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How to motivate employees?

by Driven Organization

Have you ever been in a motivational workshop? What about a motivational video? They work really well. If you have ever experienced one, you have seen that participants get quite pumped up. When they leave the room, they are ready to tackle the world. I'm sorry for the one that gets in their way. For an example of a motivational video, see here.

Still, there is a problem. And if you have been in a motivation workshop, you know about it. The problem is that these motivational events wear off after a day or so. Sometimes, even after just a couple of hours. Often the person feels guilty, thinking that he (or she) hasn't come back to that level of enthusiasm because there is a problem with him, but the truth is that these type of motivational efforts do not last.

These events are great as a way to get players pumped up for a special game, but they will not motivate them in their daily lives. They will not work to help them to get up early every day, to train hard every day, to eat healthy, to avoid drinking alcohol in excess, to keep their mind in what they do, etc. For these, unfortunately, the worker needs to be intrinsically motivated, which is the term that the experts use to say that the worker is motivated from within.

The question that we have now is how do we get people to become motivated from within? What affects this so called intrinsic motivation? Fair enough. Below, we will see a few ways that do decrease intrinsic motivation and what to do to avoid doing so. By the way, you will see that these negative practices are unfortunately quite common in our modern business world.

Excessive differences in salary. If the CEO makes 80 million dollars and the employee, let's say a customer rep, makes $22,000 per year that leads to a life of struggle, he will feel that they are not in the same team. There is not a question that the CEO needs to make more money, but thousands and thousands times more? Maybe not.

Unfair business practices. How are people selected for new positions? Who gets to do what? Who decides how employees advance forward? If there is a perception of unfairness in any of these matters, the employee's motivation will fall. By augmenting the role of workers in deciding these matters, and decreasing its role, management sets the condition for a higher perception of fairness among workers that supports motivation.

Lack of significance of the job. If the employee feels that his job does not have a significant effect on what the organization attempts to accomplish, he will lose motivation. I remember a cleaning lady who had not finished moping when others were throwing cigarette butts on the floor. She was obviously not very motivated into doing a good job. Management must make sure that workers understand the importance of each job and workers must take part on the decision of what they should do. They need to be in the right job for them. Management's role is also to help them see how their job fits in the bigger picture.

Lack of purpose. Some organization exists solely to squeeze as much profits from their business. This mentality of money above anything else makes people feel empty and unmotivated. Eventually, they'll leave their job and make a correction. Some organizations, besides making money, also seek to have a positive impact on something. For some, it is the environment, jazz music, fair trade, healthy products, etc. If the employee connects with this purpose, every day, when he goes to work, he will feel that he is contributing to a better world. This plays a huge role in the motivation of the employee.

Lack of freedom and accountability. In authoritative organizations, I have seen that workers pay less attention, do things mechanically, and lose interest. It has been repeatedly proven that when parents, teachers, and management do not trust their workers to do a good job, workers lose motivation and even lower their self perception. By entrusting them with the tools, giving them the freedom, responsibility and accountability, management makes them big, important and significant. This is the best way to foster the employee to develop motivation.

A negative environment. An organizational environment of criticism, authority, disapproval, and abuse will kill any motivation that the worker has. An environment of support, of welcoming new ideas, of constantly reaching better performance, and of honesty, will connect with the intrinsic desire of the worker to do his best, to reach his potential.

By now, you perhaps have began to realize that management cannot really increase motivation in workers, but it can foster the conditions for the right workers to connect with the organization and become highly engaged and motivated, by themselves. People want to do well. Let's let them do so.

Tags: motivation
Published on 26 Sep. 2012


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