April 20, 2020

Motivating Employees

There is increasing recognition that employees are motivated first and foremost by a fundamental need for purpose and meaning in their work.  Obviously, you can’t pay someone peanuts and expect the best. But once employees are satisfied that their compensation is fair, the rest comes down to managers and how well they are able to engage the staff. To get that engagement, employees need to believe in the business and the management.

Forty years of research support this view, according to the bestselling book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. For many jobs—where creativity and initiative are required—a focus on reward-and-punishment approaches not only doesn’t work in getting the best from employees but can also frequently do harm.

In becoming a better leader, one of the toughest challenges for many entrepreneurs is finding the right balance between exercising managerial control and truly delegating authority to employees. Yet, delegating responsibility is a key to both generating sustainable growth and empowering employees.

While perks like official fun days are eye-catching, good companies are careful to protect its culture by focusing on managing HR fundamentals in areas such as hiring and compensation.

Walk the talk

Good recruitment practices are critical. To attract the best people, you need to start with competitive wages and benefit packages, relative to the local economy. Then set the ground rules for employees and diligently monitors performance.

You have to make your expectations clear. Weak players can poison the workplace quickly and bring down staff morale.  Accordingly, a company cannot shy away from tough decisions.  If someone does not fit in, it must be dealt with quickly. A team doesn’t want to be bogged down by the drama that can happen in the workplace.  However, it is important that entrepreneurs have to be prepared to back up inspiring words with sustained action.

The commitment to staff well-being and community is not just talk, but something that the partners live and breathe. The culture starts at the top. You can read all the concepts in the world, but unless you’re modelling them, they won’t work.

10 tips for Successful Employee Motivation

  1. Treat people as individuals, not commodities.
  • Take the time to choose the right people, but be prepared to make tough decisions if they don’t fit in. When in doubt, out.
  • Communicate, communicate, communicate. It’s the most effective and cheapest way to boost employee engagement.
  • Make your expectations clear to employees and be clear on what your employees can expect from you.
  • Build your culture as you grow.
  • If you want to grow, you have to let go. Reduce micromanagement and start delegating.
  • Focus on quality rather than speed when growing the company.
  • Managers are trained, not born. They can be the strongest or weakest link in an organization. Train them well.
  • Clearly define and communicate your vision as well as your HR philosophy, strategy and processes.

Employees perform better when engaged, appreciated and inspired. That comes from the top and has to be genuine. Walk the talk.