Employers want employees to work harder, faster and smarter, but fail to provide proper incentive for them to actually do so. Motivation is not a one-size-fits-all proposition, and employers need to realize that inspiring employees requires finding out what the other person wants. In other words, listen to your employees before creating action plans that implement the their desires. Of course this must be balanced with the good of the company, but let’s face it -- there won’t be a company if the employees don’t get the job done.
Listen to what your employees want. Ask for feedback via a questionnaire, and read the responses. If possible implement at least some of the recommendations. When a worker comes to you with a proposal, honestly consider whether the plan will work. In some cases, a small tweak to the idea pans out into gold for the company. Workers feel like you care about them when they see their suggestions used to better their working conditions, and will work harder to get the job done.
Say thank you for a job well done or for someone going beyond the call of duty to meet a deadline. Personal thanks rates number three on the list of the biggest employee motivators, according to a survey conducted by motivational expert Bob Nelson, Ph. D. Don’t forget to follow up your personal thank you with public recognition at the next staff meeting. Employees want recognition for going the extra mile.
When possible, allow your employees to telecommute or work a flexible schedule. If your organization does not lend itself to telecommuting, allow employees to help schedule their own shifts. In some organizations, not everyone needs to work from nine to five. Allowing your employees to work flexible hours generally results in happier and more productive workers.
When possible, let workers help in the decision making process within their department. Employees feel empowered when they figure out problems instead of asking management to handle each issue. Your staff may surprise you with the innovative ideas they come up with to get tasks done, and they'll be motivated to take ownership of their work.
Although monetary rewards did not rank highest on the survey conducted by Bob Nelson, occasionally, monetary rewards offer that extra boost to poor motivation. Holiday or work bonuses, contests with cash or prizes, gift certificates for employee of the month, or employee parties for reaching goals provide a shot in the arm for employee enthusiasm.
Liz Jones is a freelance writer with extensive experience in a variety of areas, including digital imaging and the food industry. Jones has been writing professionally for three years. She attended the Pennsylvania State University where she majored in Astro Physics.