Many of us have worked in companies where pep-talks would go something like this - "Pick up the pace and put a smile on it!" While these sort of bosses can actually create profits they were also quite skilled at hiring new employees to replace the ones that fled this abusive work environment.
Most owners understand the challenges of keeping their team focused, engaged, and motivated. More and more it is obvious that a motivated team is one where they feel encouraged, recognized and empowered. But then here is the question - how exactly do you keep your workers motivated? The answer might just surprise you.
Research on Motivation in the Workplace
When we think of ways to motivate employees, probably among the first things that come to mind include the following:
And even more surprising with this study is the fact that owners and managers ranked the "the sense of making progress " last on the list of options, which included:
- Making Progress
- Organizational Support
- Interpersonal Work
- Doing Important Work
Quite the eye-opener for both those management and those in rank and file, isn't it?
It’s not even about receiving praises for doing a fantastic job, although that kind of merit does play in encouraging workers and uplifting their spirits. But what is really motivating and meaningful to the employee is having that hard-earned sense of accomplishment as it pertains to forward progress within the work setting.
Possible Applications in the Workplace
So, the question for ownership and management becomes this: how do you apply this understanding in your own work environment? Here are some possible plans of action you could take on:
Goal Consistency and Clarity of Tasks
Foremost, when handing out tasks to an employee make sure that you’re clear and concise with what you want to be achieved. This lessens the chances of misunderstandings which could lead to frustration and slowing the work flow. Provide clear-cut goals and the necessary resources before leaving them to the work at hand.
Plotting Daily To-Dos
- Implement a “Progress Journal” that serves as a master list of To-Dos and what has already been accomplished. As the list of accomplishments grows longer a sense of real pride can begin to surface.
- This checklist can contain all types of tasks, regardless of its level of enormity or urgency. In fact, having a series of small items that are checked off one by one can provide a real boost of morale and sense of fulfillment for your staff - and for you!
- Having a clear record of who is responsible for making progress will keep your team accountable and focused on the goal.
Daily or Weekly Alignment Meetings
- In order to continue making progress, you can hold short (as in 10 minutes) alignment meetings (daily or weekly) with individuals or the entire team.
- During these Alignment Meetings, discuss what are the important tasks and goals at hand, and what area of work should each team member focus on. This will help your team keep their priorities in check. In-depth discussion for any project do not happen during these shorter meetings, but these short meeting would be a good time to determine whether a longer, full length meeting is required to get into the details.
Wins Come In Every Size
Let's just assume that you have a great team. That you love (or at least really like) everyone who works for you. Let's assume also that everyone on your team wants to do a good job and wants to be motivated. Then do your people a good turn by helping them see that they are valued, needed, and are contributing to their company's success.
Big or small, urgent or routine - any accomplishment can be recognized in a way that will make an employee feel that rush of excitement which only comes from a job well done - and being noticed for it.