Microsoft’s 4 secrets to employee motivation
1: Promoting “good stress”
Stress doesn’t always need a negative connotation. Think about it – if we were never stressed about anything… we’d never get anything done. But it’s all about leverage the right stress to maximize the quality of work out of your employees. It’s important that balance is struck, though, because while good stress can scientifically boost creativity – bad stress can reduce both creativity and engagement.
Here are some ways employers can find that middle ground.
- Dole out sizeable, yet challenging workloads
- Give employees a variety of responsibility (helps with engagement levels and nixing monotony)
- Make sure each role/person has a clean job description at the start of every project
- Make sure your teams have the tools to share information in real-time
2: Bridge the introvert-extrovert gap
You’re bound to have a spectrum of these personality types in any workplace. They both respond differently, proactively act differently and think differently. And what sparks their workflow differs greatly, too – right on down to aesthetics.
So how do you uniformly address everyone from side to the other?
- Introverts like their own space. While it’s not realistic to cater to every introvert with a private, corner office – you can provide them with digital autonomy they need to foster an environment that makes them comfortable
- If your introvert employees truly get overwhelmed in large in-person meetings – perhaps some of them can attend via video or phone conference. According to psychologists, that barrier does just enough to make them feel comfortable, while still getting the most out of them on the creative end.
- On the other side, extroverts love the buzz. They feed off crowds and high energy – so let them fly. Give them the digital tools to collaborate in real time, and let them work places other than their desks.
3: Adjusting feedback
Feedback is imperative for growth. But the templated annual-review format is stale, and doesn’t foster true improvement. Increasing the frequency in which employers offer feedback is huge, whether it’s positive or critical.
And not every piece of feedback has to be face-to-face or extremely formal. Today’s more lax social media area allows for a synonymous way of offering critique. With so many chat platforms available within Microsoft, if a piece of feedback does not need to be done face-to-face, it’s easy to reach out with praise or criticism through an online platform. And any feedback – good or bad – lets employees know their employer takes a care and interest in them.
4: Let your employees’ minds roam
“The best things happen when you least expect them,” … or something like that. But it can really ring true in the workplace!
If it’s constantly go-go-go, the brain can’t enter the “default network,” which is defined as a wakeful processing that happens when the mind is engaged – yet not focused on a specific task. When the brain is in this state, complex cognitive activities are supported and a person can tap into imagining the future, strongly recalling memories, taking in information better and developing a stronger level of empathy.
So how can employers allow for this time? Building in unstructured time. Wait, oxymoron? Almost. It’s not a break. It’s not free time. It’s a time slot dedicated to getting your team together in a chill way to look at ways to solve certain problems, or create things.