Got talented, but underperforming, employees? Here’s how to motivate them

All savvy business owners know that high performing employees are the backbone of a company. Here’s how to get the most out of your staff and see your business thrive.

According to executive coach and leadership expert Revel Gordon, if a business doesn’t invest in creating a culture which pursues excellence, it risks losing one of its most powerful assets: its employees.

So how can business leaders best create this environment?

Everyone loves to win, so set clear goals

Aiming high and setting clear, achievable goals is critical, says Gordon. And sometimes a scoreboard is all it takes.

“If everyone knows what the definition of success looks like, and if at any given moment they can see if they’re winning or losing, it can be incredibly motivating,” Gordon tells us.

Gordon also gave us an example: “I worked with a client whose account management team was spending too long on emails, and not enough time on the phone.”

To fix this, the client established new targets for each employee, and then put up a scoreboard which showed how many hours a week they had spent talking on the phone.

“They immediately started moving away from the keyboard and picking up the phone. The business results were equally impressive, with growth in client retention and client spend – exactly what was hoped for,” says Gordon.

Are the right people in the right seats on the bus?

It’s one thing to have a great staff member, but as Gordon points out, having the right person in the wrong position can still lead to poor performance.

“Play to their strengths. The more you can get that aligned, the more motivated and engaged people are going to be,” Gordon says.

This alignment isn’t just about work. Sometimes, the right fit means a position that enables the employee to take on other responsibilities around their work.

“If you have one or two people in your company that are unengaged, the issue may well be something outside the workplace. If you understand what that is, you can start to make some changes and find ways to help them,” Gordon adds.

Finally, call out to positive behaviours

According to the Harvard Business Review, one of the best ways to help employees thrive is to give them positive feedback.

As staff respond better to a carrot than a stick, managers should focus on providing specific, positive feedback to reinforce good behaviour.

“If you feel someone isn’t firing on all cylinders, and then you see them do something really good, call it out in the moment. And be specific,” says Gordon.

“It’s not “Bob, great job”; its “Bob, I saw how you handled that phone call with that client and I thought the way you gave some suggestions to help them to improve their business was brilliant.”

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