Motivating Employees in a Flat Organization

What can organizations with limited opportunities for advancement between entry-level and higher-level jobs do to keep employees engaged in their work? Be transparent, find out what motivates them, include them in goal-setting, and consider ways to offer a good work-life balance. If you do, you’ll be miles ahead of many other leaders. But how exactly is this accomplished? Below are seven achievable steps for motivating employees when promotions or pay raises are not an option.

Be Transparent From the Start

Craft detailed, accurate job descriptions and direct an open discussion regarding career opportunities during the interview process. Ask questions designed to determine a candidate’s career goals. Will their goals realistically be attainable in your company? Setting real expectations today, even if it means potentially losing a candidate’s interest, will likely save you from costly turnover tomorrow. These initial steps can translate into more accurate hires for the position and a better fit for your company overall.

Generate Opportunities for Development

According to a recent Gallup poll, 87% of Millennials rate developmental opportunities as highly important to them in a job. These types of opportunities can be work-based internal training programs, mentoring programs, or participation in outside professional organizations. Depending on the position, you might also consider offering travel to educational conferences a reward for good performance.

Personalize Your Motivational Approach

Employees are individually motivated. These motivators may include money, camaraderie, or personal goal-driven incentives. It is up to the manager to find out what motivates the individual and use that information to encourage and engage that individual properly. A great way to get to know your employees better is to schedule weekly or bi-weekly one-on-one time with them. These meetings are an exceptional opportunity to discuss goals, successes, and to promote mentoring.

Set Smaller Weekly Goals

Companies often have broad yearly goals. However, it is important for an employee to know how they can contribute in smaller, measurable ways. Look for ways to break down large goals into smaller, more attainable objectives in order to help motivate your employees. Reaching small milestones not only adds to employee satisfaction, but it also provides opportunities for management to give praise and provide positive encouragement. Consider giving your employee input in goal-setting. Getting employee buy-in is a great way to both empower and to hold accountable. Sit down with your employee to discuss what needs to be accomplished within a certain timeframe. Listen to their ideas and feedback, and then set milestones.

Take Time to Recognize Employees

It’s probably one of the easiest ways to engage and motivate employees, yet it is so often overlooked. Recognizing your employees for their hard work can be done on a personal level, at company meetings, or even in a newsletter or social media feed. This may look like a material award or a few kind words said on their behalf. It could even be as simple as sending an email with no other agenda than to say “good job.”

Let Them Lead

If you want your employees to lead, you need to create a company culture where leaders encourage other employees to also lead. Allow your employees the chance to make decisions that are low-risk if they fail. Smaller risks help your workers grow in their on-the-job decision-making skills. You’ll also give them satisfaction in knowing you trust them to do the right thing. Remember to encourage them past their comfort zones, trust them to make their best decision, and let go of your need for constant control.

Offer Work-Life Balance

38% of candidates listed Work-Life Balance as the most attractive component of a potential place of work in a recent Recruiter Sentiment Study by MRI Network This outranked Advancement Opportunities as most important. Creating a work-life balance for your employees could come in the form of a flexible schedule or offering work-from home days. Maybe your company can offer flexible schedules during the summer when the weather is nice. 


Build a Motivated Workforce with Qualified Staffing

Not every company is structured for upward mobility. However, that doesn’t mean you don’t have the ability to engage your employees in different ways. Partnering with a staffing agency, like Qualified Staffing, can help you build a motivated workforce by utilizing our robust employee benefits program. Contact us today to learn more. 

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