Motivating Your Employees. (Today's Accounting Manager)
Messmer, Max, The National Public Accountant
One of a manager's responsibilities is to inspire staff and encourage them to strive for excellence and remain productive even during difficult times at your firm. While this can be challenging, there are steps you can take to generate enthusiasm in any business environment.
Motivation should relate to individual needs. For instance, a staff member who enjoys collaborating with others may prefer team goals; an independent worker will strive for individual objectives.
Here are some suggestions to motivate your team:
* Reward achievements. Your employees will be more motivated to work hard if they know you recognize and appreciate their contributions. Awards don't have to be costly to have an impact. A few inexpensive ideas include providing an employee-of-the-month parking spot or offering an occasional long lunch, short workday or movie tickets.
* Address stress and burnout. Encourage your staff to speak up when they're overwhelmed. If people know that they can be honest when they have too much work on their plates, you'll be able to offer them help or suggest time-management tips.
Emphasize the importance of taking breaks. Staff may be tempted to skip lunch hours when they are busy, which can contribute to burnout. Show employees that it's okay to take breaks periodically during the workday by doing so yourself.
* Bring in temporary help. Extended periods of overtime with no relief in sight can quickly erode motivation and morale. Support your team during peak workloads by bringing in temporary staff. These professionals can manage daily accounting demands while your employees focus on priority initiatives.
* Provide competitive salaries. Underpaying staff sends the message that your firm doesn't value their work. Be sure that what you are paying is in line with current industry standards. Government reports, trade publications and job board sites are just a few resources that can help. Our company also publishes an annual salary guide covering starting salaries for a variety of accounting positions. (For a free copy, call 800-474-4253 or visit http://www.roberthalffinance.com.)
* Maintain a sense of humor. Incorporating humor into the workplace can alleviate stress and create a more positive environment for everyone. Just make sure the comments and timing are appropriate.
Here are some long-term practices to create a culture conducive to motivation.
* Explain the "big picture." Let people know how their assignments tie into the firm's goals and priorities. A staff accountant assigned to conduct research for a client may not understand the significance of her work until it's explained to her. …