Originally published by: Anne M. Mulcahy
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Americans spend 8.8 hours a day in the workplace. That is even more than the 7.7 hours we spend on sleeping. The fact is we now spend more time with our co-workers than we do with our family. Because we spend so much time with co-workers, they have the opportunity to affect our mood on a daily basis. A motivated employee creates a positive environment in the work place while an unmotivated employee is destructive and demoralizing.
What is a boss suppose to do when you encounter an unproductive employee? Change their attitude immidiately! Here are just some of the many ways you can motivate an employee to be a productive member of your team.
1. Create a family like atmosphere.
We are not talking about treating an employee the same way you would treat your mother or your brother. Think more along the lines of a cousin or a nephew. We all have extended family members that we cannot stand but that does not mean we don’t have their best interest in mind always. We can talk bad about family members but we will never stand for other people talking negatively about them. The same should apply to your employees. Make sure your employees know that regardless of how you feel about them that you always have their backs and are willing to go to war for them.
2. Know your employees background.
Our motivation for work is a huge factor on how we will perform in the work place. A college student working in the daytime and going to school at night has a different motivation for working than that of a single mother having to feed two kids. Understanding your employees motivation will allow you to structure a support system that is both beneficial and motivating for each employee.
3. Train, train, and retrain.
There is nothing worse than not knowing what to do. You feel lost, confused, and frustrated all at the same time. Everyone hates not knowing what to do. An employee is more likely to be productive when they understand what exactly is expected from them and they are given the training to perform such a task. Training gives confidence and confidence leads to employees that are productive.
4. Small incentives will go a long way.
You will be surprised at how powerful a $10 gift card can be in the work place. It has nothing to do with the money or the monetary value but more on that fact that their is a goal that all employees are trying to reach.
5. Make your word the final say.
Opinions and suggestions are great but ultimately the final say should always come from their superiors. Valuing the opinions and listening to the suggestions of employees before making a decision will show them that they are part of a team and will give them a sense of contribution to the company. The more they feel that their voice is being heard, the more they will contribute to the cause of a company.
6. Employees are people as well.
Employees have lives outside of the workplace and our lives outside of the workplace should always take precedence over work. That single mother you employ may not always have a babysitter lined up. The college student may have a final that he must complete to graduate. Be respectful and understanding when life happens to your employees and you will have an appreciative and productive worker.
7. Give them the right equipment.
Make sure that the everyday equipment in the office works! There is nothing worse than having an employee say that they couldn’t complete their daily tasks because “the computer was down.” Do not give them any excuses to slack off.
8. Answer questions.
Just like a man would rather be lost than ask for advice, an employee may feel it is better to do something wrong than to ask for how to do something right! For various reasons such as being scared or not wanting to show a lack of specific knowledge to what is expected from them (see number 3), an employee will not move. You are the person in charge for a reason. Hammer the point home that asking questions is a good thing. Answering questions clearly and in a timely manner will keep the productivity going.
9. Celebrate victories no matter how small.
When an employee sees that every positive contribution to the team is acknowledged, he or she knows that their actions count and that what they do is really making a difference.
10. Be a role model.
When people see the boss working, they will also work. When they see the boss slack off, they will do the same. A workforce will always mirror their immediate supervisors.
11. Not one employee is more valuable than the others
There is nothing worse in the work force than seeing employees not being treated as equals. We all have experienced having a peer who was viewed as the “favorite.” We also remember how discouraging and resentful that made us. If you are a boss and you have favorites, you run the wrist of having a split workforce.
In a time when competition for work is at its highest we must all remember that we are being watched. That includes bosses, managers, and supervisors. You were placed in charge for a reason. Use employees properly and your workload will be that much easier.
“Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person – not just an employee – are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled. Satisfied employees mean satisfied customers, which leads to profitability.” -Anne M. Mulcahy, Former CEO of Xerox Corporation