The success of a company is closely tied to its employees and the way it manages its employees. Employee motivation can have a great impact on their performance levels. Motivated employees are likely to out-perform their counterparts that lack motivation. Lack of motivation can erode a company’s competitive advantage and can lead to increased turnover, increased absences, decreased quality of work and employees doing the bare minimum that is required of them.
Managers have several options to address this lack of motivation.
1. Show employees that they are valued and an important part of the organization
Managers need to recognize and appreciate good performance. Recognition can act as a great boost for employee morale and make them feel valued. Lots of companies have “Employee of the month” or “Top performer” awards which can foster some friendly competition. Gift cards or prizes can be used to supplement the recognition but these should never be the focal point.
2. Make sure that employees have the resources and skills to do their job
Too many times I have seen situations where employees tend to shy away, avoid, or ignore work because they simply do not have the resources or skills to do the work. Managers need to train employees to fill any knowledge or skills gaps. Technology plays a large part in the success of companies but the larger the system, the trickier it can be to maintain. You do not want your employees waiting for computers to work or network drives to load. This does nothing but frustrates and annoys people. So please give your employees what they need to complete their work.
3. Communicate with your employees
A sure way to alienate employees is to keep them in the dark about company activities and decisions. All key decisions that impact the company’s well-being need to be communicated to the employees. A great way of doing this is to hold monthly or quarterly all hands meetings. This is a great opportunity to discuss sales numbers, financials, marketing initiatives, safety, and address key employee concerns. At a more personal level, any decisions involving things that will impact employees directly should be made after obtaining and considering employee feedback.
4. Link company goals to employee goals
A lot of managers attempt this but only a few succeed. This requires management to have a good understanding of their strategic and operation goals and how they intend to deploy company resources to achieve these goals. Employees need to know how their work fits into the grand scheme of things. Success is linked – if employees perform well, the company does well. If the company strategy is to cut costs, create an environment where employees are encouraged to look for ways to reduce costs. If the goal is to become the industry leader in customer service, all levels of the organization should be encouraged to take the extra step to assist customers.
5. Help employees with their career development
This item will be much more important for younger employees such as new graduates. You cannot expect them to work at your company for any more than a few years before they move on but you can definitely try to develop them into future leaders at your company. Listen to your employees and encourage them to speak to you about their career goals. Save a portion of your annual budget for employee development. It is hard to watch knowledge and expertise walk out the door to a position elsewhere so you need to show your employees that you will be happy to help them grow their career with your company.
6. Treat employees with respect
We all know the stereotypical image of a mean boss, one who yells and slams their fist on the table to make a point. Please don’t be that person. Be a leader instead and treat your employees with respect and you will have their respect in return.
7. Managers need to stand up for their employees
A good manager should be a leader and support his or her employees. There can be many situations where a manager’s actions can inspire and lift employees.
- When other departments try to dump their work on an employee.
- When customer chew out the employee without justification.
- When employees make mistakes. We are not talking about mistakes as a result of carelessness or ignorance. We are talking about genuine mistakes. These can be seen as opportunities to grow and fill knowledge/skill gaps.
8. Team building
We have all seen or been in teams where no one interacts of communicates. This is a good recipe if you are trying to fail. The team needs to actually work as a team in order for it to be successful. This involves communication, collaboration, trust, depending on each other and helping each other. Managers need to create an environment of trust and caring within their teams. There are many team-building exercises to choose from. Alternatively, social events can be organized to facilitate interaction and communication. As mentioned in point 4, individual success should be linked to the success of the team.
9. Managers need to be understanding
Employees are human and need time off here and there during work hours to take care of their personal matters. Managers can choose to dock time or pay but this will only cause employees to resent them. The better approach is to be flexible and let your employees make up the time at a later date or give them the tools to work from home. If they can complete their work sooner, why force them to stay if they have personal business to attend to?
10. Performance evaluation
This list would be incomplete without linking performance evaluation to motivation. Employees need to work towards meaningful short and long term goals for them to add any value to a company. Once the goals established, they need to be aware of how well they are progressing. Performance evaluation should be a healthy two way communication where several useful items can be discussed such as:
- Areas where improvement is required
- Resource allocation
- Goal adjustment to keep up with current events and any changes that have impacted the company
Performance evaluation is a common tool used by companies for merit adjustment and bonus allocation. High performing employees should be awarded accordingly while low performing employees should be given opportunities to improve.
There are many other ways to increase employee motivation. Please comment and let me know what you think.
Featured image via Office Snapshots