Motivating Your Team by Creating A Culture of Ownership

September 30, 2020 Lydia Adams

motivating your team

Everyone wants an engaged team ready to work hard every day, but motivating your team is tough. Finding the incentives, rewards and development initiatives that resonate with employees is a tall order. Then, even if you've set up a killer program with top-notch perks and ongoing recognition,  all your efforts can fail if they lack authenticity. Good intentions and a thorough roll-out can only take you so far: your motivational efforts have to be an authentic representation of your company's culture

The key to start motivating your team is to focus on a promise kept vs. a promise made and to make revisiting your results in a dynamic and ongoing process that every member of the team participates in. A give and take respect relationship with employees helps to build a trustworthy culture, and empowering employees to be part of the big picture and make a real difference in the organization drives engagement and keeps teams invested.

Read More: Here's Why We Invest So Heavily In The People We Hire — And You Should Too

Creating a culture of ownership requires that everything, from training and benefits to awards and motivation, is done authentically. Employees can easily tell the difference between a corporate initiative and an engrained employee-first culture. For example:

Training Can Do More Than Simply Teach Employees New Skills - Motivating Your Team

Ongoing professional development for your team is the definition of a "win-win": you get employees that have up-to-date skills or are tuned into new technologies and techniques. Your team benefits from role clarity, the confidence to innovate or maybe even specific certifications they need to seek out a promotion or advance upward through the organization.

Yet, so many employers miss the mark on this one. Why?

How to motivate your team

Sometimes they fear that providing training opportunities will result in employees getting so confident that they'll bring the skills they paid for to a competitor, so they're hesitant to offer industry-standard training and create programs that can't be applied outside of the company. 

 More commonly, they create training programs that simply don't center their employee's experience. It's easy to say that this workshop or that intra-company skills assessment is in each individual's best interest, but without the authenticity of training that actually does serve your team, they're going to see right through it. Worse, they'll likely view such training as an imposition -- they could be doing work if they didn't have to attend yet another dry PowerPoint full of information they probably already know.

You already know what your organization wants to get from any training initiatives you intend to implement. If you want those initiatives to do dual-duty by serving as a motivational tool, start by asking the question: "What will my team get from this?" 

Will they get training in software and tools that are industry-standard or certifications they may not otherwise be able to afford? Will they be able to choose the trainings they participate in? Might they seek this kind of professional development out on their own if they had the time to do so? In short: is it clear what the benefit of that training will be for them

Read More: People + Technology: Why Humans Still Matter In The Age Of Automation

You can't feign investment in your employees' professional development, and if you try, they'll know right away and respond in kind, until everyone is just going through the motions. Get your team's input on what training they need or need and work to implement that. Solicit feedback on how it's going, and crucially, don't make it impossible for employees to complete training and their work.

Benefits and Perks Don’t Just Incentivize Employee Retainment

They also offer an opportunity to authentically share culturally important values. You likely already have a standard benefits package. What does it look like? Odds are it includes a few staples: medical and dental benefits, for instance. A little vacation time, maybe, or a 401(k) match. These are fantastic benefits to have, but what do they say about the culture of the company offering them?

Let's face it: standard benefits are considered standard for a reason. They're the mark of a good job but won't differentiate it from other good jobs and certainly won't cause a job to stand apart as an exceptional one. The benefits and perks you offer provide a perfect opportunity to showcase what your culture is all about. 

For example, if your company's culture touts a dedication to wellness, it would make sense to have top-tier health insurance package, but you might also round that out with unlimited PTO and a quarterly stipend for things like gym memberships or company wellness outings. 

If your company culture includes a dedication to reaping all of the benefits of a diverse workforce, your package can reflect that: time off for new parents, or onsite childcare, for instance. A commitment to the environment might include reimbursement for employees who choose to take public transportation or even providing transportation to employees via shuttle or rideshare. 

Here at Personiv, we have a commitment to giving back to the communities we work and live in, so our benefits and perks reflect that. For instance, our annual "Trek For A Cause" gives team members a chance to be a part of our partnership with our charitable partner, Miracle Foundation, by participating in a company-sponsored multi-day hike through the Himalayas. It's a meaningful way to connect our culture to our employees on an individual level, be a part of something bigger than ourselves and take a break from work and see the world. 

Your benefits and perks present a unique opportunity to put your money where your mouth is, and there's nothing more authentic than that. Corporate values can feel like a noisy recitation to employees who have ever worked for more than one company. Using yours as a foundation to build your benefits package off of will ensure your voice can be heard loud and clear. 

Motivational Awards Are More Than a Means to Formalize a Reward System

They can energize an entire team to boost productivity and spend time focused on achievement.

team members celebrating teammate

Leadership has to reinforce a company culture that gives each team member a satisfying role in the big picture. They must be allowed to act like an owner no matter their position and be allowed to contribute ideas, creating a consultative approach vs. a top-down directive.

There is no one that doesn't appreciate being recognized for the hard work they do. Positive reinforcement is an obvious and immediate way to make sure that your employees know that going above and beyond — as opposed to simply punching the clock — doesn't go unnoticed. Superior performance isn't really it's own reward, except to a very specific kind of person. Actual recognition, tangible incentives and, well, rewards, are much more effective. 

[PODCAST]: The Benefits Of Employee Engagement

You can take it a step further by creating a clear path to certain awards and incentives. Why make it random, or obscure the process by which team members can access those same rewards? It's yet another opportunity to be authentic. Most employees already know that the company they work for "values" quality output. How many know precisely what garners recognition and what that recognition will be?

Motivating your team can be tough, but with these tips, you'll be on your way to having a highly engaging environment for every team member to perform well.

Looking for more ideas on how to engage your team? Download our eBook, Investing in Your People: Gain Workplace Efficiency by Focusing on the Needs of Your Team.

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