Due to one thing or another, teams can suffer from a lack of motivation.
With numerous deadlines, difficult clients, and unforeseen challenges, we can easily find motivation hard to come by.
So how do we keep our staff motivated, energised and raring to help the practice achieve its goals?
Well, one way is to offer incentives.
And often when we think of incentives, the easiest thing to think of is money.
Who doesn’t like having more money? Money is a necessity, it “makes the world go around” and our career as Accountants revolves around it.
But what happens when money is no longer a good enough incentive?
As practice owners we don’t have a bottomless pit of bonuses to hand out.
I’m going to tell you why money, and the old school ‘carrot and stick’ method of incentivising staff shouldn’t be your go-to motivator.
Where do I start?
So, in order to pursue other incentive options to get your staff going, you need to address the elephant in the room and take money off the table.
The easiest way to do this is by paying your staff, an above industry average wage.
Not only will your staff feel appreciated and looked after, but money will also be taken out of the equation when motivation needs a boost.
Now this may not be entirely possible for you right now, and that’s fine! But it’s definitely something you should aim towards.
The following ideas in this article are still applicable and will help motivate your team in any case.
So what ACTUALLY motivates us?
First, we need to think about our staff on a more human level.
And rather than offering basic rewards for simple behaviours, we need to identify the key motivators that push us to work harder and make the effort.
So, with that in mind, here are 4 alternative incentives to get results from your team….
Time and freedom are two things, as accountancy practice owners, that we crave and work for.
Autonomy, control over your career and an amazing personal life are ultimately what your staff will want too.
So why not offer more freedom and autonomy to your staff?
Here are some examples of what you could offer:
- An option for staff to form their own method and approach to completing tasks
- Remote working, as needed, for staff members with dependents or those with transport difficulties
- Opportunities for staff to choose a team meeting topic
- Flexible break/lunch times, so staff don’t feel chained to their desk and regimented
- Employee ‘ownership’ of certain tasks
- The freedom to explore their own ideas in work time
By giving your staff more flexibility in how they approach their work, you give employees a sense of choice rather than orders.
And individuals generally respond better when they aren’t micro managed.
Success and mastery are huge motivators to many people.
And it would be safe to say people prefer to be good at something, rather than struggle with it.
So by identifying your staff’s key strengths, honing in and nurturing them can actually be a pretty great incentive.
Perhaps you have a team member who is great at communication and time keeping.
Why not single them out and put them in charge of team meetings?
Or you could have someone who is excellent at customer service, who has a great relationship with your clients.
Why not make them Client Care Manager?
By identifying your teams’ strengths and acting upon them, it shows them that they are more than just everyday worker bees to you.
And if you go a step further and invest in team training you’ll further boost motivation and strengthen proficiency.
By providing further training not only are you improving your employee’s skillset but are also showing a clear interest in their individual development.
One really important question I’m sure everyone has asked themselves at some point is “ Why bother, what is it all for?”.
And this question comes up to the surface when you lack purpose.
So, one major and really easy way to give your team a push is to create a bigger picture.
When setting your practice goals and visions, try to create aspirations that your team will buy in to.
For example, ‘In 2018 we want to increase profits by 5%’ may be awesome for you, but it isn’t going to have an impact on the team member up to his eyeballs auditing.
Big practice goals such as: ‘By 2022, we will be the UK number one practice for client satisfaction and customer service’ creates a vision and purpose that your team will buy into and want to be a part of.
A shared purpose and vision is an enormous motivator and an easy incentive to encourage staff to dig deep and work hard.
And if your team actively have an input in creating the vision too, they are likely to feel personally invested in reaching the targets and goals you set together.
4. Great Team Atmosphere
A shared purpose and team vision are more powerful when your team atmosphere is awesome.
And as practice owners, it’s important to find a balance between productivity and fun.
So while it’s crucial that staff get the work done, it’s also important to create a desirable place to work in.
Quite often, very small and simple changes to a working environment can have a huge impact.
Some examples could be:
- Casual office dress code (unless client facing)
- Keeping a stocked fridge, and refreshments readily available
- Offer a chill out/break area to relax in
- Have background music playing or the radio on
By creating a more relaxed, social environment you are both promoting a healthy staff culture and are also showing consideration of their comfort and needs.
To go the extra mile I take my team out, all expenses paid, once every quarter for a fun day completely unrelated to our everyday work.
I’ve taken my team quad biking, to the ‘Crystal Maze Live Experience’ and even to an ‘Escape Room’ day.
Team days form a memorable experience, give me chance to show my appreciation, and it’s a small investment for a huge boost in team morale and communication.
Ultimately, a team with respect for you and each other are way more likely to get their finger out when the going gets tough.
Feed The Enthusiasm
If you have an A+ team in your practice, it’s important they work to their maximum potential for you to drive your practice forwards and get where you want to go.
And sometimes, more money may well be a means of getting what you need done.
But ultimately, it’s not a long term
Steve Jobs once said that you should get “so close that you tell them what they need, well before they realize it themselves”.
And understanding your team and meeting their not-so-obvious needs is one proven way of keeping them happy and motivated.