Boosting Morale Through Motivation

Motivation can be defined as the willingness to do something because you want to, not because you have to.  The best managers spend time determining what motivates their employees.  Three major approaches may be to: observe their behavior, have them complete surveys, or ask for verbal feedback.  Likewise, they aim to make the workplace an environment that will promote self-motivation.

The Nature of Motivation

A manager may also find out what motivates her employees by observing how each one responds to different situations.  Those who are self-motivated may be so either to get the job done well or just to get by.  Others not only work hard, but strive to do a good job in hopes of getting a promotion.  They look for ways to increase their skills and work as efficiently as possible, while others seek their manager’s approval.  Yet, others like to compete in a friendly way with coworkers or peers to prove who performs best in their line of work.

Money motivates most workers as they work hard in hopes of receiving a salary increase.  Such employees take pride in doing what they do best.  Likewise, many are personally affected by the condition of the labor market they’re in and will work diligently to avoid the possibility of losing their jobs.

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Motivating Employees Is a Permanent Managerial Duty

While a supervisor may be highly motivated, she must not assume that whatever motivates her will also motivate her workers.  While different people are motivated by different factors, what motivates one today may not motivate them weeks from now.  For example, one week an employee will focus on achievement and the next week will want to take out a loan for a new car.  At the same time, a manager must not make assumptions on what motivates their team, but should find out by asking them.

Learning to maximize performance of staff members is a permanent part of a supervisor’s job.  Managers experience various levels of employee turnover and thus, it brings in new workers.  As new individuals join the team, their boss must get to know and understand them.  Employees need to be understood and feel like they are people rather than simply pieces of the production process.  By having a genuine concern for them, this will reflect positively on everything the supervisor does.  This does not mean that she must become a parent figure, but she must not focus only on the quality of the work being done.

Concern and understanding will not be looked at by workers as weaknesses in a manager, but as strengths.  On the other hand, being an autocratic boss may bring the desired results, but only for so long.  Over the long haul the destroyer will become the destroyed.  Some managers believe that if you are fair, concerned, and understanding, you can’t be tough when a particular situation requires or demands it.  This is not true.  By being tough, a boss’s authority becomes much more effective since it is rarely exhibited.

Team leaders must not devote their entire attention to getting to know new workers, but must continuously express gratitude toward their outstanding employees as well.  While it is crucial to bring the new staff members up to speed, the well-performing team members must not be ignored or taken for granted.  Highly proficient workers need to be occasionally praised for their performance or they might lose motivation or worse yet, leave.

Titles & Status

Sophisticated job titles don’t cost an organization anything, but must be used liberally to boost employee morale.  Naming a routine office job with a fancy title does not mean a new worker will work extra hard to maintain their performance; each worker must earn such a title.

However, a company’s morale can be increased greatly by applying professional titles to various positions.  Descriptive titles give employees a sense of well-being and positive recognition.  Companies have been known to label positions with fancy titles during a salary freeze and have received enlightened responses from workers.  Although employees knew they weren’t getting a raise, they still were uplifted with their new job title.

Instead of titles, some long-time employees receive great company perks as a means to give them a status symbol.  Perks take on many forms such as executive parking privileges, paid club memberships, company-leased automobiles, etc.  Even though these things are not so important, they raise employees’ aspirations as well as recognize that these workers have arrived at a certain level in the corporation.

Status symbols aren’t everything and should not be blown out of proportion.  For some, it is not the acquisition of these symbols that make them feel important, but what others think of them.  If no one knows an employee had achieved them, what good are they?

Managers should not substitute status symbols for a satisfactory salary program.  If they treat workers poorly or pay them less than competitors, they may attempt to justify by offering employees status symbols.  This is not likely to motivate team members.  In fact, status symbols can backfire as they are insults to the team members’ intelligence.  If an employee falls for this, the insult is well deserved.

This article has been provided by Allyson Jones who promotes the online interests of HR Software Breathe HR. For more information please visit the Breathe HR website.

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