Understanding Employee Motivation

Implementing an effective employee motivation program is something that most managers and human resource professionals struggle with on some level. The question always seems to come back to what methods and approach one should use to get the most bang for their buck.

There have been many, many studies on the subject over the years, ranging from the Hawthorne Studies that were conducted by Elton Mayo in the 1920's and 1930's, through the current day. They all reach the same basic conclusions. Some take 150 pages and others – like Frederick Herzberg's excellent One More Time: How Do You Motivate Employees article– cover the bases in just a few pages.

The gist of all of the data is that people are competitive creatures. They would like a certain equity in the workplace, but at the same time they crave personal recognition for doing their job well.

Managers often view the Equity part of the equation as a Pay Equity situation. When in fact it really isn't. Unless there is a wide discrepancy in wages, Pay Equity is an answer that's too easy. Motivating employees is far more complex, and in many ways far simpler.

What are the keys then to motivating your employees?

It all starts with making their time at work interesting. Whether they will tell you or not, your employees like a challenge. They also like being part of the solution. So it's important to listen to them and to invite their contributions. Treat everyone as a human being, not just a number or like some small cog in a large wheel.

Once you have them involved in the decision-making process –a real part of the team– it is important to recognize their contributions. To reward their accomplishments.

You can do this on an office or team level of course, but it is extremely important to recognize each individual who has made a special effort. Presenting individual awards during an office or team celebration is a very effective tool that you should not neglect. Not only will these sessions make those who have made significant contributions proud and let them know you appreciate their efforts, but at the same time you will be setting the stage to encourage other employees to become more involved.

At the end of the day, employee motivation is not something that needs to cost a lot of money or takes elaborate planning. It's all about treating each employee as a Person; A person with feelings, hopes and dreams. A person who likely gets a lot of negative feedback, since the only time they hear from management is when something is wrong.

Making a concerted effort to involve your employees in the process and offering positive feedback when they take you up on the offer will allow you to take a large step in creating a much happier and more productive work environment for everyone.

Source by Randy Cullom

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