Going The Extra Mile: 3 Ways to Motivate Your Team To Achieve More

Helping coworkers go the extra mile

How do you make the extra mile just another part of every day’s journey? How do you make 110% the new 100%? How do you motivate your employees to give their best effort every day, not just in emergencies?

As the Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread globally, so do the feelings of anxiety and uncertainty. Our partner, Arcade, walks through how to motivate your team during these turbulent times as well as how to ensure that motivation sticks in the long term.

Here’s a look at three top strategies.

Peer recognition

In a recent study, Tinypulse asked employees what would motivate them to go that “extra mile.” The top three responses were:

  • Camaraderie and peer motivation (20%)
  • Intrinsic desire to do a good job (17%)
  • Feeling encouraged and recognized (13%)

Conveniently, these three answers are all linked, and improvements in all three can be fostered. You can pump up these qualities in your workplace. We’ve written at length about the impact of peer recognition programs versus that of traditional manager-to-employee recognition programs.

Creating a workplace habit of peer-to-peer high-fiving will obviously boost camaraderie, encouragement, and recognition. It’s even cyclical. Tinypulse found that “When offered the opportunity, 44% of all employees will organically give each other recognition on a consistent basis.” That opportunity could include a software solution or a simple cultural change.

People want to work hard for the sake of those around them. When you encourage that camaraderie with a peer recognition program, your team will feel that intrinsic desire to do a good job.

Intentionally create culture

In their study, Tinypulse found that companies with stronger cultures are “standout financial performers on the market.” Yet nearly two thirds of employees surveyed reported working at an organization without a culture. Statistically, add culture and you’ll add to the bottom line.

But company culture is a hard thing to nail down. It goes beyond what you do. It’s more about how you do it. Or more importantly, how you do your work together. Company culture always comes back to how you treat each other and your customers.

You get to determine your own company culture. There’s no single set of standards. But here are some example tenets:

  • Respect — Employees want to be valued as people, not seen as cogs in a machine.
  • Trust — While researching a recent article on turnover, we discovered that a major factor in employees leaving was a lack of trust and autonomy.
  • Focus on strengths, not weaknesses — In a recent article for Forbes, Stephen Kalaluhi of the StephenK Group offered this insight: “Instead of placing attention on what’s wrong, focus on what’s right. What’s celebrated in a company will flourish. This simple shift in mindset is what allows companies to build great cultures.”

Culture isn’t just some nice ideas, either. It must be woven into every process. It must be applied and lived out. In the same Forbes article, LaKisha Greenwade of Lucki Fit LLC said, “It's easy to identify a culture you would like to have, but it's another thing to practice and implement it daily. Cultures that thrive have leadership support, champions throughout the organization, and people who believe in what is trying to be accomplished. Without the buy-in from those levels, it will flop.”

This includes hiring. Again, from the Tinypulse piece: “Organizations must start intentionally finding high performing and high culture-fit employees. Further, organizations must be ruthless when it comes to rejecting individuals who aren’t a great fit. Even if they come across as a high performer, [they] can wreak havoc on the positive, collaborative culture you need to create.”

Train managers well

Speaking of your team, a note about managers. Of all the employees Tinypulse interviewed, only half were “highly satisfied” with their managers. There’s room for improvement in that stat. Especially since bad experiences with managers are often cited as reasons for good employees to leave a company. Flip that coin over and imagine what a difference a great manager could make in motivating that extra mile.

Tinypulse reported a lack of satisfaction in several managerial areas, offering a good indication of how to improve. Make sure your managers are trained to offer:

  • Communication: This includes expectations, plans, and strategies
  • Interaction: Not just a quick squad meeting, but regular check-ins, an open door, and quick response time.
  • Knowledge: Managers are the first resort when employees need to know how to do something. (Well, maybe the second, after Google.) If your managers aren’t up to speed, your employees will feel undervalued.
  • Mentoring: 66% of employees see a lack of opportunities for professional growth, including mentorship (Tinypulse). This is a great opportunity for your managers to build trust with employees, even on an informal program.

Bonus: Make it fun

According to the1thing.com, employees who experience fun on a regular basis are happier, more satisfied, and empirically better at their jobs. A Kansas State University study even cites a direct correlation between fun and motivation.

At Arcade, we use technology to bring fun to the workplace like never before. Our gamification process turns each work day into a fun stage in a game to earn real incentives. Gamification is a bold, new card to play in your strategy to bring fun to your office. Check it out and you’ll see that extra mile roll on by, day after day. Learn more about what we do.

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Mathematically, 110% doesn’t exist. But you know your employees have more to offer. It’s up to you to find ways to motivate that effort until the extra mile becomes a habit, and you can reach for the next mile onward.

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