FANTASTIC FOUR: Ignite Employee Motivation with a Quartet of Proven Principles

Article excerpt

YOU WANT TO IMPROVE EMPLOYEE MOTIVATION, BUT THE QUESTION IS, "HOW?" Motivation is complex; don't look for a simple solution. It's a never-ending daily process that takes time, thought and attention to detail. Ultimately, to achieve a motivated workforce, a company must facilitate an environment where employees are able to thrive, as well as generate the desire to thrive.

Creating this type of environment hinges on thousands of organizational aspects, including processes and people. This may seem daunting, but using the following four principles as the foundation of your plan can help to ensure success.

1. Desired Results Drive Motivational Plans

My clients always ask me one question: "How can we motivate our employees?" I respond by asking, "What do you want them motivated to do? To complete more work, work differently, work faster, or maybe take on work without asking?" We work together to specifically define the desired results before determining motivational tactics. If this step is ignored, you may launch a program that leaves you dissatisfied and confuses or frustrates your people.

2. Not All Rewards are Created Equal

Managers usually look first for treats to entice good behavior and enhance job satisfaction. Books like 7007 Ways to Reward Employees have good ideas, but they aren't always ideal for every organization. For example, benefits like medical coverage and retirement programs are good incentives, but costly.

A no- or low-cost benefit is job ownershipallowing employees to determine their physical environment (from décor to music), and most importantly, deciding the what, when and how of their work.

Design methods to increase employee appreciation of the rewards. Sometimes it's how you deliver rewards that kicks motivation into high gear. …