Motivated workers: Is this just a dream?

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all your workers got up each morning and said, “Great! I’m going to work today, and I really love my job and all the people I work with. I just can’t wait to get there!” That would be a dream come true if it occurred that way.

woman standing behind a man working on a laptopSo what’s the secret to making that happen? Some say that if you enjoy your job you’ll never work a day in your life. When you enjoy your job, it is fun. When you are having fun, it doesn’t seem like work. So what can you do to help motivate your workers?

Many books have been written on motivation theories. The findings are varied, with no clear answers to the question of how to motivate people. Some findings are common in many studies and should prove helpful if you implement them in your business.

One of the greatest motivators is receiving feedback on results. Your employees want to know how they are doing on the job. It makes no difference if they are at the top or bottom of the chain of command — this information is important. Motivational speakers say people want to know the answers to two questions. The first: “How am I doing?” And the second: “What does a person have to do to get ahead around here?”

The “How am I doing?” question deals with the issue of providing good feedback. You can do this in a formal way by giving regular performance evaluations to determine how well an employee measures up to expectations listed in a job description. This process will help you discover any alignment problems. It will reveal whether or not you have communicated your vision and expectations to that person. When a person’s values, beliefs and behaviors are aligned with those of his or her company, the effects are amazing.

Feedback should be given informally as well. Look for opportunities to find people doing something right — then tell them about it immediately. Positive feedback encourages the person to repeat the behavior you just recognized with your words of praise. It is so important to recognize people for a job well done and to help them celebrate their success in some suitable way. Some examples of positive feedback are gift certificates for movies or dinner, a preferred parking space, an extended lunch period or a go home early card. These recognitions let people know how they are doing and that you really appreciate their contributions.

“What does a person have to do to get ahead around here?” This question implies many things. For one, employees need to know you as a boss and clearly understand what you expect of them. Workers need to know what kind of behavior is rewarded in your organization. If you want to change people’s behavior and improve their performance, you must clearly show them how they will be rewarded for their job performance.

First, identify the type of behavior that will help your organization achieve its goals. Next, decide how you can best reward that behavior. Communicate clearly the vision and mission of your organization. Then your employees can determine if their own values and beliefs conform to the mission of your organization. Sharing the same vision increases the chance of your employees succeeding. When workers succeed, they have fun. And when work is fun, it doesn’t seem like work!

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