Motivating Employees

Last week, I was meeting with a brand new manager. On his request, he wanted to ask a few questions. His first questions took up all of our time together. “How do I motivate my employees?” Wonderful question – one that I first told him to step back and look at the overall work situations and his employee’s.

  • Make sure that their work is meaningful. When the work is meaningful it is much easier to be passionate about what you are doing. Meaning motivation sometimes is truly internal. Helping your employee’s understand how the work contributes to the organization goals helps. Remember, even though you can do that – it does not mean that the employee sees the work as meaningful. Manager role is to help set that vision.
  • For most places I have worked – pay for performance is how employee appraisal system works. Pay is a short term motivating factor in my opinion. If you have regular performance discussions and tie the employee’s goals and work – this should help to motivate.
  • As a manager you need to get to know your employees. Helps to understand what makes your employees tick. Once you get a better understanding, you can insure that you are helping them to achieve their goals or what truly is important to them.
  • Invest in your people. This can be done through coaching, sending them to conferences or training and maybe something as simple as providing them a book on a topic that will help them in the future. You have to make their growth as important as the business goals.
  • Lastly, no matter what – never throw away work. Priorities and business goals change; but the work that was done to a point was important at one time. Throwing it out just demotivates the person. They see all of their work is wasted. Nothing is truly wasted. Wrap the work up with putting some additional cycles documenting where it is, where it could go in the future – and put it on a shelf. You may have to come back to it. Best not to start completely over. I always reward that work, just as I do any other project.

Our decision went into the what next factor… I tried to level set with the new manager – that this is a time consuming effort, if done right. Please do it right. Your employees will see right through you if you are just giving this lip service. The next steps are simple – you will see them just like a map to the other distances in take. Grounding and level setting – help to set the stage for what is next. If you don’t see the next steps – then call me. Or better yet, double check the stuff above.

Any other ideas on how to help motivate employees?