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BFS Capital Blog

How to Keep Your Employees Motivated

March 12, 2015

If an employee starts producing poor work or has an attitude change all of a sudden, getting rid of them might seem like the easy thing to do. But letting someone go or firing an employee usually raises questions and concerns among other employees. So it may not always be the best decision. Getting down to the problem and figuring out a solution is probably a better option, especially for the long-run.

Target the Cause for Motivation Loss

Before fixing a problem, you have to understand what’s creating the problem in the first place. Generally the first and easiest assumption is that laziness or boredom is causing a loss of employee motivation. However, the reasoning could be much deeper than that.

After a while, some people might just feel like they no longer serve a purpose in their workplace. Sometimes repetitive tasks become more of a tedious chore than something with more meaning. In certain situations, training an employee on new tasks or offering a refresher course on current processes can go a long way towards improving productivity and morale. If employees can’t find a purpose in what they are doing on a daily basis and connect it to the company’s mission, they might stop caring about the quality of their work.

Another motivating factor that can have an opposite effect if taken away is ownership. When employees have some freedom and control over the work they are submitting, they tend to perform better. Having the opportunity to suggest new strategies or possible improvements to the corporate culture or office environment may also provide motivation for an employee to make bigger strides in the workplace. If employees are stripped from these motivating factors, they may develop a poor or lackadaisical attitude at work.

Sometimes problems at work are a direct impact of problems at home. While personal lives and professional lives shouldn’t be mixed, that can be difficult to avoid. If employees can’t find some kind of outlet, whether it be an in-house counseling program or the ability to confide in colleagues or management, they won’t get better until the situation at home is better.

Set Goals and Incentives Together

There is a difference between a manager giving an employee goals and a manager working together with an employee to co-create goals. When a manager sets personal goals for an employee, they aren’t personal at all. They seem more like tasks than goals. Once reached, they will be less of an achievement and more of another item crossed off the to-do list.

Setting goals together allows both management and employees to work together towards the same finish line. Outline specific timelines together. Determine realistic due dates according to the working style and speed of the employees. Concrete goals with strong deadlines promote a solid sense of urgency.

By sharing ownership and commitment, the accountability amongst employees and managers alike will be high. But a feeling of achievement may not be enough for some employees. Providing incentives to reaching goals can be an additional motivating push. Because employees may have varying goals on different levels, create a system that will work with all the employees, or change the incentives every month or quarter to make it fair.

Give and Receive Feedback

Everyone wants to know how their performance compares to the expectations of the people they work for, and whether or not their work is making a difference within the company. Manage employee expectations and acknowledge important achievements. Let your employees know that you are paying attention to the work they do. They will undoubtedly continue to perform at their best. Providing feedback to employees is important in that it can offer reward for accomplishments and can encourage them to improve.

On the other hand, be open to receiving feedback from employees. Having an open communication between upper management and employees can be beneficial to the success of a company. Owners and managers should know how their actions affect those around them as well as the company as a whole just as much as employees.

If you notice an employee or two losing motivation, don’t immediately jump to conclusions thinking they are just dead weight. Take some time to identify the problem and then find a way to fix it. Create goals together and incentive programs that provide a fair chance for everyone to be recognized somehow. And most importantly, remember to provide feedback and be open to receiving feedback as well. If everyone works together and has a feeling of importance within the business, productivity shouldn’t be an issue.