Sarah gets to work at the same time every day. She sits down at her desk and starts doodling on her desk pad, playing computer games, surfing the internet, or texting friends. Unless she is interrupted by a phone call or correspondence that requires her urgent attention, you know she will spend the bulk of her day doodling on her note pad, playing computer games, surfing the internet, or texting friends.
So why is it that the only thing that appears to motivate Sarah is the clock ticking over during the last 15 minutes of her office day?
Sarah is not unlike hundreds of thousands of other employees in corporate America. She is, or has become, one of the "unmotivated masses".
Luckily, the success of your organization isn't dependent on the singular input of employees like Sarah, but what needs to happen to generate a positive and motivational environment for all your employees, Sarah included?
As a business leader, the most important lesson you can learn about motivating staff is that what motivates you may not necessarily motivate Sarah or any of the other employees you are responsible for.
Motivation means different things to different people. As a business manager, it is an integral part of your role to observe and learn what inspires and motivates each and every member of your staff.
However, having said that, recent psychoanalytical studies on what influences employees to become engaged and proactive yielded a defined methodology that proved to be universally effective.
How to Engage and Motivate Your Staff
1. Reward Immediately and Frequently
In the study, one of the primary influences that affected the motivation of employees was recognition and reward. It was shown that small rewards offered frequently and as soon as possible after the performance had the most impact. So the gift of two tickets to the cinema was more rewarding than the promise of a promotion at some indeterminate time in the future.
Conversely, inappropriate or incorrect behavior must be noted as soon as it becomes evident.
While it was noted rewards are seen as more motivational when given in the presence of other team members, bringing a staff member to account for an oversight or error is best performed in private.
Further, as a leader it is important to check for improvement in a timely manner and compliment employees if a positive change is evident. Otherwise, staff may be left wondering why they should bother if changes are not acknowledged.
2. Share the Vision
Employees are seen to be more motivated when they believe their contribution is making an impact on the overall success of the organization.
So it is important to share the company's mission statement and vision with the entire staff. By allowing them to share in any improvements and successes the company experiences, you ensure they feel like an integral part of the team.
3. Chart a Career Path
The majority of employees have a perceived career path they would like to follow.
Not only is it vital as a manager to be aware of the staff member's vision for the future, it is also important to clearly define how management views their career path. The qualities and expectations required by the employee to achieve their career goals must also be clearly defined.
4. Lead by Example
A good leader must illustrate to his or her employees the correct procedures and processes required. If you want your staff to arrive at work on time, then you will need to follow suit.
Lead constructively by being a great role model so staff know what is expected of them.
5. Communicate Openly and Honestly
Staff who are kept "in the loop" are more likely to remain motivated than those who have no idea what is going on.
A great leader always maintains open channels of communication so his or her staff feel comfortable about discussing any relevant issues.
Inappropriate behavioral practices as well as the need for conflict resolution can be kept to a minimum if managers maintain an open door policy.
6. Invest in Staff Training
Staff feel valued when you spend the money and time investing in their knowledge and skills.
Regular staff training sessions, seminars and group training experiences not only improves your employees' skills, they also enhance your employees' motivational levels by improving their self esteem.
7. Create a Stimulating Environment
It's okay to have a little fun once in a while.
You will find that 30 minutes once a week engaged in some sort of competitive game, competition or quiz will repay itself 10-fold in productivity by increasing employees' self worth and therefore their motivation.
Schedule games for the end of the day so your staff can leave the office with a renewed sense of well-being.
Another alternative could be "casual dress Fridays" or the opportunity to leave work 15 minutes early thrown in from time to time.
Add any of these ideas into your business to help increase the motivation of your staff so you can experience even better results from them. They will appreciate you thinking enough of them and their abilities to implement these in your organization.