Careers

4 ways to get your employees to go the extra mile

Not everyone is born a team player. Some people need convincing, or incentives, to help push them to go that extra mile.

In the above episode of CNBC Make It's new digital series, "On the Clock," a woman retells the story of when a teacher asked a classroom of students if anyone would be willing to spend their weekend in a penguin costume for a local political campaign party. Knowing she would make some extra money, the woman volunteered herself.

But in an office environment, where everyone is already making a set salary to do their job, it isn't always easy to cajole an employee or coworker to do something outside their scope of responsibility.

Here's how a good boss can work to change that.

Get to know the people who work for you

Take an interest in what your employees and colleagues do between 5 PM and 9 AM and show them that you care about their lives outside of the office. Maybe they have a kid who just made the soccer team, or a parent who has recently fallen ill.

If you can paint a full picture of someone outside of the work that they do, you'll have an easier time relating to them and thus, working with them. This goes both ways; help your employees know what you're about outside the office, too.

Introduce the incentive immediately

If you need someone to go above and beyond for you, immediately introduce how they'll benefit in return — maybe it's taking Friday off as a reward for staying late to make sure a big project gets done, or offering the opportunity to come in late the next morning.

You can't slip an employee cash for doing you a favor, but time can be just as valuable as money.

Recognize team players

Periodically send out emails recognizing an employee or colleague, and make sure the CEO and top managers are included. A written validation of hard work can go a long way, and makes that person feel they're being appreciated for their effort.

Make sure those who work for you know they can be honest with you

Your employees should feel comfortable telling you if they are overworked, overwhelmed or burned out.

You can't demand someone break their back for you 24/7, so if you allow employees a safe space to ask for a break or a reset button without judgment, they'll be more likely to take that breather and then come back swinging just as hard.