Why employees are unproductive and what can you do about it
You believe in your company. You believe in yourself. Whether you are a founder, owner, or executive, you haven’t gotten this far by fooling around. You put in the effort, over time, to improve your company’s performance and your own.
Unfortunately, not everyone you work with can say the same. In a 2015 SHRM Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement survey, only 69 percent of employees felt they were consistently putting maximum effort into their work.
For many managers, the lack of motivation from their team and coworkers is infuriating. And while it’s true that some people come to the game more motivated than others, it’s the manager’s job to motivate their team and keep them engaged.
If you’re a leader in your organization, you have to motivate your direct reports and create a motivating environment for everyone else in the organization.
Widespread motivation comes from the top and has to be a corporate initiative.
Here are 6 ways you can create a motivating culture and keep your employees engaged:
- Listen to them – Get your employees’ opinions. Typically, it’s the people doing the work who really know what’s going on. They know more about your customers, more about the managers, more about the processes, more about everything. The act of asking for opinions lets people know you value them.If you’ve never done this before, it might be wise to use an anonymous employee assessment solution to kick-off your program. This will keep people honest, and keep them safe. It will also help you gather tons of information into a more manageable form.
Keeping a genuine open door policy will keep this spirit alive. Encourage and really evaluate ideas and suggestions from your team.
- Inspire them – At the same time that you listen, you should also share. Share your vision of the company. What will the company look like in 5, 10, 15 years? Share the organization’s mission. What is going to be accomplished in the next 12-18 months? If you don’t have the vision and mission clear in your mind (and written down), people won’t know why they do what they do every day. They won’t have a purpose at work. Communicating your vision, mission, and values gives people more than money to work for.
- Involve them – Your employees know what to do and know how to make things better. Not only should you be gathering their opinions on what’s really going on, you should be involving them in innovation and overcoming challenges.If you’re busy managing your organization, you may no longer know exactly how things are done. Decisions and directives from executive leadership are often unwise in terms of delivering results, and only make people feel like robots.
And if you need to bring in outside help, make sure consultants and advisors involve and educate your team. Don’t let them fly in and issue decrees before they fly back out, never to be seen again.
- Reward and recognize them – Make sure your rewards and recognition processes align with your strategy. If your strategy calls for cross-functional teams, but you reward only individual performance, the dissonance can be confusing and demotivating.Also, recognize people for their accomplishments (sales, innovation, quality) and recognize them for their commitment (holidays, birthdays, anniversaries). Bonuses, gifts, parties, and events all communicate your respect for your team members. Public recognition in particular makes people feel good and improves morale.
- Trust them – Trusting people means giving them the information and tools required to do their job and then leaving them alone to do it. Don’t micromanage. Obviously, you want to hold people accountable for results. However, if they are genuinely missing knowledge, skills, or abilities, you need to train and develop, not do their work for them.Also, to get the most from your people, you have to allow for failure. Innovation and discovery can’t happen without some error. Create systems that provide enough space for failure without unacceptable exposure, and then recognize people for their efforts to grow themselves and the business.
- Motivate yourself – Others can tell when your motivation is flagging. And while it’s natural to have bad days, if you are consistently demotivated or burnt out, you’ll bring your team down. Make sure to take care of your physical and mental condition, manage your emotional states, review your vision, mission, and values. Actions speak louder than words, and your attitude will set the tone for entire organization.