How to Maintain and Motivate a Committed Workforce
Motivating and rewarding employees is one of the most important and challenging activities that leaders are faced with. How can you encourage employees to volunteer maximum work effort? How can leaders know how and why employees are motivated?
‘In order to succeed, we must first believe that we can.’ Nikos Kazantzakis
You cannot motivate an employee, but you can provide a motivating environment!
Motivation is an outcome. You can only provide an environment at work that can induce employees to choose to be motivated for their work. Therefore, what can leaders instill to provide a motivating work environment? What does it take to get employees to give a maximum effort? What motivates one employee might have little effect on another.
Select types of profiles you want working for you and that your company needs to excel sustainably
- Select a general desired employee profile
- Find an environment conducive to be motivated
For example, “Google receives over 3,000 applicants a day. Their benefits include massages, swimming pool, spa, on-site laundry, excellent and free restaurants and much more. Won’t you want to work there? And yet, Google employees leave this seemingly ideal paradise. Why? Your time is no longer yours. The industry is cutthroat. When can you use the swimming pool, if you work 12 to 16 hour days? Still interested in applying to Google? What motivates you? Money? Power? Time off? Prestige? You ask the same question to 10 people and you will get different answers.” Management 5000, by Pearson
What type of employee would select to work for Google?
Certainly, someone achievement oriented that loves the prestige. Google is a well-known brand on the cutting edge of technology. Google’s facilities are to boast about even though there is little free time to take advantage of such dream-like benefits. Being achievement oriented and competitive is certainly what would attract and maintain an employee in such a cutthroat industry. Others would value having free time over chasing after accomplishments. Their perceived accomplishments may be developing harmonious relationships rather than developing their leadership. Still, others might not withstand the pressure after a few years and would trickle out of this prestigious company.
“Your talent determines what you can do. Your motivation determines how much you are willing to do. Your attitude determines how well you do it.” Lou Holtz
Overall what creates a motivating environment?
- An environment where people are respected; where there is trust and respect as well as good communication
- Clear direction; employees need clear expectations and direction to be motivated
What goals are motivators?
- Agreed and difficult goals
Goal setting is one approach that can be applied to every employee. Research indicates that intention to work toward a goal is a major source of job motivation. When accepted, difficult goals, result in higher performance than easier goals but it is better to have the employee involved and assign their own goals.
- Specific and Challenging goals
Preferably, goals need to be specific so that employees know exactly what needs to be done. Goals are to be SMART (Simple, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound) and challenging. Why challenging goals? Because it entails employees use all their skills and acquire new ones. Combine specific and focused goals and it produces a higher level of output than do generalized goals.
Learn how you can manage employees with such diverse motivations and interests.
Simply ask employees and co-workers what motivates them.
Once you ask for their feedback communicate what you are going to do about it
If they give you advice and suggestions, be sure to follow through or tell them the reasons you are not taking action. Respond to employees needs and complaints, they will not come forth again if their feedback is not taken into account.
Provide feedback on how well they are progressing toward their goals?
The leader’s feedback guides behavior and manages talents. If the leader can coax the employee to self-evaluate their performance and generate their own feedback, then it is likely to be a more powerful motivator than the leader generating the feedback.
Peer pressure is a strong influencing factor. If the employee commits to a goal in public, it is likely to be stronger.
If the individual feels and believes that he or she is capable of performing a task and the employee has the influence on setting his or her own goals, then the employee is likely to feel highly motivated.
Be a motivator first! Try this:
- Communicate, communicate, communicate; make sure your expectations are clear to all. Change needs to be managed.
- Be in a good mood, show the example, engage in conversations with everyone
- Do a weekly goal board; write everyone’s weekly goals on a board for the entire team to see and avoid duplicating work
- Encourage questions, ideas and suggestions
- Know your staff: Discretely ask them about the major events in their personal life. Is there anything personal that could affect their work? Are you showing them you care for them as a person?
How did this work out for you? What results did you get? Contact us if you want our coaching to help be an even better motivator.
Written by Executive Coach, Katrina Burrus, PhD, MCC from Geneva, Switzerland