Five proven ways to motivate employees

Employees need motivation, but for employers, knowing HOW to do that can be a challenge. There are plenty of small gestures, crafty tricks, and well hyped methods. Unfortunately, without the right implementation and thoughtful application, those efforts are likely a waste of time and money.

Save the headache. Here are five proven ways to motivate employees.

Five proven ways_In Article

1. Be curious. Managers should sit down privately with direct reports and give them the opportunity to share career goals and life goals, both short term and long term. When employees are genuinely asked what they want, having someone who authentically listens builds trust, strengthens bonds with the company, and gives insights that will inform and bolster strategic plans.

2. Embrace superpowers. The best teams balance the strengths of each worker. One person could be fantastic at managing details while another has an exceptional understanding of the big picture. Managers should examine team members for their superpowers, then empower employees to focus and develop them.

3. Find the need. Every employee at any organization is there because the company needs them to do a job, broadly speaking. Knowing underserved areas and the strategic roadmap will give managers the opportunity to fill gaps. Refer back to each employee’s goals and superpowers, then find where those match up with the business needs. Chances are more than a few employees have talents wasted in their current roles. Increase their satisfaction and the value of their contribution by getting people in the rights roles.

4. Provide resources. Managers must take the initiative to not only ask team members whether they need resources or support but to proactively suggest and provide it. By asking workers what their biggest accomplishments and disappointments are, supervisors will gain insights into operations, processes, collateral, and relationships. This can help uncover what employees really want. Perhaps what they want most is support and flexibility. Give workers the opportunity to earn perks such as working from home or working flexible hours while ensuring continued productivity through accountability and performance management. 

5. Be honest. As much as we would like to give employees freedom and accelerate their careers, it must be tempered with reality. Some jobs simply must be done during certain hours or in a specific environment. The potential for promotions or juggling workloads will be defined by the size of the company and business growth. Managers must lead open, honest conversations that gives context and consideration to decisions. Employees will become resentful if they feel like they are being denied something arbitrarily or dismissed. With an explanation, they will feel seen and heard even if you cannot give them everything they want. That will make them less likely to leave.

Managers and organizations will benefit with a proven process that not only facilitates this kind of employee coaching but documents and encourages it as well.

Jessica Bowers is a certified Coach2 for Catalytic Coaching Inc, which is a business partner of Energage, a Philadelphia-based employee survey firm. Energage is The Washington Post’s survey partner for Top Workplaces.

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