time and time again, Sally strolls into work late as usual and then plops down at her desk, laughing to herself while reading text messages and ignoring the customers walking in. As a manager, you can tell she doesn’t enjoy her job and will only do the bare minimum required. You understand that you are ultimately losing money paying her for work that she either fails to do or does incorrectly. So you are faced with two options, to fire her and spend a lot of time searching and interviewing potential replacements and then training them, or to try to motivate her to do her job better. You call her into your office and inform her that her work is not up to standard and you know she is capable of doing much more. Sally begins to say that she feels that she is paid too little for what she does and no matter if she puts in long hours and extra work, it never seems to make a difference. As a manager, you decide to offer her a bonus. Happily, she leaves your office and gets to work. Her productivity increases and everything seems to be going great until some time goes by and you slowly find yourself in the exact same position. What went wrong?

Many managers believe that the most motivating factor for employees is money. In reality, higher salaries or bonuses may allow employees to do more things on their time off such as traveling or buying nice things, but it doesn’t change anything in the actual workplace. Monetary rewards doesn’t automatically equate to your employees enjoying their work more or having a desire to do their best. At the very minimum, they may bite the bullet and do their work while counting the minutes until they’re able to leave. To truly motivate employees, it must be from the inside out.

It is important to remember that employees have the same basic needs and desires as any person does. They want to feel important, to feel cared about, and to be a working component of a group that is valued and needed. What are ways that you can challenge your workers and provide avenues for growth within your company? Many workers start to plateau when they feel that they have no room to grow. If they do their job to the best of their abilities and the outcome is no different than the person who doesn’t put any effort in, often they will start questioning why they are putting forth the effort.

The most important motivator is recognition. When an employee does a great job, do you make a point to recognize his or her efforts? Simply taking time to praise the work of an employee can make a big difference in their motivation. At Point-of-Rental, we make sure to send out an email to the whole office congratulating an employee when a customer compliments their service. The CEO, Wayne Harris, also takes time to personally recognize every employee’s company anniversary with a handwritten note and a gift card to celebrate the occasion.

A great way to increase motivation is to strengthen your team. Think of fun, creative team-building events to get your group socializing and working together. Whether it’s just all grabbing lunch together every Friday or having a competitive game of paintball on a Saturday, strengthening the bonds in your team will result in a more pleasant environment for the workplace. Team unity gives your employees a sense of belonging, builds trust and loyalty, and makes the office more enjoyable! At our office, we have a community involvement committee that finds different ways for our team to outreach to the community through donations or volunteer work. We also have a social committee that plans different company events such as a bowling and pizza night or meatloaf competitions. It is a great way to build a company team and not just disconnected employees.

Changing a company’s work environment doesn’t happen overnight, but if you’d like to begin that change within your office, these are some great examples. Employees should know that they are cared about, belong to a team and most of all, know they are appreciated.

-Lauren Harris,

a Point-of-Rental employee who feels valued and enjoys being part of a great team!