Employee Motivation – Whose Job Is It?

“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.” - Zig Ziglar

How can we maintain motivation during our day-to-day work life? As Zig Ziglar suggests, we ought to consistently renew our enthusiasm; it’s not a one-time achievement. Certainly, we can temporarily become energized by others’ enthusiasm, but it’s ultimately up to each of us to manage our own levels of work motivation. Easier said than done, right? Here are some practical tips:

Do something – get started and gain momentum

Conventional wisdom says we gain motivation after we psych ourselves up or get inspired to act. But in reality, motivation is usually the result of action; it is the byproduct of beginning to work on a task. Getting started creates the push we need to keep going. For what specific task do you want a dose of inspiration? Write down the first step. Then take it!

How can managers help?

Managers can take a leading role in rallying their teams to feel inspired to do their best and to exceed in their job roles. Job satisfaction directly correlates to a sense of control – to having more of a say in what happens at work, in how daily tasks are scheduled, and in how employees can engage in professional interests and develop additional skills. Specifically, managers can:
  • Encourage employees’ independence in how they approach their work by providing them more access to higher-level responsibilities and increased authority to make decisions. Employees derive significant motivation from the nature of their work.
  • Maintain a responsive relationship with their immediate team by interacting daily and practicing active listening. The interaction of an employee with their immediate supervisor is the most significant element in an employee’s satisfaction with work. A supervisor’s relationship to their reporting staff is the single most critical factor in employee retention.
  • Provide the opportunity for employees to enhance their skills and capabilities. Employees want to develop their knowledge and work competencies. Make sure your employees have professional goals they want to reach and allow them to cross-train in other roles. Establish an open-door policy for employees to share ideas and concerns with you. Employees want to know they have potential for career movement within the company.

Other quick tips:

  • Clearly communicate roles and responsibilities so employees know what’s expected and feel like a part of the inner circle.
  • Incorporate employees’ suggestions about decisions that impact their jobs and the general direction of the company.
  • Supply personal growth opportunities through classes and training; provide challenging work assignments to nudge people out of their comfort zones.
  • Celebrate company traditions. Have a potluck party every quarter. Conduct a food drive during the fall. Maintain the established rituals that have been proven successful.
  • Empower employees to balance work and personal life. Trusting an employee’s integrity toward their work schedule rekindles energy and loyalty. 
  • Acknowledge employees regarding life events such as marriages, births, vacation trips. Care enough to show genuine interest, empathy, and sympathy.

Motivation strengthens and galvanizes us to the importance of our work. Let’s each do our part to stay motivated and help one another when we need a boost. As in any type of relationship, respectful work interactions build the type of motivation that endures. 

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