How can you motivate your employees, so that they meet business goals and objectives and give their best at work? Or, looking at motivation from a different perspective, how can you inspire employees, so that they’ll embrace change; and, also, develop a growth mindset?
Regardless of the goal you may have in mind, both questions suggest that, as a manager, team leader — or any other role you may be holding — you’re capable of inducing certain behaviors, for employees to act in specific ways.
And, though there is no formula for moving people, there are things you can do in the hope of instilling healthy or desired employee attitudes and behaviors. Let’s find out more!
What is it that motivates people?
Motivation is, by definition, the reason one has for acting or behaving in a particular way. It’s the stimulus and the inspiration behind our actions. And, as human motivation theories suggest, people get motivated by trying to satisfy one or more of the following intrinsic needs:
- Acquiring: the need to obtain tangible and intangible goods
- Bonding: the need of belonging
- Comprehending: the desire to explore the world around us, learn and grow and satisfy our curiosity
- Defending: the need to defend and protect ourselves and our “world” from threats
Everything we do in our personal and professional life is driven by these aforementioned needs – in any order – and desires.
How can we measure motivation in the workplace?
Returning to our area of focus, another question worth answering is whether we can measure motivation or not. I think you’ll agree with me; there are things that serve as measures or, much better, as indicators of motivation in the workplace. In particular, it may be quite helpful to observe; and evaluate — preferably through conversations with each one of your employees — parameters, such as engagement, satisfaction and commitment. From a practical point of view, you may need to take a closer look. Notice things such as the energy employees bring to their jobs, the overall effort they put on tasks at hand. Also, the extent to which they feel the company meets their expectations at work; and so forth.
Last but not least, another parameter that needs to be on your radar, if you want to motivate your employees, is their reluctance or their intention to quit. That is, signs that attest or, at least, designate such intentions, suggest that your overriding concern should be to do whatever it takes to motivate your employees in every possible way.
Motivate your employees, by taking care of 4 critical aspects of work life
Previously, on our blog, we’ve discussed different ways managers can help underperforming employees get back on track. Among the things we have stressed on, was the fact that when there’s a drop in an employee’s performance, this may be a sign that something is wrong with employee motivation. So, beyond doubt, motivation does make a difference in performance; but, what is it that makes a difference in employee motivation, then? Keep reading!
Fairness and motivation
Plenty of scientific research has shown that, when employees feel they are fairly treated, they’re more likely to internalize the company’s goals and values; and work towards the company’s long-term goals. There’s no doubt that taking care of a company’s values in practice, nurturing a culture that helps establish ethical behaviors — both top-down and bottom-up — is the best way to motivate your workforce.
Communication and motivation
In a similar fashion, motivation is also cultivated when there are no communication silos. And when all team members are encouraged to give feedback whenever needed; and are also offered ongoing feedback. To elaborate, when managers and team leaders provide positive feedback about how each one of the employees has improved over time, this, alone, serves as a motivator that helps drive productivity forward. Equally, when you carefully offer negative or, much better, corrective feedback to employees — appropriately — chances are, said employees will make progress, over time; while commitment and trust in managers and the company, as a whole, will grow.
Recognition and motivation
Making employees feel important and recognized is another way you should use to motivate your employees. When you recognize and reward individual performance, it’s highly likely to make their work fulfilling. Caution, though; there’s no size fits all. It may be wise to first ask or survey employees as to how they prefer to receive recognition or reward. Some prefer it to be in highly visible ways; while, others, are more likely to prefer it in private. Whatever the way, personal recognition of each one of your employees can lift up motivation and increase employee dedication.
Design of work and motivation
Last but not least, job structure, itself, is also critical when it comes to motivation in the workplace. More specifically, when employees are responsible for the outcome they produce — whatever that may be — they’ll consider their contribution to be meaningful. That is, job satisfaction is inevitable. A few concrete ways to motivate your employees, with this perspective in mind, may include enhancing the skill variety required for jobs at hand; or expanding tasks an employee is responsible for, by allowing them to complete additional sub-tasks adjacent to what they’ve been working on so far. Also, allowing job rotation whenever needed, etc.
If you’re looking for ways to motivate your employees, bear in mind that there is no absolute cause and effect between the things we discussed above and the effect they’ll have on your people. Motivation depends on the nature of the job itself; on the character and the intrinsic needs of each one of your employees. While this may be true, if you want to make people in your team work at full throttle, in the long run, focus on creating a work environment that inspires and supports your people.