In this difficult job market, you would think that those who have a job would be happy to be employed and working hard to keep their job. The economy has put some employees in tough positions. Some are hanging on until they are old enough to retire and collect Social Security. Some are unhappy and were planning on leaving when the recession hit, butnow they can’t find a job and move on. There are others who don’t care one way or the other. They show up, do their time and leave at the end of the workday. Regardless of the situation, the workforce today isn’t very motivated, which can make it tough getting quality work with a positive attitude.
Managers can make the difference. You may be in one of those categories yourself, just waiting for the job market to improve so you can make your great escape. Don’t forget that how you do your job now will make a difference between a great reference from your boss or co-workers, a bad one or none at all. A manager's attitude toward work can inspire and motivate his team. Here are ways to put some spark in the team and get them working.
- Be competitive. How do your salaries stack up against other employers in the same industry or area? Talented employees deserve a fair wage. If it’s been awhile since your last wage survey, get current with salaries and make adjustments if necessary. With the cost of health plans, companies are looking for alternative plans and other benefits tailored to today’s employees. Ask your employees what kind of benefits they prefer. Make your employees part of the process.
- Say thanks. Everyone occasionally needs a pat on the back. A small sign of appreciation goes a long way. It’s not always possible to give a salary increase or other monetary reward, but you can design an employee appreciation and recognition program to publicly thank employees for a job well done. Employees want to feel they are special. Be specific. Mention what the employee did and why it was important to the team or the organization.
- Give constructive feedback. Feedback shows you care about helping an employee succeed. It’s not criticism. Feedback is specific and lets a person know what they do well and ways they can improve. Don’t place blame for mistakes. No one is perfect. Mistakes are opportunities to face our weaknesses and begin to build new strengths. Everyone can improve in some aspect of their job. Talk through the situation and ask the employee for suggestions on how they could have had a better outcome. Self-discovery is a valuable teacher.
- Create a comfortable work environment. Companies like Facebook and Google are famous for their open offices, ping pong and foosball tables for fun, and afternoon naps for employees. You may not be able to set up a snooze room or put up a basketball court, but look for ways to make work less stressful and more enjoyable. A relaxed dress code where appropriate, flexible work schedules, time off to take care of family or child duties during the work day can make a big difference to someone who has more than work on his mind. Find out what kind of work environment increases employee motivation and try to make it happen. Less stress and more smiles make for a happier, friendlier and more productive workplace.
The toughest person to motivate may be you. Being positive is a choice. You owe it to your team to be a cheerleader and create a positive, supportive work environment.