The Secret of Workplace Motivation

Use This Most Important Employee Motivation Success Tip to Motivate Employees

CMulticultural Coworkers with Laptop
Work Should Be Fun and Motivating. Aiden-Franklin / iStockphoto

The most important brainstorm you will ever experience about employees and motivation is to realize that you can’t do it for people. As a manager or coworker, no matter how hard you try, people choose on their own whether to experience motivation at work.

You can’t motivate others. You can only choose motivation for yourself. It is recommended for success and happiness at work. Days speed quickly by and you are engrossed in activities you enjoy.

Challenges multiply because you are excited. You set and achieve challenging goals. You feel good about yourself and your self-esteem swells.

Choose motivation. If you find you can’t, seek out the career and job changing resources on TheBalance.com. Or, read about how to deal with a bad boss. Don’t freeze in place. You really can do better than this.

Thoughts for Managers and Supervisors

If you can't cause employees to experience motivation, is there anything that a manager or supervisor can do to encourage employees to experience motivation at work? The answer to this question is that there is a whole lot that you can do.

Every time employers do an exit interview with an employee they would really have liked to have retained, they realize that people leave supervisors or managers more often than they leave employers or jobs. They also leave workplaces where they see no opportunity for advancement and where their career progress is not assured.

If you're not paying attention to the quality of management employees receive in your organization, your door will become a revolving door. Your very best employees who know that they have options are the first to leave.

Actions Managers Can Take That Will Support Employee Motivation and Retention

Thinking about employee motivation, here are some of the supervisory actions that cause people to stay with you as an employer.

In work environments where factors such as these don't exist, employees are much more likely to leave their jobs.

  • You need to pay attention to employees and help them feel important. This involves asking them how they are doing, thanking them for their efforts, and keeping commitments you've made to them. The more that you can do to help employees increase their self-esteem and the feelings of self-efficacy they experience, the better able they are to contribute successfully. 
  • Employees need to know that you value them and that they are respected as fellow humans. A phrase that is often cited to explain this phenomenon is "we are all equal as people, we just have different jobs." Think about this as you interact with your reporting staff.
  • Keeping commitments is as simple as attending a scheduled meeting rather than postponing it because everything else is more important. The employee will feel as if everything else is more important.
  • Recognition is a key factor in employee motivation and people like to hear words of praise from their boss. They also enjoy their manager offering sincere thank yous to them for their approaches, accomplishments, and contributions.
  • You need to provide solid direction so your staff knows that they are accomplishing important goals. One of the complaints heard most frequently from employees who are unhappy about having a bad boss is that the boss did not provide clear expectations and direction. Employees who don't have clear direction are never sure about how they are performing. Not knowing how you are performing is a barrier to making improvements.
  • The power of a supervisor's feedback cannot be overemphasized. Employees, especially millennials, like feedback every day. They prefer specific feedback that reinforces the contributions the organization needs from them.
  • Provide staff the opportunity to learn, grow and make career progress. In any study of employee engagement and motivation, a career path and knowing where they are going in their career opportunities are important to employees. Again, millennials, who are used to full schedules and solid direction, need this the most of all of your employee groups.
  • Finally, help employees feel like members of the “in-crowd.” This means that they want to know what is happening as quickly as everyone else—and—even earlier, if possible. This includes knowing the overall goals and direction, of your organization, understanding where their job fits within the bigger picture, and understanding the development of and changes to overall company strategy.

    Do all of these activities wisely and well and you’ll be viewed as a positive, motivating supervisor or manager and you'll keep your best staff. Employees want to work in the environment described in these eight important points. Employees, after all, are adults and want to contribute and feel good about doing their jobs.

    If you follow these recommendations, you can create a workplace in which employees are more likely to choose motivation.

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