There are multiple, worldwide organisations which are solely dedicated to bringing results to businesses that are desperate to motivate their employees. Whether it’s in order to drive sales higher or improve customer service relationships, all corporate objectives can be linked back to the will to pump up motivation levels in staff, as this is where most of the success lies for many enterprises.
As well as the employees already hired, the individuals in line for new roles may also be assessed in terms of their levels of motivation. Psychometrics and personality testing can be employed in the recruiting process to try and create a team of perfect-fit, ready, willing and motivated team members. However, this presumes that once employed, all staff will automatically relate to and be enthused by the same values and objectives of the company and of their co-workers.
How often do you truly believe this to be the case?
In an alternate world….
Having a team of universally enthused staff would surely relate to an identikit workforce, uniform in both personality and outlook. The workplace would then operate on the assumption that all employees are alike in what motivates them (money-is that enough?), and that all managerial approaches should be the same (i.e. the workforce has one issue that continues to arise and it is resolved with one solution, which is always the same solution). This in turn would mean that there is only one way to motivate your staff, which would be lovely and simplistic if it was to be true. Unfortunately, this is far from the case.
A different approach…
Approaches to motivation need to look at the work-team as a collection of several uniquely individual components, each with its own set of values, motivations and goals. Each team member will have different sets of behaviours, different needs, different decision making processes and different perceptions.
So, when faced with the prospect of motivating employees, aim first for establishing what each worker will respond to in the best way. Achieve this by asking them which rewards they would find the most valuable and which results they would find the most inspirational within their job role. Then link the two together; there you have a pathway to improving motivation levels. Using your own personal motivation pathway and applying it to others is an example of square-peg, round-hole mentality and is unlikely to succeed.
After implementing this, you will find that money is simply not enough to motivate or to eliminate disengagement in employees. The source of the motivation needs to come from the individual; they must believe that their behaviour will directly affect the required outcomes and that these outcomes will not only benefit the business, but will also benefit them personally. Make the rewards for good work reasonably accessible, the goals need to be achievable; linking goals to the values of the company will encourage repetition of the company-valued behaviours. For example, rewarding team work skills or a display of innovation from an employee is a good place to start; this is completely achievable for any member of the team and is not directly associated with remuneration, so is uniquely valuable in motivating employees.
Truly valuable rewards…
Quite simply, to allow an employee to feel undervalued is the most guaranteed way to lead to dissipating motivation levels. A reward and recognition program that simply says “good job” with a token of appreciation will work wonders and can be achieved at a low cost.
Implementing hierarchies of award schemes and assigning authorities to issue awards can be time-consuming; outsourcing the entire process is a shrewd option. Outsourcing options allow for recognition and credit to be passed to from peer to peer, as well as from those in a management position. This means that all staff become eligible for recognition; it is sometimes easy to bypass individuals who are not as visible in the workplace, yet are just as vital as any other staff member.
The process should be an on-going one, with no deadlines, only milestones for length of service and birthday celebrations, and any link to wages or financial reward should be avoided. The shape and form of the reward can very easily lie with the preference of the employee, removing the one-size-fits-all template from the scene and tailoring the process to bring out the best in your workforce through high levels of motivation.