Different things motivate different people. Some are motivated to enhance their appearance while others are motivated by prestige or money. When it comes to work, many people are not motivated to do much of anything except show up and collect a paycheck. It’s our job as managers to create an environment in which employees are inspired to do a better job and forge.
A recent Gallop Poll stated that about 20% of people surveyed described themselves as “actively disengaged” at work. Most of these people also said that they were not given the proper tools to do their job or that they were not given clear directions for completing the task. These statistics are astounding. These employees who are being described as “actively disengaged” are costing employers more than $300 billion each year! This same poll showed that these people are more likely to play hooky or to be late and are also described as less enthusiastic about their jobs.
A frequent mistake that employers make is having too many rules for employees to follow; this is highly de-motivating for employees! They feel that they aren’t empowered to creatively carry out tasks for fear of breaking a rule.
Having employees feel that they’re not trusted is another critical mistake that management makes. Creating rules and policies that question an employee’s trustworthiness is common practice in major businesses. An example includes allowing a certain number of days off when a family member dies. This assumes that if there were no limit on the number of days, the employee would take advantage of their time off.
Here are eight tips to create a work environment that fosters motivation:
- Minimize rules and policies to the essential. Rules are there to protect your business and create structure; if a rule does not serve that purpose, then you need to consider retiring that particular policy.
- After the rules are established, it’s vital that all employees know what is expected of them. Ensure that every employee is aware of the rules.
- Establish a code of conduct. Implement a collaborative effort which involves all or most of the employees that work with you. A vision and mission statement keeps the ship sailing towards a common goal.
- Follow the rules…with no exceptions. If management fails to practice what it preaches, can it expect its employees to do the same?
- Management should address inappropriate behaviors immediately before they become habits. Use counseling or a progressive discipline approach rather than a “you’re in trouble” approach.
- Clearly broadcast work place guidelines for professional behavior.
- Seek employee feedback on rules and policies. Request ideas to enhance these policies for greater employee empowerment. Sometimes, staff have great ideas; after all, they do the job everyday!
- Ensure that the implementation of consistency in enforcing policy doesn’t come as a shock to your staff. If you’ve been letting employees “get away” with things in the past, you should meet with them and explain that the new policies are there for everyone’s mutual benefit.
Is this an issue you struggle with in your workplace? If not, how have you succeeded in getting your employees to follow the rules? I welcome your comments and feedback on this topic.