Any manager should know that a motivated team makes for a productive team. Happy and energised staff will deliver results and ultimately impact your bottom line. But what does keep staff happy and motivated?
At Geckoboard, we recently conducted research that revealed an open data policy at work was a key driver. 60 per cent of employees said they’re more productive when they know more and almost half agreed that more information “motivates me to perform better”.
It may not sound as exciting as inspirational pep talks or the latest office perks, but a transparent information policy is proven to keep staff satisfied. A recent Harvard Business Review Analytics study states that more open communication will be essential to businesses success in the next few years, not least because it gets employees engaged in meeting (or exceeding) their companies’ goals.
However despite the evidence that sharing information works, most companies are falling short. Our research found that four in five employees wanted their bosses to share more information with them.
So, how can bosses prevent uncertainty building? Here are four simple steps so you can begin implementing today to turn your company data into an employee motivator:
1. Know and share the bigger story
Do you know why your company exists? If you don’t, then it’s going to be hard for your team to know…
This isn’t just about sharing product information. It’s about identifying the bigger issue that you are trying to solve. The story you tell should be “why” you exist as a company, not necessarily just what you do and how you do it. For a good example of this, watch Simon Sinek’s popular TED talk.
Once you have your story. Tell it often. Your staff should know it off the top of their head. When we forget why we do what we do, it’s easy to lose focus and motivation.
2. Identify business critical data
While motivation begins with a story, it needs to be sustained with data.
First identify the specific, relevant key performance indicators (KPIs) that you as a company need to be tracking to make sure your ‘why’ becomes a reality. Doing this will make sure your overall goal is actionable.
Start by defining the one metric that really matters eg sales, revenue, growth. And then identify your supporting metrics, eg leads – both found and lost, that will allow you to track your progress towards your main goal.
Combining these two components – your story and the right KPIs – serves to create a powerful motivator guaranteed to educate and inspire your team, ultimately generating more revenue.
3. Communicate your KPIs
This is a very important step. The fastest way to demotivate your team is to hold them to goals they are unaware of. Make sure you are very clear about the key data you are tracking and what success equates to. Communicating this clearly and giving the whole team the ability to monitor these KPIs in real time will increase both the motivation and efficiency of your team. Getting info into the hands of team members will allow them to take control of work and make decisions without bureaucracy or present solutions which will be better than ill-informed solutions put together without any quantitative context.
Getting everyone aligned with the right KPIs may take some effort at first and you may need to adjust goals as you try out new methods of measuring, but the key is to be transparent. An open door policy when it comes to performance is always preferable to keeping employees in the dark. In fact, more than nine in ten (93 per cent) employees recently confessed they would rather hear bad company news than be not told at all.
4. Celebrate wins
A seemingly obvious, yet easily forgotten step. Whether it is a little moment or a big win, take the time to acknowledge your team’s contribution. Creating camaraderie through a positive, supportive atmosphere will go a long way to your team buying into the work they are doing and the way it is being achieved.