Negativity has never been a motivator. Employers, who choose to “ding” employees to emphasize the smallest of errors, may feel this will keep staff “on their toes.” In fact, the opposite effect occurs, and resentment insidiously builds and grows. Don’t apply the substitute teacher adage of “start out strict and ease-up later.”
A successful employer acknowledges the power of positive reinforcement and understands that employee satisfaction has a direct relation to customer satisfaction. A supervisor, a boss, a director, a “lead,” or whatever terminology your company applies, actually has a lot power. That does not necessarily mean that the employee’s job is seemingly “constantly on the line.” Further, the person the employee reports to may not even have the power to hire and fire, just “supervise.”
Some employees recognize the large responsibility their supervisors have, but few supervisors understand they have the ability to “make” someone’s day. Meaning, a “higher-up” can make or break their employees’ day.
Part of a team
Happy employees are motivated employees – employees who want to do well, do so, not because they’re afraid of their bosses, but because they feel they are part of a team, and for some places of employ, even part of a work “family.” How can employers ensure staff operates daily, out of a genuine work ethic, and not out of fear? Implement employee reward and recognition programs. If the company already has motivation programs, now may be the time to re-evaluate and “upgrade.”
Before delving into specific programs, there are “smaller,” and relatively easy elements to implement into the workplace. As a boss, arrive on time and put on that proverbial happy face. Smile and greet staff. Treat them with respect, be polite, and go out of your way to thank specific employees who have done a good job.
On the other hand, if there are issues and concerns, and especially disciplinary issues, do so in private, and do not make any obvious indications to the rest of the office of what will take place in your meeting.
Make sure everyone in the office or building or on staff or are working for you knows exactly what is expected of them, what their specific, daily duties are. Provide regular feedback, but make sure that feedback always begins with what is going well. Be careful and considerate when you reprimand. Be supportive. Provide praise, and when you have to, provide progressive and appropriate discipline.
Keep Communication Lines Open
Clear communication is incredibly important – not only should you make clear what duties are, but how those duties are executed. If assignments are not properly presented, you clearly tell staff what they need to do, in a supportive, communicative way.
Motivate staff through employee reward and recognition by articulately indicating the kinds of promotions available, based on the employees’ level or position. Find out what your employees see in their future, what aspirations they might have, if any.
Promotions can be a direct raise (literal and figurative), a move to a different department that the employee has expressed interest in, a new situation or a new leadership position. With today’s technology, some employees may feel rewarded (if their job allows it) by being able to telecommute – if not full time, then part-time, or even one or two days weekly.
Regular meetings (keep them short!) with an emphasis on presenting company news and positive reinforcement are a terrific way to motivate employees. Leave ten minutes at the end of the meeting for Q&A. Create an environment that awards employees. Let them know how important they are to the operations of the company.
Positive morale is personally motivating: a staff full of employees who are each individually motivated will work best in a team environment. And, it all starts with you, the boss.