The fundamental challenge, when it comes to employee management, is simple: Your employees don’t care about your business nearly as much as you do. I realize this may sound harsh, but it’s the truth.

That’s not to say they are lazy, or irresponsible, or anything negative. It’s just reality – you have invested time, energy, and money into your business. Your business carries it with it your hopes for the future.

For your employees, on the other hand, your business represents a paycheck and, if hopefully self-fulfillment. Sure, they may like what they do, but it just isn’t the same. It can’t be the same. They don’t own your business… you do.

However, that doesn’t mean you have to resign yourself to employees who don’t care. You just have to think outside the box in order to keep them fully engaged. Below are four strategies that I have personally used to great effect over the years:

  1. Reward achievement. The simplest and most direct way to keep your employees working to their full potential is by rewarding excellence. This can be done in the form of pay raises or bonuses, but it doesn’t have to be financial. Consider rewarding employees with more authority, more responsibility, and more independence. And as mentioned earlier, praise them publicly for a job well done!
  2. Match employees with the work they are best suited to. It’s important that your employees feel fulfilled while working for you. Do your best to put your employees in positions that match their skill sets. Sticking an outgoing, relationship-oriented employee in a room by himself with a huge stack of paperwork all day long is going to leave him discouraged, not motivated.
  3. Create a sense of purpose. Everyone craves significance. It’s human nature. Help your employees see how their work fits into the bigger picture. At Apple, for instance, the company vision is ambitious… they want to change the world. What is your business about? How do your products or services improve the lives of your customers? Give your employees a reason to be passionate, beyond a paycheck!
  4. Invest into the lives of your employees. Spend time helping your employees grow as people, not just as employees. Teaching them skills that will help them later in their career, or in their personal life, shows them that you really care. They’ll reward you with loyalty and with their best efforts!

It’s not easy to keep your employees, and often yourself, motivated. But it’s essential. These four strategies will help.

How do you keep your employees motivated? Leave a comment and share your thoughts below!