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Lisa's Fresh Thoughts
Employee Engagement – Motivating Employees
By Lisa Hays, Fresh Perspective
It may seem very basic, but often considerable resources are spent motivating employees to adopt behavior that doesn’t fit with the company’s culture, or advance strategy or business objectives. Start with a clear understanding, and ensure all steps taken to motivate employees show genuine caring and appreciation.
Per Cindi Leive, editor in chief of Glamour magazine: “Even the toughest, steeliest writer or editor often really wants to be told, ‘Hey, that was a great piece.’”
Praise can be tied to any positive act that goes beyond expectations and is in line with company culture, objectives and strategies. Part of building a great corporate culture includes praising people for intangible and un-defined things that make a really positive – often long-term – impression. Praise both rewards positive behavior, and demonstrates the kinds of behavior considered desirable.
The phrase “catch people doing something right” is good to keep in mind as you observe numerous employee actions daily – regardless of whether their actions are job-related.
Support employee involvement in causes/charitable organizations they care about
Consider capturing, perhaps via survey, what causes/charities are important to employees across the organization. Then determine which one(s) the company is going to support, and what form that support will take.
Get rid of demotivators
In the same vein, nearly every company has employees who simply should not be there. Regardless of how they initially came to be an employee, or how long they have been there, today they are “actively disengaged” (17.5% of a typical company’s employees), resistant to change, disrespectful, disruptive, destructive, or just plain difficult to work with. They need to go.
It will likely be uncomfortable, time-consuming and possibly initially costly. Just do it. You will likely gain respect from remaining employees, and the psychological negative weight those individuals represented will be lifted. You’ll quickly be able to observe the positive results.
Solicit ideas and suggestions from EVERYONE
It’s important to effectively communicate across the company that ideas are desired from EVERYONE, all ideas will be reviewed, the best ideas will be implemented and individuals who provided those ideas will be recognized. One good method for evaluating ideas is to select a cross-functional and multi-level team to review, evaluate and determine which ideas to implement.
If a really good idea isn’t implemented for some reason unrelated to the idea, consider a note from the team to that employee explaining that the team sees the value of the idea, but simply isn’t in a position to implement it at this time. In general, take the initiative to praise employees for submitting ideas they believe will make the company better.
If implementation of ideas saves money, reduces waste, or achieves some other tangible benefit, ensure the results of implementation are tracked and shared across the company…leading to more good ideas.
Additionally, actively include supervisors and lower-level managers in determining best ways to motivate their employees, and encourage them to share with senior leadership those “above and beyond” situations. It can be even more meaningful if a senior leader simply “drops by” with an “I heard what you did…and thanks!” message.