A handful employees who perform at their peak is better than a dozen employees who operate at 50% efficiency. Yet, motivating employees to perform at their peak can be one of the biggest challenges business leaders face.
I checked in with four successful CEOs to learn how they keep their teams productive. Not surprisingly, there’s a lot of research that supports their insights into workplace motivation.
Here are four ways to motivate employees to perform at their peak:
1. Offer Flexibility
Ashley Morris, CEO of Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop, understands what it means to be a working parent. As a father to young children, he sometimes needs to take time off to care for his family’s needs. He recognizes the importance of a healthy work-life balance for his employees as well, so he offers everyone the ability to work their schedules around their family commitments. He finds this helps him retain talent and create an environment that fosters quality work.
During a time where 70% of U.S. workers report struggles with a work-home life balance, flexibility could be the key, according to a University of Minnesota study. The study, which was published in the American Sociological Review found that offering employees more control over their schedules reduced their work-home conflict and gave employees the feeling that they had enough time to be with their families.
2. Reward Your Team for Little Things
Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt CEO, Amit Kleinberger, says that showing appreciation keeps his team operating at their peak. Whenever a new Menchie’s opens—five times per month on average—Kleinberger brings a food truck to headquarters to celebrate. He finds this small gesture shows employees that he values the work they’re doing.
While some employers feel a paycheck is reward enough, there’s a lot of evidence that shows a little recognition goes a long way to boosting morale. A study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology found that rewards increase job satisfaction and contribute to workplace happiness. Additionally, employees were more committed to an organization when their performance was rewarded.
3. Look at Things from Your Team’s Perspective
Before taking on the role of CEO at Pancheros Mexican Grill, Rodney Anderson worked every job in the restaurant, from dishwasher to cashier. Understanding what his employees go through on a day-to-day basis helps him implement changes and connect with his employees on a different level.
A 2012 study published in the Academy of Management Journal found that leader humility is associated with positive outcomes. When researchers analyzed data from more than 700 employees and 218 managers, they discovered that humble leaders have more learning-oriented teams, more engaged employees, and lower turnover rates.
4. Allow for an Open Dialogue
Joe Schumaker, CEO of Goddard Systems Inc. is a firm believer in allowing employees to share their concerns and ideas openly. Employees are encouraged to voice opinions and be proactive. In fact, Schumaker facilitates this ideology with executive lunches, where executive members take non-management employees out to lunch to talk about their goals, needs and concerns.
Listening to employees and taking a genuine interest in their feedback could be the simplest, yet most effective way to boost employee performance. An Ohio State University study found that “feelings of being in on things” was the seventh most important factor in motivating employees.
Keep Your Team Motivated
In a competitive business environment, a motivated team is essential. Countless studies show that a good working environment is more effective than monetary benefits when it comes to workplace motivation. Over the long-term, the way you treat your employees is key to inspiring them to perform at their peak.
Amy Morin is a psychotherapist, keynote speaker, and the author of 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do, a bestselling book that is being translated into more than 20 languages.
This article was written by Amy Morin from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.