ask you a question...
motivates you and your employees?
believe that money is the most effective motivator.
is that this method gets expensive and doesn't work
as well as positive, non-monetary motivators. There
are other positive motivators that excite many employees
even more than money: recognition, prestige, achievement,
sincere appreciation, pride in a job well done, a
voice in how the business is run, responsibility,
advancement, and other participative methods that
foster a sense of camaraderie and teamwork.
other side of the motivational coin is negative motivators
that rely on instilling fear or insecurity in the
criticizing, belittling, threatening, embarrassing,
and baiting the employee all constitute negative motivators.
They may "move" the employee to action in
the short run, but often have dire intermediate and
long-term results on employee attitude, motivation,
competence and retention.
is that positive motivation leads to a more effective
group effort and will increase productivity by building
that "can do" team feeling.
experts such as Herzberg, Maslow, Vroom and Hersey
agree that employees are motivated more effectively
for long-term periods when management uses positive
versus negative motivators, non-monetary versus monetary
motivators and personal managerial power versus position
Carnegie was once asked...
element was most important for the success of a business:
labor, capital or brains?" His reply was a question,
"Which leg of a three legged stool is most important?"
The three legs of our stool for positively motivated
team of employees are:
the best people.
2. Train, train, train.
3. Communicate constantly.
managerial components set the stage for the appropriate
implementation of positive, non-monetary motivators
in the workplace.
THE BEST PEOPLE
football coach is hired to push a losing team to victory,
he is often faced with problematical variables.
may be a fantastic motivator, but the existing team
management and players may have opposing views of
how to motivate. Often, a changing of the guard is
in order - out with the old, in with the new - as
others replace the perceived plodders with philosophies
similar to the new coach's. A great coach accompanied
by mediocre team talent does not make a winning team.
If only one leg of the stool is sturdy, the stool
thrust of this article is on positively motivating
current employees--little will be said about the recruiting/hiring
phase. It is important, though, because starting with
the best people makes the job of motivating easier.
Hiring the best people means you can spend less time
handling problems and replacing employees that don't
work out because the hiring decision wasn't well thought
out. This gives you more time to do the real work
of motivation: training and communication.
cost of a poor recruiting program is that you won't
be able to afford top recruits if you have poor productivity
and profits from previous bad recruits. The wrong
person in the right job simply cannot be motivated
for the long-term nor can the right person in the
wrong job be motivated for the long-term. It is clear
then that a solid recruiting program is an essential
leg in the three-legged stool of motivation.
It is somewhat
amusing to watch companies who have spent large amounts
of time and money recruiting and training employees
trading those employees like baseball cards.
trade baseball cards they hope to get more in return
than they gave up. What they usually find is that
what they get is neither better nor worse, just different.
is with employees.
trade employees, they find that they've traded one
set of problems and talents for another. There is
no such thing as the perfect employee, but there are
perfectly trainable employees. Ben Franklin once said,
"An investment in education pays the best dividends."
It is still true today. The return on your training
dollar can be significant, if the training is appropriate,
adequate, and properly done.
training refers to teaching people the right skills
for the job they do. Most companies do a fairly good
job with the technical skills, but they forget the
people skills and self-management skills that complete
the training triangle. Each job requires a slightly
different mix of the three skills, but every job requires
skills include the communication skills of listening,
questioning (interviewing), feedback, and other interpersonal
skills. Self-management skills include goal setting,
time management, organization, stress management and
other self-directional skills.
training means constant training.
cannot be over trained. Once they've mastered their
job, keep them motivated and growing by cross training.
Employees will be more valuable to the company and
feel better about themselves. Cross training will
keep them from getting bored with the daily repetition
and will challenge them to grow and expand their skills.
They will have a more "holistic" view of
the company, its functions, and its people that will
increase their capacity for creativity.
employees are promoted, they will be better managers
because of their higher skill levels and broader view
of the company. You set an expectation for constant
growth through cross training and encourage your employees
to explore the unknown. When market conditions change
you will have more options for shifting staff because
of better competence levels in several different areas.
the opportunities for vertical training to strengthen
the organization and motivate employees are often
common form of vertical training is delegation, where
a manager shares some of his/her responsibilities
with subordinates. While this is a very effective
method of motivating, it should be taken even further.
subordinate to actually do your job for a week or
a month to get a real feeling for the kinds of decisions
you make and the ramifications they have. You might
be surprised by some of the creative solutions they
come up with to solve your problems. Some companies
periodically rotate subordinates through the boss's
job to keep both sides sharper. Often, the boss will
trade jobs with a subordinate.
vertical training opportunity that is often missed
is letting an employee work for a while on a job that
is "lower" than his/ hers.
might work in order entry or order fulfillment (the
warehouse) or an accountant could work on the assembly
line or drive a truck for a time. The advantages for
team building and motivating will surprise you. You'll
be amazed at how your employees will jump at these
opportunities if you let them know that their old
job will be there when they come back. Sometimes it's
even possible to keep them in their current job full-time
and take the other job part-time, or one day per week.
training means bite-sized training with one level
of expertise building upon another. The four stages
of bite-sized training are:
1. Ignorance - the employee doesn't know
how to do a task or even what the task is.
Awareness - the employee still cannot do the task,
but he knows what is expected of him.
Practice - the employee makes many mistakes striving
to master the details of the task.
Knowledge - the employee has perfected his performance
so that it becomes habitual.
employee passes through all four stages of learning
a given task, then and only then is he ready for the
introduction of another task bite sized and easier
leg of the motivational stool is critical because
competence creates confidence. You can play a key
role here by letting the employees know he's done
a good job. Confidence is an internal motivator. Competence
also lowers the employee's stress level and lower
stress levels translate into a higher productivity
and creativity as well as improved attitude.
demotivates employees faster than a feeling of being
ignored. If they feel that no one cares about them
or their contribution to the company, they will "shut
down" and do just enough to get by.
their opinions are sought, they will work enthusiastically
to improve productivity and to show their ideas can
work. You'll have a better "team feeling",
management credibility will go up, and you'll have
a better handle on your employees' current attitudes,
motivations and situations. You'll be in a better
position to head off possible problems and conflicts
and avoid costly downtime spent handling these situations.
You'll also be in a better position to access the
training opportunities we discussed earlier.
communication can take many forms.
managers view performance appraisals as a "have
to" project, rather than a positive opportunity
to review training needs and to set mutual goals
for future performance. Appraisals can focus on
day-by-day, minute-by-minute feedback on performance
aimed at motivation. Strokes for positive behavior
and training for negative behavior is the rule.
employees their opinions on management policy, customer
procedures, suppliers, systems and anything else
that might improve productivity or morale. Take
some time to talk to them about life outside of
work as well as their personal philosophies and
employees what you see in the near and distant future
for the company. Talk about new markets and products
you're considering, changes in personnel or procedures,
new equipment purchases and anything else you can
think of. It is difficult to over inform an employee.
employees talk, pay attention. One idea could be
the ticket to the company's whole future.
Listening between the lines.
for changes in body language, speech patterns and
habits. These can be valuable clues for tuning into
the "real message."
Open door policy.
ideas have been lost because the process for getting
them to the right person was cumbersome. Good ideas
should be able to get through immediately. Clear
the roadblocks and let the employees know you want
their ideas. Then reward them for the ones that
are used. Rewards should be given according to the
value of the idea.
Improvement Meetings). Send your employees to breakfast
or lunch - with two catches - THEY discuss ways
to improve productivity and YOU pay for the meal.
This often works well when you can mix people from
different work teams, departments, or divisions
to get fresh input from those who aren't mired in
OVER - REHIRE YOUR EMPLOYEES EVERY SIX MONTHS
Your organization is in a constant state of flux.
The company, people, work environment, and jobs change.
We are not suggesting that you go through the whole
recruiting process again, but we suggest that you
simulate one portion of it: the career interview.
interview is a semi-formal meeting where you sit with
one employee at a time and just "shoot the breeze."
The goal is to get to know the employees just a little
bit better. Learn about his/her goals and aspirations
and how they are being met. Talk about their future
and their current expectations of you. Ask about family,
personal, and career goals. Ask them about how they
feel they fit into the company and how well the company
meets their needs.
the work itself and whether it's stimulating, challenging
and worthwhile. Then ask anything else you can think
of or discuss whatever they want to talk about. You'll
both feel better about yourselves, your careers, and
your company when you've had a good career interview.
As a manager,
it's your job to respond to those needs and feelings
expressed in the career interview. Do your best to
meet those needs and you'll have a motivated team
that want to excel.
make a significant impact on employee morale and productiveness
by positively motivating them to do their best. Discover
what excites them. Create the proper environment to
facilitate the power of positive, non-monetary motivators.
1. Hire the best.
2. Train, train, train.
3. Communicate constantly.
hired the best talent, utilize in-depth, cross and
vertical training to maximize individual growth and
motivation. Communicate constantly through the use
of performance appraisals, questioning/ feedback skills,
future projections, listening, listening between the
lines, open door policy, work improvement meetings,
and the career interview.
share these experiences when you've reinforced your
three-legged stool. They and you will better understand
the occasional bad times. The good times, on the other
hand, may even surpass your expectations.