Increase Employee Performance by Harnessing the Power of Motivation
Employee motivation and productivity can be enhanced and improved by creating a work environment that maximizes the factors that affect performance. These factors are simple to understand, easy to measure, and can add tremendous value to any organization that is willing to implement them. Use these 10 tips to make sure that your employees are energized and inspired to produce the best results possible.
1. Interesting Work
Intrinsic motivation comes from the sheer joy and pleasure of doing a task. When you read a great book, no one has to pay for each page you read. It is a pleasure to learn how the story unfolds and watch the plot develop. It is the same way with employee motivation. To maximize employee performance, find out what employees like about their jobs and then try to add more tasks that align with their own natural interests and talents.
2. Appreciation & Recognition
William James said, “The deepest desire in human nature is to be appreciated.” It does not matter how much you pay someone, everyone wants to know that their efforts are being seen and appreciated, especially by their manager. Don’t just send them a thank you e-mail – that just means you care enough to hit the “Enter” key. If you really want to thank someone buy them a real “Thank You” card and describe how their behavior and performance has added value to the team and organization. Make it a point to catch people doing things right and they will inevitably do things right more often.
3. Feeling Involved In the Work Process
Research shows that when people get to participate in creating a system or process, they are much more likely to follow it than one simply imposed upon them by an outside expert. Recognize that the people doing the job have the knowledge of how things can be done better, faster, and cheaper. If you want them to tell you, then make it easy for them to offer suggestions and reward employees who contribute ideas that add value to the bottom line.
Napoleon once remarked, “It is amazing how willing men are to risk their lives for a little bit of tin and ribbon to wear upon their chest.” Awards and prizes can serve as a great motivator to harness the power of healthy competition. It is always better to use rewards that are meaningful and inspiring. When an employee exceeds your expectations, then make sure you recognize their achievement. On the day someone retires, they will pack up these awards and prizes to serve as fond reminders of a wonderful career.
5. Job Security
If everybody had what it takes to be an entrepreneur, then there would be no General Electric or Toyota and we would all be buying products from artisans and craftworkers. Thankfully, many people prefer to be part of a large organization and can be more productive when they get to focus on doing their job instead of worrying about developing a business plan or marketing strategy. Telling people that they are lucky to have a job creates an atmosphere of fear and worry that decreases job performance. Instead, tell your employees that the company is lucky to have such a skilled and committed workforce and people will take pride in their work and their company.
6. Increased Responsibility
We all know that some employees lack ambition and have no desire to advance on the job, but the vast majority of workers want a chance to take on more responsibility and add more value to the organization. Always be aware of opportunities for training that will equip your employees with the skills and tools they will need to advance in their career. Always try to fill open positions with internal applicants before looking for an outside candidate. This will create a culture of career development and preserve institutional memory and organizational knowledge so that it can be transferred to rising employees as they advance in their own career.
7. Good Wages
Robert Bosch, the founder of the world’s largest automobile parts supplier, said, “I do not pay good wages because I have a lot of money; I have a lot of money because I pay good wages.” If you want motivated, highly productive employees you have to pay such people according to their ability and performance. Good employees are motivated by more than just good wages, but never allow low wages to be the wedge a competitor can use to steal away your best people.
8. Good Working Conditions
If you want to get the most out of people you need to create an environment that facilitates success. At the minimum, you must offer a safe, clean, and sanitary work site. To get the most out of employees, help them take pride in their workspace, even if it is only a cubicle or workstation. Allow people to personalize their own work sites with photos or small trinkets so they will feel like they have a place that belongs solely to them.
9. Being Part of a Team
Being part of a dysfunctional team is an emotionally draining experience that results in low morale, low productivity, and high turnover. The great coach, Vince Lombardi, once remarked, “Individual commitment to a group effort — that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” We are all social beings and we all want to be part of a healthy team where we can give and receive support, help, and encouragement. Organizations can harness this natural human desire by aligning employee efforts to achieve goals that are mutually beneficial to both the organization and its employees.
10. Help with Personal Problems
How many times have you heard about a bad boss who told their employees to leave their problems at the door so they could focus on their job? Unfortunately, they probably left their motivation and productivity at the door as well. Smart managers know that it is not their job to be a counselor or therapist, but it is there job to recognize when one of their employees is having personal problems that are affecting their job performance. They need to have open lines of honest communication so that employees can feel encouraged to ask for help and then be directed to their Human Resources Department or their Employee Assistance Programs.