You love what you do, and you’re good at it. Most likely, your employees are good at their jobs too, or they wouldn’t be there. That said, what are you doing to keep those individuals motivated, satisfied and happy, so they continue to engage and give 100% (or more)? How do you keep them from becoming robots: coming to work each day, punching the clock, doing only what they’re asked and leaving at 5 pm? Or worse, leaving the company?
At its simplest, employee motivation is that “thing” you can do to keep your employees committed, creative and wanting to do their best work. Not all employees share the same motivation. Some are intrinsically motivated, while others are motivated extrinsically. Intrinsically motivated employees are driven by internal rewards, i.e. their motivation to work harder, to be more creative and to stick around comes from within the individual because it is internally rewarding to them and makes them happy. Compare this with extrinsic motivation, which covers employees who engage in those positive behaviors to earn rewards or avoid punishments.
So what are thoserewards? You’ll be happy to know that an employee survey conducted by George Mason University showed that when it comes to motivation, cash is not king. In fact, in this study, it was a distant fifth. The first four were :
- Interesting work. Consider cross-training your staff as a way to give them new outlooks, and include stretch work that is a step above, or in a different direction from, their current positions. Find out what they want to do while they’re in the company. They may have interests that could lead to a new niche or creative new avenues of customer service or marketing.
- Appreciation from management. Don’t underestimate the value of a warm handshake, eye contact and thespecific mention of a job well done. Even something small, like thanking your staff by bringing in bagels on a random morning can be a small token of your appreciation.
- Feeling well informed. Obviously, you can’t tell employees everything, but leaving them out of the loop unnecessarily makes them feel expendable. Keeping them informed lets them feel that their presence matters.
- Job security. With so many people losing their jobs, this is more important than ever. If you can honestly assure employees that your company isn’t planning layoffs, do so. Easing their anxiety will increase their loyalty and their productivity.
What motivates your employees?
Unfortunately, motivating employees is far from an exact science. It’s as individual as each person who works for you. For some it’s a bonus, for others a day off and for others, just saying thank you in front of the CEO might be what they need. In reality, to best motivate your team, you need to thoroughly understand each person in your organization and know what drives him or her to do their best work. If you manage a large team, that’s probably close to impossible.
As a result, many organizations find that a hybrid system of job design and a reward system that combines both internal and external rewards is best and results in employees’ increased longevity, improved productivity and better morale. If you can strike that balance, you’re well on your way to keeping a happy, engaged, hardworking workforce.