10 ways to improve motivation at work and how to sustain it

Are you asking yourself how to increase productivity within your development teams? Here are 10 ways to improve motivation and ensure better results.

Teamwork colleagues ways to improve motivation

Most software development projects involve the work of an interdisciplinary team of developers, testers, and functional and graphic designers, among others. In order to be able to reach the objectives, it is essential to keep the team motivated. Are there some ways to improve motivation and get better results?

Although everyone seems to be clear that a motivated team works better, is more productive and efficient, there are still many companies that face low levels of commitment from their employees. As we can read in an article from Harvard Business Review, 70% of U.S. employees are “not engaged” or “actively disengaged” at work.

Content related: Hexacta, leader in human resources best practices

So, what to do in this scenario? Before thinking a full motivational strategy, it is important to realize what drives motivation on each employee and understand that there are two types of motivation we must encourage within our organizations: intrinsic and extrinsic.

On one hand, intrinsic motivation is inherent to each person without external boost, that is, it is born from the personal desire to fulfill a certain goal. Ensuring each member to feel that they are meeting not only expectations as part of a team, but also their own goals, helps to promote more effective results.

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Extrinsic motivation, on the other hand, refers to external factors, such as salary increases, holidays, or bonuses for specific tasks which encourage the development of activities.

Each team is different, so the motivations that they receive will be different. The leader must then know the people with whom he or she works, discover his own stimuli, and find the way in which both the intrinsic and the extrinsic motivations achieve positive effects both in the team and in each one of its members.

This is possible when taking several factors into account that can individually be considered very simple but which together make the result more than satisfactory.

The following are 10 ways to improve motivation that are key to keep in mind when we are looking for more effective teams and excellence in our developments.

1. Set clear and measurable goals

When establishing goals, the leader must take into account that they cannot have double interpretations. In addition, priorities must be specified, stating their relevance and the manner in which they are to be evaluated. This will make it clear what the leader expects from each team member.

2. Challenging tasks

When team members perform the same tasks over a long period of time, they may lose interest due to the constant repetition of activities. It must be considered that the tasks can be achieved without losing sight of the knowledge and skills of each person.

3. Encourage creativity

ways to improve motivation

When assigning tasks, the leader must be careful not to set specific guidelines but give freedom to the team members to find their own ways to reach the objective. Doing this, the search for new ideas and the promotion of effective and collective solutions to any problem is favored.

4. Demonstrate interest in team members

Motivating team members in accomplishing tasks is not the only important aspect in good performance. Listening to them, accompanying them, involving themselves in what motivates the team, and celebrating their achievements outside the work environment also contribute to this.

5. Good working environment

We know that economics motivates a person to develop his task, but it is not the only one. Since the whole team spends much of the day in an office, it is important that there is  a pleasant atmosphere that offers spaces for recreation and relaxation.

6. Individual acknowledgments

Leaders can perform recognitions when important milestones are achieved. These recognitions should be used in an appropriate way since their repetition will diminish the effect they produce in the motivation to work.

7. Error management

Both team members and leaders can make mistakes. The leader should help visualize the causes and eventual consequences of failures to avoid re-committing them. It is not to punish, but to encourage the person to try again, just as the Irish writer Samuel Beckett said, “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail Better”.

8. Team cohesion

Work team

As mentioned earlier, team members spend many hours of the day together, so co-workers could be considered as a second family. For this reason, it is important to foster mutual respect, trust, and communication between them and to be offered opportunities for growth.

Achieving good cohesion between the team members allows us to create spaces so that they can collaborate among them and discuss different alternatives to solve the problems at hand. Holding brainstorming meetings inspires and motivates the team to constantly think of new ideas. (Read more: Communication in agile software development… does it matter?).

9. Transparent Leadership

Every good leader should allow his team to see him or her as they are, setting the example with their attitude and how to relate to the rest of the team. This will create a circle of trust among team members that will allow you to solve problems without difficulty.

10. Avoid unnecessary meetings

It is essential when meetings are held that they have an established agenda so that team members do not waste their time. Especially in teams that work with agile methodologies like Scrum, a meeting without clear guidelines can become a setback in team productivity. Having the participation of specific members, meeting the schedule, and being efficient with time are essential guidelines for successful development. (Do not miss this article: 5 keys you can’t skip on your agile process).

To Sum Up

ways to improve motivation

I read in a Forbes article that motivation is a muscle that can increase your productivity. I am sure this statement is completely true. Motivation is the core of effectiveness, and there are several ways to improve motivation that we cannot ignore.

It is important that as leaders we are attentive to our team to detect opportunities that allow us to increase their motivation and that, in the end, will be reflected in software development excellence.

 

Questions? Comments? Concerns? Contact us for more information. We’ll quickly get back to you with the information you need.

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