10 Ways To Stimulate Employee Motivation

May 1, 2009

Excerpted from an article by: Paul Graham 

Today’s fast-moving business environment demands that the effective manager be both a well-organized administrator and highly adept in understanding people’s basic needs and behavior in the workplace. Gaining commitment, nurturing talent, and ensuring employee motivation and productivity require open communication and trust between managers and staff. 

1. Understand their behavior.

People at work naturally tend to adopt instinctive modes of behavior that are self-protective rather than open and collaborative. This explains why emotion is a strong force in the workplace and why management often reacts violently to criticisms and usually seeks to control or “self protect” rather than take risks. In order to minimize this kind of perspective and to increase employee motivation, you want to influence behavior rather than change personalities. Insisting what you expect from your employees will only worsen the situation.

2. Be sure that people’s lower-level needs are met.

People have various kinds of needs. Examples of lower-level needs are salary, job security, and working conditions. In order to think about increasing employee motivation, you have to have already met these basic needs. Consequently, failures with basic needs nearly always explain dissatisfaction among staff. Satisfaction, on the other hand, springs from meeting higher-level needs, such as responsibility, progress, and personal growth. When satisfaction is met, chances are employee motivation is at hand.

3. Encourage pride.

People need to feel that their contribution is valued and unique. If you are a manager, look for every opportunity to tell your people how proud you are and how proud they should be of what they have accomplished. This, in turn, will encourage employee motivation among your people.

4. Listen carefully.

In many areas of a manager’s job, from meetings and appraisals to telephone calls, listening plays a key role. Listening encourages employee motivation and, therefore, benefits both you and your staff. So make an effort to understand people’s attitudes by careful listening and questioning and by giving them the opportunity to express themselves.

5. Build confidence.

Most people suffer from insecurity at some time. The many kinds of anxiety that affect people in organizations can feed insecurity, and insecurity impedes employee motivation. Your antidote, therefore, is to build confidence by giving recognition, high-level tasks, and full information. In doing so, you not only refurbish employee motivation, but boost productivity as well.

6. Encourage contact.

Many managers like to hide away behind closed office doors, keeping contact to a minimum. It is far better to keep your office door open and to encourage people to visit you when the door is open. Go out of your way to chat with staff on an informal basis. Keep in mind that building rapport with your staff will effectively increase employee motivation.

7. In strategic matters—communicate and communicate.

It is very important to inform people about strategic plans and their own part in achieving the strategies. Go out of your way to improve their understanding and to win their approval, as this will have a highly positive influence on performance, and increase employee motivation as well.

8. Develop trust.

The quality and style of leadership are major factors in gaining employee motivation and trust. Clear decision-making should be coupled with a collaborative, collegiate approach. This entails taking people into your confidence and explicitly and openly valuing their contributions. By simply giving your staff the opportunity to show that you can trust them is enough to increase employee motivation among them.

9. Delegate decisions.

Empowering your people with the power of decision-making downward motivates. Also, because the decision is taken nearer to the point of action, it is more likely to be correct. Consequently, encouraging them to choose their own working methods, make decisions, and to give them responsibility for meeting the agreed goal will encourage employee motivation among your staff.

10. Appraising to motivate.

When choosing methods of assessing your staff’s performance, know that your goal is for the end result to have a positive effect on employee motivation and increases people’s sense of self-worth. Realistic targets, positive feedback, and listening are key factors.

If you follow these simple steps in increasing employee motivation, rest assured you will have a good working relationship with your team and at the same time boost your company’s productivity. Just bear in mind that people are employed to get good results for the company. Their rates of success are intrinsically linked to how they are directed, reviewed, rewarded, trusted, and motivated by the management.

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