Different things motivate different folks. Some people are motivated to enhance their appearance while others are motivated by prestige or sexual conquest. Others are motivated by money. When it comes to work, many people are not motivated to do much of anything except show up and collect a pay-check. It is 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 queried 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. From this Poll, we see statistics that are astounding. These employees who are being described as ‘actively disengaged’ are costing employers more than 300 billion dollars a year! This same Poll showed that these people are more likely to go hooky or to be late and are also described as less enthusiastic to their jobs.
A frequent mistake that employers make is levying too many regulations for employees to follow. This is highly de-motivating for the employee! They feel that they are not empowered to creatively carry out tasks for fear of breaking a rule.
Having employees feel that they are not trusted is another critical mistake that management makes. Creating rules and polices 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.
The following are tips to create a work environment that fosters motivation.
Guidelines for an Enjoyable Work Environment
- 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 will need to consider retiring that particular policy.
- After the rules are established, it is essential that all employees know what is expected of them. Ensure apt promulgation of all regulations.
- 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- no exceptions. If management fails to practice what it preaches, can it expect its employees to keep within the bounds?
- Management should address inappropriate behaviours immediately before they become habits. Use counselling or a progressive discipline approach rather than a ‘you’re in trouble’ approach.
- Clearly broadcast work place guidelines for professional behaviour.
- Seek employee feedback on rules and policies. Request for ideas to enhance these policies for greater employee empowerment. Sometimes staff have great ideas; after all, they do the job everyday!
- Ensure that these novel ideas of consistency in enforcing policy don’t come as a cold shock to rank and file. If you have 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.