As p&mm sponsored paralympian Gabi Down knows there are times in training when you arrive at a point at which it is no longer fun. This is called ‘The Grind’, and it’s when the training starts to become tiring, painful and tedious.
‘The Grind’ is the point at which it really counts. Getting through ‘The Grind’ is what separates successful athletes from those who don’t achieve their goals. Many athletes when they reach this point either ease up or give up because it’s just too darned hard. But truly motivated athletes, like Gabi, reach ‘The Grind’ and keep on going, relying on their motivation to get them through this temporary blip.
Gabi is motivated to keep going through ‘The Grind’ because she loves her sport, but what about your employees?
The Business Grind
There will be times in your business, particularly when economic conditions are tough, when your employees experience the ‘The Grind’ of coming into work and getting the job done. It’s at this point that business leaders and managers have to be particularly aware of the motivation levels of their employees, because when staff motivation levels fall then so can productivity and business profits, that’s without considering the impact of the workplace atmosphere.
Motivation, simply defined, is the ability to initiate and persist at a task. To perform your best, you must be willing to maintain your efforts until you have achieved your goals. So when times are tough and your company starts to experience ‘The Grind’ how can you raise motivation levels?
Overcoming The Business Grind
There are lessons from sports motivation that apply equally to businesses that can ease the journey through ‘The Grind’.
- Focus on long term goals
Focus not just on your business goals, but also those of your employees. What are their goals? Is it career development, learning new skills or getting a pay rise? Use your in-house communication channels such as noticeboards, intranets, meetings and emails to remind everyone what, as a business, you are trying to accomplish and why you are trying to achieve it.
- Set short-term goals
There are few things more rewarding and motivating than achieving a goal. Seeing hard work pay off, leading to results and rewards will motivate your employees to try harder and do better. You should work with each of your employees to establish clear individual short-term goals that are achievable.
- Motivational cues
One way companies can motivate their employees through ‘The Grind’ is by incentivising their employees. This can be done in a number of different ways but the important thing is to put reward and recognition schemes at the very top of your list.
Reward and Recognition Schemes
Reward and recognition schemes can de-motivate as well as motivate your employees, if they are not carefully considered, so it’s important to get your scheme right. Spend some time researching the rewards that will motivate your staff. Each staff member may be motivated by something different so a flexible scheme that has a range of rewards will be the best option. It is often beneficial to have rewards that are merchandise, vouchers or experience days rather than cash which can get ‘lost’ in the monthly salary.
Don’t just recognise your top performers. Consider a peer-run scheme where your employees can nominate a colleague for outstanding work. All examples of outstanding work should be publicly recognised as close to the event as possible, so don’t wait until a quarterly meeting to show your appreciation. It means more if it’s awarded in a timely manner.
It’s important to remember that maintaining high motivation levels is not something that can be achieved with a one off spot prize, your employees must be fully engaged in the business. Goal setting and an employee reward and recognition scheme are a great ways to achieve this but it must be led from the top down, by managers and the business leaders.
Gabi is currently ranked as the No 1 female in the UK and she has already represented Great Britain at last summers’ Paralympic games in London. She now has her sights set firmly on achieving great things in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. Tell me more >>
John is responsible for the motivation division of p&mm ltd and a Director on the board of the IPM. Specialising in developing, implementing and directing many large scale staff motivation, recognition and employee communications programmes.
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