3 Proven Actions Managers Can Take to Motivate Their Employees
Employee motivation is one of the most critical challenges managers have today.
Newer employee generations, together with evolution of technology, force managers to find different ways to keep their teams 'giving their best', since the ways used in the past are not working any longer.
But one critical element is missed by many: motivation is about people, and any sustainable motivation has to come more from the inside of each individual, and less from external stimuli.
Although the subject of motivation is very complex, I am providing in this video three practical actions managers can start taking today to increase the motivation of their employees.
To your growth and success.
Motivation is one of the top concerns managers have today, in the sense that it looks like there is nothing in the world being able to motivate our employees.
And that reflects in many different aspects at the workplace, like lack of speed on doing something, like of accuracy, low levels of initiative from our employees, low levels of cooperation, lack of discipline…
So, how do you motivate your employees to improve in all these areas to achieve higher levels of results?
Well, the subject of motivation is really complex, as everything related to human psychology. So, not having myself a degree in psychology, and not having worked in that environment during my professional life, it would be very arrogant if I would try to teach you something about the theory of motivation.
So my purpose in that video is much more humble. My purpose is just to share with you what worked for me. What I did that I think helped increase the motivation of my employees.
So, I will share with you three specific actions that I took, that the helped me tremendously to increase the motivation of my employees.
And how did I get to that, to those actions? Well, the process that I followed was: I learned from what it worked from my managers and mentors with me, as an employee.
So, what they did with me that helped motivate me to do my best, to get more involved in what I did, to learn faster, to achieve better results; then, I tried to translate that into my relationship with my employees.
So here are the three steps that I think every manager should start implementing today.
Action number one, you need to get to know your employees at a deeper level.
You have to connect with them, with the person behind the professional you have in front of you. You have to listen to them, to their ambitions, to their problems, to their dreams.
You have to create, by doing that, the space in which they will be able to come to you, seek for guidance and support, and they will feel heard.
They will feel appreciated by you, but you have to do that process genuinely. You cannot fake it. You have to be curiously interested in the person behind the professional in front of you.
That's the step number one. Unfortunately, many professionals, many managers just take the people in front of them, the employees, as professionals, and they don't care too much about the person behind it.
I worked in one organization for two years with one specific manager. And, in two years, he was not interested at all, he didn't know, if I was married, I had a family, where I was going on vacation, what I expected from my professional life, nothing. He just wanted the results of my work as a professional.
It's very difficult to motivate the person If you don't know the person.
Action number two. You as a manager, have to align what the company needs with what the employee needs, as much as possible.
Of course, that will not be overlapping 100% all the time, but it's better that you align it as much as possible.
- if one employee seeks for security at work, try to provide guidance and job places where they are more secure, avoiding huge transition and changes.
- if one employee is a fast learner, involve him or her in different projects and trainings,
- if an employee wants more money, because it's a priority, tell him or her how he can get more money in the organization, and so on.
So try to align, as much as possible, what the employee needs with what the company needs. It will not be perfect a 100%, but the more you align it, the more you will motivate the person behind.
I have a personal experience here in the sense that when I was a junior engineer working for IBM, my dream was to have an international assignment. I wanted to go abroad to meet other people, learn from other cultures, other environments, rather than develop myself only locally.
Well, that opportunity took a while to come, but in the meantime, I had a conversation with one colleague of mine, and I was telling her about, enthusiastically probably, I was telling her about how I would like to have that international experience. And, at one point in time, she stopped me and she said, you know, if the company would ask me to go abroad, I would resign and I will leave the company, because I want to stay here forever, locally.
So, here you see, two very close profiles of professionals, similar age, similar area of activity, similar University degrees, and totally different dreams and purpose in life.
So, if the company is not able to catch these differences, we'll never be able to motivate the employees as they should.
And, the action number three is, once you have ‘got to know your employee’ at a deeper level, and you have tried to align the job with what the company needs, you have to fill the job with content, empower them, to take decisions, to see the big picture, the impact of what they do with the result of the company, delivering service to their customers.
If they see that big picture, that would empower them, and that would motivate them to keep taking actions and to keep progressing and doing a better job, more than if they just see the job as repetitive, empty content, empty kind of job description.
I have here one story that I like very much, that is: over one visit that president John Kennedy did to NASA headquarters in 1961, when they were getting ready to put a man on the moon, at one point in time at the end of the visit John Kennedy happened to meet a janitor on the corridor, one janitor who was mopping flops. And Kennedy asked the janitor, “what are you doing here so late?”, and the janitor said, “Mr. President, I'm helping to put a man on the moon”.
His job was not mopping floors, his job had a higher purpose. Don’t you think that this is motivating enough for a janitor to do his best at his workplace?
So these are the three actions that they worked very well for me. And I would recommend you to give a try if you did not try them already.
And yes, you have guessed, salary increase is not among the top actions that you can use. Increasing salaries will give just short-term motivation. And then motivation will finish when the employee will get used to that small increase in salary that you can give to them.
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Thank you very much for listening today. Take care.