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Talent Management

5 Ways to Motivate the Team

Sports movies are littered with clichéd motivational speeches of coaches in the locker room, spurring their teams to overcome insurmountable odds and take home the title, whether it’s uttering, “Win just one for the Gipper” or “Make sure they remember the night they played the Titans.” These speeches are second nature in sports, but within the company walls, motivating the team can be a challenge.

While you can tailor the inspiring of individuals to their unique personality types for the most effectiveness, that luxury is not available when needing to motivate your company collectively. This is because businesses are typically comprised of a multitude of individuals with different responsibilities who respond to motivation in different ways. Therefore, when seeking to motivate an organization as a whole, a different approach must be taken.

When done so appropriately, the effect of a highly-motivated team can score big in terms of proficiency and profitability. As NBA Hall of Fame player and coach Pat Riley says, “Great teamwork is the only way we create the breakthroughs that define our careers.” Therefore, to inspire across a wide spectrum, incorporate the following game plan to push your team ahead to new heights.

5 Tips for Motivating the Team

Listen
As a sales goal, you may offer an all-expense-paid vacation to Guam or a brand new motorcycle. They might be prizes you would like, but what about the rest of the company? If someone has a fear of flying or hurtling down the road on less than four wheels, then it’s not likely that individual will be over-inspired to press on towards the goal. Poll your team to find out what types of incentives are of interest to them. Additionally, it shows employees you care about what they care about, and makes them feel part of the process in building a plan for success. 

Think Nobly
Everyone wants to be part of something that benefits more than a bottom line. Noble causes are not written into most everyday job descriptions, but it’s not difficult to apply a philanthropic perspective to what employees do. If your product or service is related to the environment or education, play up those facets. Salesmen can be consistently reminded of how what they sell benefits the lives of consumers, and recruiters should keep in mind how each job they fill enables those individuals to put food on the table and betters the economy. Even those who feel their jobs have limited responsibility but have contact with the general public should be made aware how even the smallest of comments can make a difference in someone’s day. 

Build Mo for Mo
Generating momentum can help build motivation within your team. Set a long term goal for the organization and start small, but then escalate the motivation method as the finish line for that challenge approaches. If your sales team goal is to generate X amount of new orders, initiate a spiff for the force that includes a small bonus or prize that increases with each sale. For a product launch, kick off with an occasion unveiling the vision, establish events for essential earmarks as the process surges forward and then culminate with something monumental, each step intensifying as efforts to complete it coincide. Employees will become caught up in the excitement as small sparks start igniting things on fire, burning up any apathy.

Stir Up Competition
Nothing helps to stir things up in a positive and profitable fashion more than a little competition. As Microsoft founder Bill Gates once said, “Competition is always a fantastic thing… it keeps us on our toes.” It can motivate both the go-getter and passive employee when the right buttons are pushed, but you must avoid pitting your employees against one another in a negative context. Instead, create a friendly contest that can be fun, boost morale and serve as a boon to the company such as new ideas for generating business; creating a new slogan, TV commercial or print ad; or the standard highest number of sales each month. Prodding the ego internally can lend itself to your organization faring better than its external competition in the long run.

Celebrate
In working to motivate the troops towards success, do not forget to recognize the effort once you get there. It is easy to overlook accomplishments and move on to the next challenge, but honoring the endeavors made by your team through a group outing, a catered meal or an in-house party is a great way to not only motivate them for future challenges, but show your appreciation for the response to the motivation techniques you used to help get them there in the first place.

While this list might spark some new ideas, we’re also interested in what works best at your company. Leave a comment and add to the list. Afterall, everyone benefits from a happy, productive and inspired workforce.

Stephanie Gaspary

About Stephanie Gaspary

Stephanie is the managing director of content strategy at CareerBuilder, tasked with creating opportunities to share the CareerBuilder story across job seeker and employer channels. Stephanie, a lifelong learner, holds a Master's in Business Administration and a Master's in Management - both from North Park University and a Bachelor's degree in Art from Bethel University. A Minnesotan at heart, Stephanie has lived in Chicago for nearly 20 years, is the doting mother to two wacky german shorthaired pointer pups, looks forward to her morning run *almost* as much as that first cup of coffee and vows to one day live in the mountains.
4 comments
Healthcare Recruiter
Healthcare Recruiter

My boss likes to create competition amongst the high performers and let the low performer skate by without consequence. If I were a low performer, then I guess competition would be okay as nothing phases this person anyhow. Recruiting has been difficult since this other person does not have computer skills, agrees with everything the manager says, and constantly whines about what we do or do not say. Guess for motivating a team, the manager is motivating the high peformers to find a different place of employment where we will be appreciated.

Healthcare Recruiter
Healthcare Recruiter

My boss likes to create competition amongst the high performers and let the low performer skate by without consequence. If I were a low performer, then I guess competition would be okay as nothing phases this person anyhow. Recruiting has been difficult since this other person does not have computer skills, agrees with everything the manager says, and constantly whines about what we do or do not say. Guess for motivating a team, the manager is motivating the high peformers to find a different place of employment where we will be appreciated.

Jon
Jon

I don't agree with: Stir Up Competition.

Competitition is great between different companies - it is the basis of an efficient economy, but these companies never work together as teams. By stirring up competition between people in the same organisation you just create conflict, backstabbing and resentment. None of which foster a good working environment. Instead set team goals and let your people figure out how to achecive them.

Jon
Jon

I don't agree with: Stir Up Competition.

Competitition is great between different companies - it is the basis of an efficient economy, but these companies never work together as teams. By stirring up competition between people in the same organisation you just create conflict, backstabbing and resentment. None of which foster a good working environment. Instead set team goals and let your people figure out how to achecive them.

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