Motivating your staff to work harder, in the way you want, is important in your firm. Money is often said to be the way to do this, does it really motivate?Motivating your staff: Does a large bonus do it?

It’s very easy to listen to members of your team say all they want is more money. The bonus is often said to be the best way to do this. Is it really? Did you hear about Matthew Marshall Taylor who acted to boost his reputation and pay packet (more about him later).

This article has four ideas to help with motivating your staff, that doesn’t mean paying more.

Motivating your staff to work harder. How can I motivate my staff?

That’s a great question and there are as many answers as there are readers to this article. Here’s four ideas to get you started on motivating your staff. After talking to the owners of many firm’s these came out top, as effective ways of motivating your staff.

  1. Rewards. People choose how hard they want to work! Any reward you offer will be subjected at least subconsciously to three tests, you need to pass them if motivating your staff by reward is going to work. These expectancy theory tests are “will working harder lead to a better result”, “will you give the reward” and “do I want the reward”.  This certainly suggests that money won’t simply do it of it’s own accord!
  2. Clarity. Are they clear on what you want – both for the firm and for them? Clear goals and objectives work well
  3. Feedback. Do you give them good feedback on what they do – both bad and the good things? Read 7-tips-to-give-better-staff-feedback
  4. Consistency. Are you consistent in the way you treat the team? Did you read potholes-damage-your-car-and-your-team? It builds on the theme of being consistent with the way you treat them, so that they know where they stand.

Take this further, download our guide to getting more from your team, it's free and waiting for you to download right nowClick here for instant access (email address required).

What would you add to this list? I’d love to read it in the comments.

What is the problem with a big bonus?

If you know the results you want from an employee and you know the value of getting them to do it – pay them so you both gain. Well, that’s the theory.

In some cases it works well. A structured bonus system (of sensible proportions) offered to staff that achieved a balanced range of targets (not just one) motivates some people. The result “win win”, you increase your bottom line and share some of that with them, as they changed their behaviours to help you.

The problem: It can change behaviours in a positive way (for you), but also in unexpected ways. If your team see a way of doing something which you didn’t expect or were unprepared for – it might not have the impact on the bottom line you expected. A bit like Matthew Marshall Taylor.

What did Matthew Marshall Taylor do?

Former Goldman Sachs trader Matthew Marshall Taylor pleads guilty to defrauding the bank with an $8.3bn (£5.5bn) unauthorised futures trade in 2007. According to the BBC his salary was $150,000 and he expected a $1.6m bonus for the actions he knowingly took to boost his pay packet.

OK, in a small professional firm you’re not going to give that much away, but we can learn from this. What do you think about motivation through the pay-packet – good, bad or indifferent?

Download our guide to getting more from your team, it's free and waiting for you to download right nowClick here for instant access (email address required).

What do you think about motivating your staff? Do you give a bonus for staff in your firm? 

Written by Jon Baker The 5-50 Coach. I help professionals grow their firms from 5 to 50 employees, sustainably, profitably and still have fun. Have you got your "next step kitbag yet"? It's stuffed with guides, reports & templates helping you grow from 5 to 50 employees Click here for immediate access