For the business owner, employee motivation cannot be underestimated. A happy employee not only provides a better representation of the company to the clients and customers, but when employees are motivated they are both more productive and the office environment is more pleasant.
There are many factors that will effect employee motivation, but we’ll focus on five keys to employee motivation that we believe are foundational.
#1 – The Attitude of Upper Management
Being the owner of an organization does not leave you exempt from being accountable to your own attitude.
The old adage, “If mom ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy,” applies in the workplace as well. Company culture is created from the top down. If upper management is consistently rushing around the office stressed out, on edge, and easily frustrated, then a tense, fearful, stressed out environment will be created.
Motivation based on fear works for a season…a short season. A tense, fearful environment will cause employee motivation to waiver. However, an encouraging, excellence-driven environment, where good is praised and needed change is appropriately addressed without emotional undercurrents, will produce an increase in employee motivation.
#2 – Ethical Environment
Business ethics not only protect the company, but a high standard of morality in the workplace also aids in employee satisfaction. In any relationship, whether person-to-person or organization-to-person, trust is a key element to keeping things as they should be.
If an employee does not trust that the company will make the right decision and especially if he or she has just cause to mistrust the organization’s ethics, an overarching uncertainty will begin to cloud the air. High ethical standards will take the “guessing” out and make the overall experience better.
#3 – Checks and Balances
How is money spent? How are salaries and pay increases determined? These things matter. No matter how much the importance of confidentiality is stressed, word has a tendency to get around. If pay rates are unfair and unbalanced, resentment can set in.
Human resource departments are excellent in helping with this and establishing appropriate boundaries and checks and balances. In the same way corporate authority and employee preference based on status, attraction or any myriad of reasons should be scrutinized appropriately.
#4 – Freedom and Deliberate, Moderated Delegation
An employee with passion, drive, and a good head on their shoulders will become discouraged if never empowered. At the same time an employee with drive, passion, and a good head on their shoulders should also be walked alongside of as they are empowered.
When empowering your employees:
- Give employees the freedom to get a job done (no breathing down their necks).
- Provide employees with the right level of support to get the job done well, including information, training, resources, and so on.
- Hold employees accountable to produce the outcomes needed.
#5 – Play to the Strengths of Your People
If you are hiring well, you are hiring people that are strong. However, it is not only important to hire strong people, but it is equally important to play to their greater strengths. Strengths Finder 2.0 is a book by Tom Rath that discusses an idea that has been backed by substantial research:
“Do you have the opportunity to do what you do best every day? Chances are, you don’t. All too often, our natural talents go untapped. From the cradle to the cubicle, we devote more time to fixing our shortcomings than to developing our strengths.”
When an employee is operating within his or her strengths, he or she is generally much happier and fulfilled.
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