It’s a fact of life that most people when they feel valued, respected, or trusted, will work much harder toward a goal or on a project. If your employees have seemed less motivated lately, it may be that you need to help them feel more valued. Here are a few ways you can do that:
1. Communicate when they have done something well- This one seems obvious, but it’s often so overlooked. It’s easy to remember to give constructive criticism when something doesn’t go well or there is a problem with an employee. But how often do you go out of your way to thank an employee when they have done something well, or reward them when they really knock it out of the park. People almost universally like to feel appreciated, this goes for your employees too. Write them thank you notes, take them out to lunch, leave a small gift or reward for them to show that you see their hard work, and appreciate it.
2. Help them set goals for themselves- When you coach your employees for their career development, do you do all the talking and set all the goals? If you are like most you probably do it without even thinking about it. Instead of setting goals for your employees, guide them to set their own goals and watch how much more ownership they take of those goals. It’s one thing to do what your boss or manager tells you to do, but it’s much more powerful and motivating to set a goal for yourself and see it through. This also communicates to your employees that you trust them. Instead of micromanaging their development, you are saying to them “I know that you have enough experience and drive to get the job done” and then you are getting out of their way and letting them do it. With a brand new employee, you may not be able to take quite as much of a backseat, but you can help them reach the answers on their own if you point them in the right direction.
3. Get them involved in your business plan and goals- This is often the toughest and most challenging change for a business owner to make in their employee interactions. Getting your employees involved in your goals and your plan makes you accountable to them for achieving those goals and carrying out that plan. This can be a hard concept for the business owner who started out on their own because they didn’t want to have to answer to anyone. But the benefit to you is that, uncomfortable as it can be at times, allowing your employees to see into your plans and goals, will usually make you work harder toward them. For the employee, it gives them a sense of ownership over where the company is headed and it also communicates that you respect their opinions and ideas. The key here is that you actually have to respect their opinions and ideas. You don’t have to do everything they suggest, but you do have to really listen to their concerns or suggestions.
The bottom line is sincerity if you don’t truly value your employees, then none of these tips will be effective for you. An employee will be able to easily see when you are being sincere, and when you are doing these things to try to manipulate more productivity out of them, so be sure to first examine your attitude toward each of your employees and make course corrections when needed.
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