Looking for employee motivation? Can I ask you to stop and think for a moment about the true objective of your search?
Is the Carrot and Stick approach still relevant today? Experts think not. So how then, do we motivate our employees to give 100% when they work in our organisations? Employee motivation is a big topic with managers these days and there are many books written on the subject. But I think it comes down to one thing really…
Why do you like your job? What do you get out of it? Why did you apply for it? Let me refer back to my previous article about climbing mountains. I believe as a leader, it’s our job to make sure our organisation is the right mountain for our employee. If it’s not, then let’s help them to move where they need to be. By taking this approach, not only do we help someone live a fulfilled life, we also make room for the right person to join our team.
Enough of the mountain analogy. Let’s get into some strategy that leaders can use for employee motivation.
Strategy 1- Do They Like Their Job?
Simple right? That ole Common Sense coming in. If the answer is no, then ask them “Why are you here?” Money could also be a factor in play – if so, refer back to my mountain analogy. If they don’t like their job because of operational procedures, lack of career opportunities etc, then go and fix it! Ask them what they need from you to ensure they can do their job. If it’s organisation procedures – then go into bat for your team, and tell hierarchy that things need to change. Put forward a good case for why they need to change, and your suggestions about how to make this happen.
If they are at the company because of career advancement opportunities, or because they believe in the cause, then most of your hard work is already done. Continue onto the next strategy.
Strategy 2- Develop Your People.
Organisational behaviour scholar Frederick Herzberg, states that a managers’ job is to develop their people – not just check their work. Remember you hired this person for a reason? Their skills? Their personality? Now it’s time to use it. Show them how to do their job, and leave them alone to do it. Help them when they get stuck, and to develop new skills, learn emotional intelligence and empower them to take ownership of their career and development. Enough of the micro-management already!
Strategy 3 – Reward and Recognise.
This statement is kind of a buzz phrase at the moment, and MUST be used in conjunction with the two above. You can’t continue to use the carrot and stick method if someone doesn’t even have basic job satisfaction. Amend the rate of pay, the work hours, the work schedule, the flexibility etc BEFORE even trying this strategy.
Sometimes, a pat on the back and telling someone they are doing a great job is all they need. Other times, a structured recognition program needs to be developed into the organisation.
Strategy 4- Show a Little Empathy.
Like, really??? I need to write this here? Well, yes I do. I’ve seen an employee come to a manager to apologise for their earlier moodiness, and explain their family troubles – only to have the manager tell them to leave those troubles at the door. Where’s the compassion and empathy here? Where’s the questions like: ‘What can I do to help you through this time?’ ‘Can we put temporary measures in place that will help you get back on your feet?’ Come on people – have a little empathy for our employees!
As you can see, the above points are Common Sense. We are PEOPLE. How about we start treating each other the way we would like to be treated, and let’s see how our organisations prosper.