8 Secrets to creating a motivated workforce

You can’t motivate people. A good analogy would be the old adage, ‘you can take a horse to water but you can’t make it drink it’. What you can do is to provide the conditions that will foster motivation in the workplace.

Last week I have been tweeting on ways to create a motivational climate at work. Here are my top 8 tips :

 1.      Exercise effective leadership

I am always amazed by how little employees know of their company’s strategy and purpose. You need to engage with your people so that know where your organisation is heading, what is its purpose and the ways in which you intend to get there. Don’t let them guess! Tell them, take them with you, inspire, motivate…

There is a lovely story (and many versions) of Jack Kennedy visiting NASA space centre back in 1962. Before heading to the boardroom he made a visit to the washroom and had a brief exchange with the janitor. When asked what his role within the company the janitor replied ‘I am helping to put a man on the moon’.

Here was someone who understood the importance of his contribution and felt that he was a valuable part of something bigger….  

2.      Be motivated yourself

You can’t expect your staff to be motivated when you are not. Enthusiasm is infectious. Spread some of it about

3.      Treating each person fairly and as an individual

Get to know your staff on an individual level. Take them out for a coffee, away from the office environment and get to know them. Find out what makes them tick and use it for mutual benefits and to maximise their potential

4.      Set realistic and stretching targets

Provide clear goals, expectations and desired outcomes with clear lines of accountability. We all work more efficiently when we understand clearly what we need to need to do and what is expected of us. Setting stretching targets and goals will help to develop your staff and reinvigorate their work appetite  

5.      Feedback

Feedback on progress helps to spur people on. Give positive and focused feedback all the time. Do it immediately as it reinforces the behaviour you want to see. Focus on specifics and describe the behaviour and its impact. When giving negative feedback ask the team member to assess himself. Get him to diagnose where he went wrong and what he would do differently next time.

6.      Delegate

 If someone can do the job just as competently as you can and is paid less, let them do it. As a leader you should be developing and growing your team so that it takes on more and more or your responsibilities. This will enable you to focus on the strategic aspects of your job and so that you can keep on developing yourself, your business and your team

7.      Communicate    Communicate    Communicate

Use a range of communication methods that are clear and timely. Keep staff informed about changes, developments, new services, products. Seek feedback and ask for ideas. Communication is not a one way system!

8.      Reward, recognise  and praise

These are key ingredients to keeping staff happy at work and none of them need to cost anything. Recognising and praising staff for good work does not need to be cheesy nor expensive. Some genuine words, a card with a well written note, a bottle of wine, cinema tickets are all inexpensive ways of showing that you value the contribution that your staff makes.

If you run a small bsuiness you would be pleased to know that  Happiest employees work for small businesses:  

  • Highest job satisfaction rate
  • Most committed and loyal
  • Most engaged by their employer
  • Most freedom to choose their working patterns
  • Fewer reports of bullying in small businesses
  • Lower stress levels
  • Less complaints about long working hours

 (What Workers Want’, YouGov +TUC 09/2008; 2,500 employees surveyed)

If you already use any of the above, or will be putting some of them to the test , I would be delighted to hear from you

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About verawoodhead

I'm an executive coach, leadership facilitator and learning & development consultant working with managers and leaders to develop the skills and behaviours to inspire performance and drive results; achieve promotion ; make successful career changes, be resilient and thrive at work. Within organisations, I help to facilitate better conversations, design learning interventions which deliver practical and lasting solutions aligned to business strategy and goals. Connect with me on Twitter @verawoodhead
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