Motivated employees, research shows, work harder, smarter and more productively; apply more of them to a particular job, persevere stronger through tough odds, exhibit more passion towards their job and are more adamant about meeting goals and pursuing targets. While some people are innately more passionate about their jobs and careers than others, organisational structures and management styles can play a key role in tuning the motivational barometer. The key question then is how to transform a lukewarm workforce into an impassioned motivated one and truly reap the rewards of a successful selection process. Below, offered some key motivation pointers:-
Motivating employees starts as early as the interview stage. Make sure you identify as early on as the interview and on-boarding stage the strengths a particular individual brings to the job and how these strengths will be actively incorporated and utilized in meeting the organizational targets and goals. Employees inspired with a clear vision of how their background, training and skills will directly be tapped into to affect the bottom line on certain key projects or tasks or towards pre-defined fixed goals will be far more motivated than their counterparts who are uncertain what dimension of their skills and expertise will be mobilized, to what tend and when.
An easy way to keep the troops upbeat and give them a feeling of being “in the loop” is to adopt an “open-door” management culture in which communication with peers and superiors alike is facilitated and encouraged. The more employees feel they can approach each other as well as their management with ideas, problems or concerns the less alienated they feel and the more likely they are to actively involve themselves and participate in realizing the company’s vision, mission and value system. Moreover, management should take a very proactive approach in communicating the company’s goals, strategies and direction at any point in time so employees’ individual goals can be aligned with the organisation’s overriding ones and they never feel that they are operating as lone rangers or completely in the dark.
Diversify the Work
While some jobs can be by their very nature repetitive and monotonous, management can try to lighten the workload, vary it and make it more appealing by allowing for participation in peripheral tasks or projects, and can mitigate from the dullness of certain tasks by complementing them with more interesting tasks or allowing for more frequent travel, training, exposure to other departments, or rotational work. Multi-disciplinary projects that pull in employees from a variety of departments/teams are a great way of exposing employees to new methods and practices and stretching their workload to more colorful dimensions.
Encourage team members to shine and show them that you trust them by giving them the limelight in key meetings, deals, projects, and allowing them to take full responsibility and reap the associated rewards. Employees should have clear goals and allowed free rein to achieve these goals in the most efficient and innovative manner so long as the appropriate support and oversight infrastructure is in place. Micro-management can be as detrimental to motivation levels as effectively abdicating the team altogether through sporadic, distant and intermittent management; effective managers are able to delegate reasonable levels of responsibility rather than stifle or abdicate their teams.
Set the bar high and allow a certain amount of freedom to take risk to encourage creativity, growth and innovation. Show you trust your employees’ judgement by allowing them this leeway to take calculated risks so long as they have been effectively thought through, possible scenarios have been well defined and quantified, and the personal accountability is there. While the risk of failure is always there, this freedom to take risks will provide a steep learning gradient and foster a mature, ‘can-do’ attitude.
Listen and Learn
Solicit feedback from employees on what they expect from the job and their management as well as what they have planned for their careers. Listening to employee’s opinions and feedback actively and genuinely is a surefire way to communicate your respect. Learn from them what they hope to contribute to the business, how they see the business moving and improving, and where they see themselves down the line. Prepare to be flexible in your style, targets and time and resource allocations in response to their genuine personal concerns, requests, goals and issues.
Invest in top-caliber training and development programs that nurture staff, build their skills and allow them to learn and advance their careers. Allow your discussions with employees and their shared goals, hopes, dreams and ambitions to determine the course of their training to the extent possible within the framework of organisation’s goals and the broad possibilities of their role.
The importance of giving regular and constructive feedback to encourage, motivate and guide cannot be overemphasized. Adopt a comprehensive firm-wide performance appraisal system for formal appraisals and complement that with regular informal face-to-face meetings discussing progress and performance and issues/concerns that hinder them. The purpose of these meetings should not be to ‘criticize’ but to guide, assist, mentor and coach the individual to better performance levels. Regular positive feedback for key accomplishments and contributions is a key criterion for raising employee morale.
Recognize and Reward
Companies can be extremely creative in devising ways to recognize and reward creative thinking, superlative performance, innovation, loyalty to the company and other key parameters considered important to the company. Staff incentive schemes can be as varied as the accomplishments that lead to them and can include anything from cash bonuses to company equity, days off, training, club memberships, awards or any number of other rewards.
Little does more to debilitate motivation levels than the feeling of working in an unfair environment where growth and progress is determined not on merit but on subjective extraneous criteria. Make sure employees are competing on a level playing field with equal opportunities for progress and advancement and that the ‘rules of conduct’ ie the company’s expectations, goals, values and vision are clearly defined and transparent to all.