Keeping employees motivated is a major key to the success of any company, and it starts from the top. Whether it be having the right employee in the right position, making yourself accessible to staff, bringing in a lunch truck, or performance incentives, these measures go far, and impact your bottom line.
“You simply can't do it from a corner office,” said Patrick Quinlan, CEO of business ethics software company Convercent. “Some people dismiss ‘open offices’ as a trend or a startup gimmick, but at Convercent, it makes a massive difference that I, along with every other executive, sit in the same space as everyone else. Why? Because it makes it so much easier to be a daily example of the culture you want to build and motivate employees to follow suit.”
His advice for CEOs who are aiming to instill a strong company culture and motivation in their workplace is “work with your employees—not in a corner office—and keep your eyes and ears open. Look for the moments where you can truly ‘walk the walk.’”
“It is key to share your plans with the full team and share it throughout the offices and communicate that the company is going places,” said Gerrit Brouwer, CEO of Appical. “This brings up a great deal of energy and as the CEO you have the unique position to embrace the values and demonstrate the right example.”
CEOs “have to listen to what employees have to say, by being around in the offices frequently and taking a pulse check periodically,” Brouwer said.
And make sure they are a fit with the company culture, so they are more attuned to how the company motivates its staff. “I am a strong believer to assess the cultural fit before any other classification of a potential new colleague,” Brouwer said. “With the right mindset and passion the rest follows naturally.”
Jason Berkowitz, chief operating officer for The Madera Group, feels CEOs should:
- Always lead with enthusiasm and passion. These are the most contagious ways to inspire motivation.
- Communicate the purpose and story of the brand and how it affects the community.
- Have a personalized and organized training program. Set the right expectations and give employees the proper tools with which to excel. Training is an ongoing sport, and the way in which we communicate our expectations will help to define the company culture.
- Respect the way the company fits into their lives, whether it be through their scheduling or other areas of importance.
- Celebrate successes and remember that we are all human. Empathy goes a long way.
"CEOs should focus on results rather than hours worked and from where, and therefore offer flexible hours and work location as a motivation method,” said David Lloyd, CEO of The Intern Group. “We also employ a bottom-up approach rather than top down. The values come from your employees, so the company culture is in their hands."
Make sure people are in the right position by asking employees what they enjoy about their job and what they enjoy doing, said Arvind Raichur, CEO of MrOwl. “Make sure everyone is encouraged to voice their opinion.”
Connect with employees, Raichur said: “By fostering an inclusive culture, it helps employees to be open in sharing what is going on with life.”
Bob Venero, CEO of Future Tech, advises ensuring an inclusive environment, established from the top, where everyone is made to feel they are important to company success.
Flexibility makes a difference, Venero said: “Flexible work schedules and comp plan options enable employees to drive their own success. Also, multiple bonus incentives and options awards for meeting individual and team goals.”
Another motivator, Venero said, is supporting the hometown community. “Get involved with local schools and hospitals through funding, sponsorship, events and product donations.”
“CEOs can motivate their employees by offering activities that will add to a worker's overall happiness,” said Al Morales, founder of Yorkville Sports Association. “Getting people involved in an activity outside of the office, such as a sports or off-site activity, is a great way to boost employee morale.”
“Employees will appreciate an employer’s commitment and willingness to create that positive atmosphere,” Morales said. “In addition, the increased camaraderie from offering outside activities will flow into the workplace as people bond with each other more and begin to work better together."