In today’s ever-changing business environment, we must find ways to make our organizational assets more productive than ever. In many organizations, the most prominent and expensive asset we have is our people. As a result, much time is spent creating processes and conditions that drive and motivate employees.
Motivation is the Force That Prompts You to Take Action
Over the years, I have observed that leaders take many different approaches to motivate their people to higher levels of performance. Even the best leaders have experienced the frustration of trying to lead someone who seemed to refuse to live up to expectations. Ironically, their people were probably feeling the same way. The reason: Motivation develops internally from a personal desire to achieve goals that are important both to the individual and the organization. Motivation is the force that prompts you to take action. If you are having trouble getting someone to achieve your goals, you are probably failing to understand what theirs are.
Motivational Factors That Have the Most Dramatic Impact on Productivity
Much research has been conducted over the years to identify the factors that have the most dramatic impact on productivity. Here is something that may surprise you. We know that pay, fringe benefits, and working conditions are essential, but research has shown that, while the absence of these factors is known to produce a lack of motivation, their presence has no long-range motivational effects.
Long-range motivational factors that do produce long-term effects include recognition of a job well done, a sense of achievement, growth, participation, challenge, and identification with the company’s goals and vision.
Don’t Use Fear or Incentives to Motivate Employees
Leaders and managers spend a lot of time trying to find ways to motivate employees through fear and incentive, neither of which is effective nor long-lasting.
The very essence of fear is negative and, over time, has diminishing effects as employees develop attitudes that lead to a decrease in quality, commitment, and productivity. Fear may be highly-motivating in the here-and-now, but it does not produce positive results for any length of time.
On the other hand, incentives can be a positive motivator, but have shown not to have long-lasting results. Providing a reward in exchange for a specific behavior may seem like an excellent way to motivate, but it also has diminishing returns. Employees expect fair compensation based on their contributions, and many times, there is a disconnect between what the employee desires and what the employer is willing to pay. Over time, employees start gravitating toward desiring more intangible rewards, such as respect, growth, knowledge, prestige, and recognition (to name a few), which ultimately govern their internal motivation.
The challenge lies in recognizing each individual’s unique desires.
Proven Ideas to Provide Long-Term Employee Motivation
So, how can you positively motivate and get long-term results? Here are 12 ideas proven to do just that:
1. Care– Take an interest in knowing your people and show that you care about them as a person. Listen carefully to other people’s interests, opinions, concerns, and goals.
2. Commitment– Encourage a commitment to excellence. People like to be on winning teams.
3. Connection– Create an environment that fosters friendships.
4. Development– There is someone assigned to each employee to encourage their development. Help them clarify their personal goals and values, and help them identify the skills they need to achieve their goals.
5. Expectations– Let people know what is expected of them in terms of role, priorities, and performance expectations.
6. Feedback– Create a system for providing performance feedback.
7. Ideas– Ask employees for advice in areas where they have expertise. Show employees their opinions count. Stand behind their decisions.
8. Meaning– Create a clear vision as to what your organization will accomplish together. Make sure that everyone understands the rationale behind your vision and tell them how they contribute.
9. Praise– Provide sincere and specific recognition to each of your direct reports every week, at the very least.
10.Resources– Make sure that people have the materials, support, and equipment to do their job right.
11, Responsibility– Find ways to enrich your employees’ jobs by increasing their authority or span of control. Encourage employees to expand their comfort zone.
12. Treatment– Treat everyone with dignity and consideration.
While some of these motivational techniques may seem simple and basic, they go a long way in genuinely motivating your staff.
Need Help Motivating Your Employees?
At Activate Group, our business coaching services are here to help you with this and many other challenges you may be experiencing, especially as your business evolves during the pandemic. Schedule your FREE, 30-MINUTE CONSULTATION to see how we might be of service to you. No, we won’t hound you; we only want to help during these changing times.
(Reference and excerpts are taken with permission from Leadership published by Resource Associates Corporation, Mohnton, PA.)