Consensus: Motivation is the ability to influence one’s behavior in a way that they see and feel the value of the direction you’re suggesting.
Have you ever had employees who just do not seem to be motivated? You know the type – they do the bare minimum required just to get by. If you are a supervisor, this type of behavior can be exasperating.
It is obviously extremely beneficial to your organization, that if you have underachieving employees in your stable that you discover effective and at the same time, positive ways to encourage them to want to strive to be better.
When introduced properly and successfully, you will discover increased employee morale and productivity and significantly reduce your personal frustration level. Here are three key ways to implement the process of motivating employees.
1) Focus on what motivates them
Ask your employees what motivates them. Let them start thinking about their passions and what drives them. For example, you triple your employee’s pay when they work overtime, you are making the assumption they are motivated by money.
However, this may not be the case. Every employee is different. Some employees would prefer to be rewarded with extra time off; others may be motivated by the probability of promotion. It is up to you to find out what your employees as individuals most value before you can begin to influence their behavior, motivating them.
2) Use multiple methods of motivation
Once you have determined what your people value and the range of those values, you may very well need to adopt several different approaches in order to achieve motivational success.
In this type of situation, one commonly employed option is to initiate an employee of the month award. Various rewards can then be attached to this incentive. Such offerings could include a small bonus, receiving an additional day off that month, or offering an opportunity for each month’s recipient of the award, to be entered into a draw for a paid weekend at a local lodge or B&B come year’s end. If the same individual is rewarded three times within a year, they may well be future candidates for promotion or absorbing more responsibility.
Introducing a range of rewards such as these can go a long way in helping you to cover all the motivational bases that your employees desire. With three distinctly different perks being offered: financial, sabbatical and promotional, there is a fair chance that a majority of your staff will become motivated to bring their performance to the next level.
From a leadership perspective, it becomes important to remain creative and flexible when seeking solutions to boost morale, with tailored recognition ranking among the top.
3) Provide a challenging atmosphere
People are motivated when they are challenged. Provide employees with challenges that are fun and attainable. Providing a balanced, fun work environment can be a challenge in itself, but it is well worth the reward. Remember to continue to practice creativity and flexibility while at the same time building a climate of trust.
For example, one of your teams often falls below expectations as they are afraid to take risks because they feel that they can neither trust or rely on one another or there is internal conflict between competing factions or individuals. Without trust there is in essence, no team.
Now an inflexible leader might simply force employees to work together anyway, using threats against them if they fail to get the job done. This may very well be a time honored method to achieve a bottom line, but the company will more than likely end up with an inferior end product and employee morale living in the sub-basement.
As an alternative to strong arm tactics, you could make an investment in the future and practice team-building, trust exercises. One such practice is enrolling all of your teams (high and low performers alike), in a “high ropes” course.
Such an exercise requires that you take risks and learn to rely on the people around you (and you on them), in order not to tumble into a mud pit. Spending the day together, discussing your fears and overcoming obstacles can create team cohesion. It can sometimes be surprising at how quickly this may occur.
When people come to the realization that they can trust one another enough to take risks and overcome obstacles, morale improves – along with team performance. This can and will drastically improve the overall work environment for everyone. By employing these keys, you have the opportunity to motivate employees who may have been previously identified as underachievers or merely average.
The truth is, most everyone is motivated but in their own way. The trick is, figuring out what their motivating factors are. Are you up to the challenge of discovering the positive motivators of your team? For further reading, feel free to look over our “Accountable Leadership” article.