Most managers know that employee engagement and motivating your team is a critical key to high performance, yet many people working in organisations today seem disillusioned with their companies’ inability to motivate them.
Employees regularly complain that they have to do more for less and that the most common carrot dangled in front of them is the fact that they have a job, and should be grateful for that. Often these employees are your high potentials or your top talent. Some organisations do not realise the implications of not motivating talent until they are conducting exit interviews and it is too late.
So what are the real issues here? Where does the fault really lie when employee engagement and motivation break down? Who needs to change?
Companies often believe that they are doing many of the right things to motivate employees but some of those things clearly don’t deliver the motivation factor. Similarly, many people believe that it is their companies’ responsibility to motivate them and that motivation is somehow an experience that is provided only by external factors.
In reality employee motivation is complex and is a combination of factors internal and external to the employee. For the individual, the challenge is to understand what motivates them and to communicate those needs to the organisation. For the organisation, the challenge is to create a focus on motivation and to encourage managers to have an open dialogue with their teams and then to act on the specific feedback on what really motivates employees.
Top 3 tips for managers to motivate and engage their team:
1. Recognise your employees: take the time to let your team know that they are doing a ‘great job’, and show that you appreciate their efforts. Taking just a few minutes out of your day to praise your employees for good team work can motivate them to work better.
2. Conduct real conversations: have open and honest conversations about what motivates people by asking them to tell you what they find energising and interesting about their work and what exactly is happening when they are in that high energy zone. The converse is also useful, ask your people what they find energy sapping about their work and why? Compile a list of the top three motivators for your team and provide opportunities which match those motivators.
3. Motivation: recognise that motivation is a two way street where the responsibility lies on both the organisations and the employees side. Managers need to vary the ways you motivate people and recognise that motivation is individual, unique and specific and that there is no ‘one size fits all’. In particular, be aware that your own personal motivators may not motivate people on your team and could in fact demotivate them.