4 Out-of-the-Box Ways to Motivate Your Staff

Methods for fueling your employees’ professional fire

From setting three separate alarms for that early morning workout to freeing your desktop of distractions at work, by this point in our adult lives, it’s pretty easy to pinpoint what motivates us––and what derails us. But when it comes to energizing other people on the job, the triggers aren’t always so clear. 

Whether we are working with culinary staff, a decorating committee or brand-new interns, part of our job as event planners is to motivate and lead different teams. While pre-planning pep talks and general professional encouragement can be successful, it may take a slightly deeper understanding of your workforce to truly inspire hard work––and get results. 

With guidance from a recent Harvard Business Review article, here are four outside-the-box motivational methods to get the most out of your staff. 

1. Set specific goals 

Although it’s a well-known fact that goals improve motivation, no two types of goals are equal. As the HBR article suggests, more ambitious, data-driven goals work well for jobs that are transactional (e.g., someone in a finance role). Alternatively, those on more creative teams are better pushed to excel by simply being asked to do their best.  

2. Get to know your staff 

When it comes to rewards and motivational tactics, not all members of your staff will value the same thing. While one may have a newborn baby at home (and wants to do as much as possible during the day with no distractions), another may be willing to contribute extra hours to get your attention. Regardless, get to know who your employees truly are. And like all relationships, this type of understanding takes time. 

3. Don’t just throw money, promotions or parties their way

While money is a motivating force for almost all of us (heck, that mortgage won’t pay itself), it’s certainly not the only one. And while holiday parties, pre-meeting pep talks and catered lunches are nice finishing touches to a rewarding job, they only skim the surface of what motivates staff members. 

As the HBR article explains, individuals need to feel that their position holds a higher purpose and that their day-to-day activities are meaningful. This can be achieved by ensuring that all employees accurately understand how their positions ladder up to a higher goal, and how they can be a more active part of that journey.  

4. Be transparent

Wanting to appease others, even subordinates, is a natural human yearning. But while it’s likely to make you buds, it won’t do much in the way of motivating your staff. 

When giving feedback, don’t be afraid to be transparent. If an employee is doing a good job, stress that. But if he or she isn’t, then don’t. As HBR says, there are substantial benefits to identifying someone’s flaws and performance gaps. 

Think about the last time someone critiqued your performance, whether at work or elsewhere. We’ll bet you’re about 100 times better at that task nowadays.