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Motivating employees - uphill battle or rolling stone?

Peter McDermott
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https://www.flickr.com/photos/59632563@N04/6460461969/

It's a tough time of year for employers who are struggling to motivate their employees. Generally speaking, motivated employees are more productive and more loyal (even through the tough times). A motivated workforce means less absenteeism and it's more viable financially to motivate an employee than paying the costs to replace an unmotivated one. But how do you go about motivating employees? I've done some research and have found a few useful ideas.

Encourage your employees to decorate their offices

Employees spend most of their day at work. If work is a pleasant place to be then they will be more inclined to spend time there. Encourage your employees to hang motivational posters and to move furniture around. Office space has a significant impact on performance as cramped spaces negatively affect mental functioning and concentration. Spacious, well-lit and ventilated areas are preferable. Be wary of air-conditioners. Employees who are uncomfortable (too hot or too cold) don't work well.

Recognise your employees' needs

Recognition and reward are strong motivators. If an employee has done something outstanding, make him or her stand out through acknowledgment or praise. The framed 'employee of the month' photo is a natural example. Other employees will take notice and be motivated to do the same to receive the same recognition. Recognising individual efforts and inputs as important can galvanise others into participation.

In addition, provide your employees with an easily accessible kitchen as they will feel that their needs (coffee, tea, refreshments) are being looked after, which in turn makes them more likely to look after the needs of the business.

Recognising an employee's hard work during a meeting can boost their self-esteem and encourage others to work harder. Reward your employees sparingly with incentives – such as time off and gifts – because not only will other employees strive to achieve the same but the rewarded employees will work to maintain their status as one elevated by an incentive.

Hold an annual year-end function as it's the perfect opportunity to recognise employees' efforts of the past the year and to dole out suitable rewards. A themed function ensures the event is memorable.

Give employees time to socialise

Create mandatory social events where employees may get to know one another, especially if teamwork is vital for the business. Family members should be encouraged to attend these events as they usually form the support structures for employees and are most likely the reason your employees find it necessary to work. As such, families are key motivators, meaning that it's important to recognise them as well.

Don't just punt company social occasions. You need to encourage employees to socialise outside of work and join in so they can get to know you as a person and not an employer. You should even celebrate special occasions and themes where employees can dress the part, such as Valentine's Day, Braai-day or Halloween. During theme days, employees tend to be more relaxed and keen to get to know each other, especially when they have fun.

Take the lead to motivate employees

The most important step you need to take is to lead by example. If you want to encourage your employees to come to work early or to stay late then you need to come in to work early and stay late. This is a brilliant way to earn your employees' respect.

Ultimately, remember that your employees are people first and your employees second. If you can make your people feel valued, you will have created a valuable workforce.


Peter Mcdermott

Peter did a Bachelor of Technology (B.Tech), Human Resources Management and Services at Technikon Witwatersrand (1994-1998) and an Advanced Diploma – Labour Law, Law at University of Johannesburg (2001-2002).

He joined Labour Net in 1997 and was a consultant there until 2000, and has been a director and shareholder in Invictus Outsourcing Solutions since November 2001.

Peter has gained extensive knowledge and experience over the past 17 years in dealing with various Human Resources (HR) and Industrial Relations (IR) matters, including but not limited to :

  • Bargaining Council
  • Black Economic Empowerment (BEE)
  • CCMA
  • Contracts of Employment
  • Corporate Law
  • Disciplinary Procedures
  • Dismissals
  • Dispute Resolutions
  • Employment Equity (EE)
  • HR Policies and Procedures
  • Labour Court
  • Labour Relations
  • Negotiations
  • Performance Management
  • Personnel Management
  • Policies and Procedures
  • Retrenchments
  • Skills Development (SD)
  • Strikes
  • Talent Management
  • Trade Unions

 


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