ArLyne's Diamonds

A running commentary of ideas

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

8 Tips to Improve Employee Motivation, Morale and Involvement

1:  Make it personal

The most important tip I can offer you is to take the time to get to know each of your employees personally. People want to be recognized as individuals, not merely as part of a group. How you accomplish this will vary depending on the size of the organization you personally manage and whether people are in the same facility – state or country – as you.

Of course it is easiest if you manage less than a dozen people and they all sit within walking distance of your office. In that case, you can stop by in the morning and say “hello” and compliment them on something they are wearing (be careful it doesn’t cross the line) or ask a question about where they might have obtained a particular personal item on their desk or the poster on the wall. Of course you should also ask if there is anything they need from you. Over time, learn something about their personal lives – their families, kids, hobbies, birthday, etc. 

If you manage people that work out of their homes, or in other facilities within your state, bring them together for team meetings at least once a quarter – more if possible. Start those meetings with social time and end them with social time. Have business issues discussed – being sure to solicit their opinions – in the middle.

Unfortunately, if your people are all over the world, it’s going to be much harder. If at all possible, create an annual retreat bringing them all together. Even if you do this, or if this is not possible, spend some time on the telephone getting to know them individually.

2:  Communicate the value to society of the company and the work

Next in line of importance is for you to communicate to all your staff how important their work is to furthering the goals, values and the mission of the organization. Most employees want to feel as though their contribution is worthwhile, not just “busy-work.”

If your firm is in the business of doing something that is obviously valuable to society in some form or other, this will be an easier task for you. The further away the value appears to the average person, the more difficult this task will be for you. 

You might consider including some community service for your employees – such as participating in a walk-a-thon, a community-wide fundraising event, or as a group feeding the needy.

People need to feel good about what they are doing and the company in which they are doing it.

3:  The importance of customer service

It is your responsibility as a manager to assure that everyone understands that they are part of an organization – a large team – all of whom are responsible for achieving the overall goals of the business together. Silos need to be broken down as does the attitude that it is us against them. Encourage and reward positive internal (and external) customer service.

Where possible bring together people from different departments who have to interact with each other. I create mini-retreats of three or four hours during which people working in facilities near each other learn something personal about each other (hobbies, for example), what the other’s job really entails (walking in his shoes) and how what they do or don’t do impacts the other group.

If you are bringing people from far away – create two or three day retreats, but less frequently.

4:  Accountability and recognition

Each of us wants to be recognized for the work we do. Yes, we are usually part of a team – but as I’ve written before (and given speeches about) there is a ME in teams.  We are individuals working together. Atta-boys, awards, notices in the newsletter are all inexpensive ways you can recognize outstanding work. Don’t ruin this by making sure everyone becomes “employee of the month,” especially if it is undeserved.

Management by walking around is one of the ways you can be aware of what is being done and what isn’t being done to your satisfaction.

So, in order to be recognized, we need to have specific assignments and we need to be held accountable for the completion of these assignments in an exemplary manner.

Correct those behaviors, performance and comments that are inconsistent with the goals of the organization and the values you wish to instill.

5:  Create stretch goals and professional development

Although there are some people who prefer doing the same tasks day after day, week after week and year after year – most people get bored over time. They need to have their work varied.

So create stretch goals with them. What would they like to learn next? Can they be given higher levels of autonomy-responsibility? Should they be cross-trained so they can be promoted?

If your company can – work with your employees to create a plan for their career development which would be consistent with the succession plan needed by the firm. 

Offer opportunities for training – both internal and external.

6:  Coaching, mentoring, counseling

Whether a particular staff person needs to be coached to do better in their present job, or you see them as having potential for promotion, you might offer them one-on-one coaching, mentoring or counseling.  There is nothing better – but be careful that you pick someone competent to do the coaching, etc.

7:  Improve the working environment

Ok, I know you aren’t Google or Apple – but – you can make the environment in which you and your staff work more pleasant. Here are some ideas, some of which you may or may not be able to implement depending on your organization, funds, and rules.
  • Keep every area clean and well-lit.
  • Make sure the restrooms are serviced regularly – more often than you think.
  • Allow for personal decoration of cubicles and offices.
  • Have areas where people can join each other to brainstorm, problem-solve or just visit for a few minutes.
  • Provide the best in ergonomic seating as possible.
  • Provide the most effective technology for doing the job.
  • Treat to coffee/tea etc. during the day – have those in a break room.
  • And, of course, if you have the funds provide good meals.
8:  Listen and learn

Create frequent opportunities for employees to give you feedback. 

Good management is akin to good parenting. You are not their friend – but you should not be their enemy. There should be respect, courtesy, and a mutual desire to accomplish commonly accepted goals.

Good Luck!

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