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How are employees motivated?   

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Ever wondered how you can create a holistic space for the employees to succeed or flourish? 

Or has it ever occurred to you whether your employees feel heard or acknowledged? 

A hypothetical situation – Imagine a stellar employee named Sylvia from XYZ company, who is overpowered by the mountains of work, does all the paperwork, but her superiors hurl her with insults like- No matter how many times she reworks on a project, it just isn’t up to snuff.” With this, she feels demotivated and bereft of proper guidance. Soon after, she confronts her manager, who helps her with the nitty and gritty of the project instead of speaking ill of her.  Shortly, she takes up a work, where managers applaud her and say- Sylvia’s report did have quite necessary data to cut the mustard.” And yet, this way, she feels heard, acknowledged and motivated. 

Fact-  While money and benefits are important, a study found that they don’t top the list of motivating factors. Instead, some of the most important factors tended to be peer motivation (20) and feeling encouraged and recognized (13%).

Unquestionably, we have been moaning and groaning for decades, about how one should motivate their employees, by not just bombarding them with rewards or incentives, but with utmost dignity and respect. Instead of adopting a crab mentality and reciting to them with utterances like; while you are working here, that behaviour isn’t going to fly, you should motivate them by saying you rose to the occasion and hit a jackpot. 

Hence, let us pay a closer look at ways to motivate employees.  

Strategies for employee motivation 

The following are some of the ways, that will motivate the employees in the organisation- 

  1. Create a good work environment 

In many ways, employee motivation is bribed based on decent salaries and incentives. But, what if the work culture is not as holistic and empowering as it should be?

 Would any employee continue to work in such firms, where investing efforts do not contribute to any growth? 

Indeed, such are the rhetorical questions, and you know the answer yourself. 

Consider an example – An employee named Akash, acquires a job at ABC firm, where he gets a salary package of 12Lakhs per annum.  Soon after, he joins the office, spends a week and realises that the work culture here is extremely negative, unlike his expectations. He realizes that the bosses are hostile, and employees are aggressive along with a toxic work environment, where they force him to work for longer hours with zero recognition and growth. Hence, he remains dissatisfied and wishes to resign from the company. 

Yet, such a situation is one of the biggest roadblocks to a healthy work environment. No one wants to work in a setting, which is not only negative but equally stiff. Such a thing incites agitation and anger, which in turn contributes to the poor mental health of the employees. Toxic work culture will affect psychological well-being, and lead to greater job dissatisfaction. 

On the contrary, good workplace culture is going to make the employees feel content and happy. It will lift their spirits, boost their productivity and motivate them to the fullest. 

2. Share positive feedback 

From getting things ahead of the curve to enjoying the evening tea with the employees, job satisfaction can ascend in plenty of ways. Nonetheless, what fuels the enthusiasm in employees is the valuable feedback shared or discussed in the weekly meetings. For instance, one can recheck whether; the employees hit the nail on the head( meaning, to do the right thing ) when they announced that they would adopt a different approach to catapult better growth this year. If not, one can provide them with encouraging feedback and guide them on the same. 

Besides this, as a manager or a boss, let your employees know-

  •  If they are doing the right thing? 
  • And if not, where is the scope of improvement?
  • Allow them to voluntarily take up projects, or devise innovative ways to undertake these tasks.  Remember, your job is to guide them, not restrict them. Yet, support their creativity and allow them to yield good results in the right ways. 

Example – An employee has initiated a new project, but he is constantly juggling this current initiative as well as his daily job role. To manage things effectively, he decides to put the project on the back burner until he finishes his daily duties. Soon, the Manager realises and gives him a suggestion which encourages him to prioritise the project, while supporting him to work on this newly formed idea. Now, once he finishes this task, his superiors are thoroughly impressed and even render positive feedback for his unparalleled hard work. Yet, such is how he feels motivated and inspired. 

3. Recognize their contributions and show Appreciation 

Indeed, someone rightly mentioned how; Motivating employees is not like a carrot and stick, meaning; incentives or rewards do not serve as a favourable bait( for long-term motivation) nor does it imbue their minds with a healthy work ethic. But what is even more tempting is recognising the contributions of the employees, in a way that they feel valued and appreciated. 

Moreover, the greatest morale booster is to be able to mould the efforts of the employees in the best possible ways. Make sure you do not underestimate the efforts of your team and applaud them for their consistent dedication, as and when needed.  

Before you begin to recognise the efforts of your teammates, start by asking yourself the following questions-

  • Who went ahead and did the task to meet the strict deadline?
  • Who took care of the implementation and execution of the project?
  • Who did a pep talk and inspired its team members to get the job done? 

And yet, having hard-working employees who have been associated with your company for a while, is indeed a great plus. Nonetheless, what seems even more important is motivating the employees, whenever they face hindrances in work while inspiring success. As a manager or a boss, one needs to recognise their efforts and give rise to a healthy work environment. Furthermore, whenever you glimpse that employees have been working hard on a certain project, make them feel recognised. Because, when you do, it energises them to continue working hard. Hence,  it is essential to reciprocate your gratitude toward your employees. 

Also Read: Top leadership books for Female CEOs

4. Be respectful, Transparent and honest.

Undeniably, respect, transparency and honesty are the hallmarks of any institution. These core values determine and speak volumes about great management and serve as its foundation. For instance, every other organisation needs supportive leaders and managers, who besides managing tasks, can stimulate the employees to exploit every opportunity in desirable ways.  In the light of this,  leaders can motivate their team, by being a good listener, effective communicator, honest etc. 

Now, let us shed some light on how managers can win the trust of employees- 

  • Give enough credit to your employees– It is to be noted that employers should drill their minds with an ability to embrace the team’s efforts for their hard work(more often). For instance, a study reveals that employees, who are likely to receive recognition from their managers, were considerably more likely to trust them. Hence, we should preach this idea and aim for a fulfilling workplace. 
  • Leaders should admit their mistakes-  It is indeed cumbersome to put forth bad news in front of the employees, but what is even more difficult is admitting one’s mistake. However, transparency and honesty should lie at the very heart of the team. In addition, admitting mistakes is likely to inject trust amongst the employees. Even psychologists claim it under the Pratfall effect. It implies that accepting your mistakes and admitting them, makes you more human, and a great leader. 
  • Treat your employees with respect- In most cases, managers have a habit of seeing their employees based on the amount of work received from them. These leaders fail to recognise them as their co-workers and are blinded by the air of competition. Undeniably, they submerge the employees with overpowering work, which makes them struggle for longer hours. And, such a work environment is nothing but toxic.  Hence, it is to be noted that employers should be rational and respectful. They should treat them with the utmost respect and allow them to do their best. And if they trust you, they will surely go an extra mile for you. 

Final thoughts 

We conclude that employee motivation arises from several factors including; recognition, appreciation, and treating each other with respect. While it also feels necessary to create a healthy and fulfilling workplace, that boosts employees’ productivity and allows them to grow. Make sure to treat them with pure admiration and utmost dignity, which in turn will bridge the gap and build trust between the manager and their co-workers. Hence, such is how employee motivation can help in carving great professional relationships. 

Learning about employee motivation and leadership is an ongoing process, one needs to develop the right attitude and mindset to lead people in the right direction. Reading leadership books and learning from others’ experience can really help you to grow. You can start by selecting a book that is right for you from a list of famous leadership books

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