In a competitive job market, you would think that those who have a job would be happy to be working, and that they would be working hard to keep their jobs. But some employees are in a tough position.
Some are hanging on until they are old enough to retire and collect Social Security.
Some are unhappy and want to leave, but they can’t find a job and move on.
There are others who don’t care one way or the other. They show up, do their time, and leave at the end of the work day.
Regardless of the situation, there are employees in the workforce today who are not very motivated, which can make it tough to get quality work done with a positive attitude.
Managers can make the difference.
You may be in one of those categories yourself, just waiting for your situation to improve so you can make your great escape.
No matter what your level, we all have career aspirations and want fulfilling, meaningful work. If you are in a leadership position, you have a responsibility to influence and inspire your team, despite your personal job escape plan.
How you do your job now will make a difference between a great reference from your boss or co-workers, a bad one, or none at all. While you may be waiting for a call from a recruiter, your positive attitude toward work can inspire and motivate.
Here are ways to put some spark in yourself and ignite the team.
1. Be competitive.
How do your salaries stack up against other employers in the same industry or area? Talented employees deserve a fair wage. If it’s been awhile since your last wage survey, get current with salaries and make adjustments if necessary.
With the cost of health plans, companies are looking for alternative plans and other benefits tailored to today’s employees. Ask your employees what kind of benefits they prefer. Make your employees part of the process.
2. Say thanks.
Everyone occasionally needs a pat on the back. A small sign of appreciation goes a long way. It’s not always possible to give a salary increase or other monetary reward. Design an employee appreciation and recognition program to publicly thank employees for a job well done. Employees want to feel they are special. Be specific. Mention what the employee did and why it was important to the team or the organization.
3. Give constructive feedback.
Feedback shows you care about helping an employee succeed. It’s not criticism. Feedback is specific and lets a person know what they do well and ways they can improve. Don’t place blame for mistakes. No one is perfect. Mistakes are opportunities to grow and build a new strength.
Everyone can improve in some aspect of his job. Talk through the situation and ask the employee for suggestions on how they could have had a better outcome. Take a look inward, too. How could you have been a better leader to help this employee succeed? Self-discovery is a valuable teacher.
4. Create a comfortable work environment.
Companies like Facebook and Google are famous for their open offices, ping pong and foosball tables for fun, and afternoon naps for employees. You may not be able to set up a snooze room or put up a basketball court, but look for ways to make work less stressful and more enjoyable.
A relaxed dress code where appropriate, flexible work schedules, and time off to take care of family or child duties during the work day can make a big difference to someone who has more than work on his mind. Find out what kind of work environment increases employee motivation, and try to make it happen. Less stress and more smiles make for a happier, friendlier and more productive workplace.
The toughest person to motivate may be you, especially if you have disengaged team members logged on to Indeed.com or trying to reach the next level in Candy Crush instead of getting the project done or signing a big account.
Being positive is a choice. You owe it to your team to be a cheerleader and to create a positive, supportive work environment for all.
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Mary J. Nestor is a leadership and communications expert with extensive experience in identifying issues and helping leaders resolve them to the benefit of the company, the leader, and the employee. For more information on how Mary can help you and your organization, click here to request a free consultation.