What are the top strategies for motivating and retaining employees?

If your employees are motivated, they will be more inclined to be loyal and committed to your business. Here are some key strategies to motivate and retain your staff.

1. Make your business one of the great places to work
There are companies that people are proud to work at. Others want to work there. These organisations are considered prestigious for multiple reasons. They are pioneers in their relevant industries. They produce exciting products or services. Exceptional people lead them. They offer excellent remuneration packages. It is fun to work there.
If your company is a great place to work, you will not only attract the best talent, chances are your existing employees will be motivated and willing to stay for a long time. Be the place that you and your team look forward going to each day.
Begin by offering competitive salaries and attractive benefits. Be generous about holidays, sick and personal days. It might seem counterintuitive, but research has shown that this approach leads to greater productivity and motivation.

2. Recognise your employees
Recognise and reward productivity, skills and attitude. Research shows that receiving praise and feedback from managers is an effective motivator among employees. Money and benefits are not enough to achieve complete job satisfaction. People need to feel appreciated and proud of their work. They want to know that their work and contribution to the company matter. Recognition and incentive programmes help meet that need, but sometimes all it takes is acknowledgement from someone in the company whose judgment matters – like a manager or, better still, the owner.
People want more than a monthly pay cheque. They need to feel valued for their contribution to their company and its bottom line. Although big organisations can often offer larger salary packages than you, you should design and implement your own unique employee value proposition. And include tangible and non-tangible ‘fringe benefits’ such as free parking, flexi-hours, training opportunities or the occasional lunch from the business,” notes Kgomotso Ramoenyane, executive general manager of human resources at Business Partners Limited in South Africa.

3. Keep employees informed
Be a leader people can talk to without fear. Let your employees know how the company is doing and what impact their work has on results. When employees understand that they are actively participating in achieving the organisation’s goals, they feel mentally and emotionally connected to the company. Celebrate successes with your team. Tell them about failures and explain how you can all learn from them. Do not underestimate the role of open, two-way communication in motivating and retaining employees.
Pay employees well and on-time, but remember they are not machines. You need to get to know them as individuals without intruding in their personal lives. Include everyone in the team in decision-making and in the big picture you have for your company,” explains Samuel E Uwawah, an entrepreneur and business consultant in Lagos, Nigeria.

4. Help people achieve their career goals
To motive and retain people, you need to understand their individual career ambitions. That way you can challenge those who like being challenged and mentor those who require mentoring. Few people stay in dead-end jobs. Encourage individuals to build a career within your company. Give them all the necessary tools, technology and training to do this. Provide opportunities for advancement and promote from within where possible.

5. Assess job satisfaction
Be proactive in managing your employees’ job satisfaction. Undertake reviews, conduct surveys or meet formally with everyone individually at least annually. Ask each person what they enjoy most about their jobs and what they find frustrating. Take the time to find out if they have solutions or ideas to overcome their grievances. Find out what you can do to improve things for everyone before they begin thinking about finding work elsewhere.
My approach at Fashpa is to build a culture that is inclusive and transparent. I hire smart people and don’t take for granted that they need to renew their commitment to the company every day. I share my vision, goals and even mistakes with everyone within the organisation, and keep an open door policy. I find that once the team believes in the vision and know their role in making it a reality, they are not only motivated, but likely to stay the course too,” says Honey Ogundeyi, founder and chief executive officer of Nigerian fashion company Fashpa.