The motivating employees
The Motivating employees1. Motivating employees starts with motivating yourself
It's amazing how, if you hate your job, it seems like everyone else does, too. If you are very stressed out, it seems like everyone else is, too. Enthusiasm is contagious. If you're enthusiastic about your job, it's much easier for others to be, too. Also, if you're doing a good job of taking care of yourself and your own job, you'll have much clearer perspective on how others are doing in theirs.
A great place to start learning about motivation is to start understanding your own motivations. The key to helping to motivate your employees is to understand what motivates them. So what motivates you? Consider, for example, time with family, recognition, a job well done, service, learning, etc. How is your job configured to support your own motivations? What can you do to better motivate yourself?
2. Always work to align goals of the organization with goals of employees
As mentioned above, employees can be all fired up about their work and be working very hard. However, if the results of their work don't contribute to the goals of the organization, then the organization is not any better off than if the employees were sitting on their hands -- maybe worse off! Therefore, it's critical that managers and supervisors know what they want from their employees. These preferences should be worded in terms of goals for the organization. Identifying the goals for the organization is usually done during strategic planning. Whatever steps you take to support the motivation of your employees (various steps are suggested below), ensure that employees have strong input to identifying their goals and that these goals are aligned with goals of the organization. (Goals should be worded to be "SMARTER". More about this later on below.)
3. Key to supporting the motivation of your employees understands what motivates each of them each person is motivated by different things. Whatever steps you take to support the motivation of your employees, they should first include finding out what it is that really motivates each of your employees. You can find this out by asking them, listening to them and observing them. (More about this later on below.)
4. Recognize that supporting employee motivation is a process, not a task
Organizations change all the time, as do people. Indeed, it is an ongoing process to sustain an environment where each employee can strongly motivate themselves. If you look at sustaining employee motivation as an ongoing process, then you'll be much more fulfilled and motivated yourself.
5. Support employee motivation by using organizational systems (for example, policies and procedures) -- don't just count on good intentions
Don't just count on cultivating strong interpersonal relationships with employees to help motivate them. The nature of these relationships can change greatly, for example, during times of stress. Instead, use reliable and comprehensive systems in the workplace to help motivate employees. For example, establish compensation systems, employee performance systems, organizational policies and procedures, etc., to support employee motivation. Also, establishing various systems and structures helps ensure clear understanding and equitable treatment of employees.1. Offer training.
One thing employees want, especially younger employees, is the ability to sharpen or add to their skills. Offering training as a perk for a job well done can be mutually beneficial.
It makes employees happy because they will be more employable down the road.
It makes you happy because they can offer you more skills.
* You can offer in-house trainings or send your employees off-site. Or you can offer video and Internet-based trainings. What matters is that you tie the training to some job-related performance. I am a big believer that the carrot usually works better than the stick.
2. Go fish.
* Every business has a culture. Some are by design, most are by default. Typically, the culture is based upon the personality and values of the owner and management. What is your culture? If it is not to inspire motivation - or is enjoyable and comprised of hard-working, fun and dedicated people - you have work to do.
* Three authors - Stephen C. Lundin, Harry Paul, John Christensen wrote a great book a few years back called "Fish!" which explains how to turn a drab workplace, and corresponding corporate culture, into a productive, fun powerhouse. As they say, "People are dying to bring their passionate, authentic selves to their jobs. Unfortunately, their jobs often won't let them." The book explains that, by allowing people more freedom to express their joy and talents at work, they will be more motivated and a company's culture can be transformed.
* Positive recognition is one of the mightiest of motivating factors at work. Sincere appreciation of a job well done goes far. Creative rewards such as gift certificates, an afternoon off, a special parking spot, a massage or facial, a round of golf, a new title, or being mentioned in the company newsletter are but a few ways to recognize employees.
4. Creative Policies
* A variety of creative policies can be used to move people in the right direction: Flex-time, telecommuting, or job-sharing for instance.5. Listen and Act
Too many employees feel that their knowledge goes unheard and unappreciated. A culture that fosters feedback makes people feel wanted and understood. But listening is not enough; you have to also act on their suggestions and feedback if you are going to make your employees feel more motivated. Side benefit: You business will improve.
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