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iManage, Issue #021 -- Wish your employees had more oomph? 3 Steps to Work Motivation
April 06, 2011


Wish your employees had more oomph? 3 Steps to Work Motivation

Do your employees have the ability to make your business a success - but lack the motivation? We all have "off days" but if your instinct is telling you that your employees are having more "off" than "on" days then it is time to take action. As a manager, you can do a lot to turn this around. Here are three steps to help raise motivation in the workplace.

Step 1: Are Your Employees Being Heard?

I often notice companies that have regular management meetings, but seldom involve their employees in decision making or information sharing. They may be afraid of losing control or afraid of the unknown when it comes to involving others.

Put yourself in the shoes of one of your employees. If they have a concern, a need or a suggestion to make, are they encouraged to communicate it? what channels are available? and more importantly, will they always get feedback on their issue or suggestion?

If the answer is no, then building structures to support employee involvement would be a really useful start.

Step 2: Are Your Employees Being Surprised?

A fair rate of pay is a recognised motivator. Beyond that, pay rises may not help long term motivation. Rewarding your employees when they are not expecting it can be more beneficial. Give them surprise gifts and tokens to show that you care. One client I know gave all his employees a chocolate easter egg - not an expensive gift, but it was the thought that counted! Investigate what other companies are doing.

Think about the sort of gifts you would like to receive from an employer in recognition of a job well done and pick ones that will work for your business. For example, hold a competition to find the best cost saving ideas and offer prizes. The possibilities are endless!

Step 3: Are your Employees Being Noticed?

Employees want to know that the efforts they make to do a good job are being noticed. Make a habit of catching people "doing things right" and praise them, ideally in front of others.

Be authentic and timely with your praise. "You are doing a good job" can sound contrived. Much better to say "I really liked the way you handled that customer just now".

Managers often focus on addressing the mistakes that employees make. It may feel uncomfortable at first, but praise is a powerful motivator - and it is free. Practice it until it becomes a habit, even at home with your family and friends - and watch the oomph that you help to create.

Keeping employees motivated is vital to business success. It requires constant vigilance, communication and creativity on your part. Pay attention to what motivates your employees - and what blocks motivation - and you will see less "off" days and more "on" days in your business.

For more ideas on the topic of motivation and performance management, register for our free webinar: "How to Motivate in the Workplace". on Tuesday 26 April, 7.30 pm - 8.30 pm GMT.

If you missed our last webinar, you can still download a recording along with the companion workbook: "How to Lead and Inspire Your Team". Use these tools to make real change in both your work and personal life.

For a full list of our management workbooks and free templates, click here.

Best wishes

Ann Halloran

Practical Management Skills

Practical management skills advice for business owners and managers. Get best practice tips on a wide range of topics such as time management, leadership, communication skills, managing change and more.

Content based on 30 years management/consultancy experience gained in a wide range of business sectors.

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