Motivation is fundamental to employee engagement and performance. It is what drives us to set and attain goals. The goal of employee engagement is to enhance employees to exercise discretionary effort and the best way to achieve it is through motivating them. When employees are motivated, they engage each other through teams to improve the performance of the organization. Motivation is categorized into two ways, intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation is derived from internal desires. It includes things such as happiness, recognition, and responsibilities. On the contrary, extrinsic motivation is the desire to gain external rewards or avoid punishment. It includes cash prizes, promotion, and bonuses among others.
The following ways are how managers can motivate their employees.
Awards and recognition
Most organizations are accustomed to the employee of the month award where one person is rewarded while the contribution of others is ignored. Instead of this kind of a reward system, a creative multiple award system is better to recognize the efforts of various employees. These employee recognition awards should be displayed for all employees in the organization to see, understand and be able to work towards achieving the goals. Employees gain a company-wide recognition from these rewards which in turn endows them with a sense of achievement and the pride of physical rewards.
To motivate employees, managers need to devise a friendly competition among their employees to encourage task performance. Competition serves to motivate employees both extrinsically and intrinsically. When designing a competition, it is done in a way that motivates employees for a reward and recognition in the organization. Most organizations assign points for completion of certain tasks, behaviors at the end of the period or employee with the most points.
Most organizations today are aware that negative reinforcement means doing something adverse to the employees and hence try to avoid it. Negative reinforcement is stopping something or taking something away. It motivates employees intrinsically since a person is compelled to perform a task to avoid or stop something from happening, or the action will lead to something removal of something. For instance, when an organization has the culture where employees are encouraged to complete a task with high quality and without mistakes to avoid depletion or re-work, then the employees will desire to provide high quality to avoid rework as the unfavorable consequence.
Lead by example
To have a productive team, a leader needs to be productive too. Employees observe their leaders and learn from them. Employees put as much effort as their bosses because the employees see your work as an example of how things should be done. For instance, if you are the manager who has the behavior of leaving early on Fridays, then it is likely that you will impact that behavior to your employees. The idea is for the leader to lead by example, be a role model for working hard and that way, you would impact to the employees’ motivation.
Communication is key
When the lines of communication are open, employees can share ideas, they feel more connected to their colleagues and leaders and most of all they are more motivated to contribute to the future. The leaders of the company should create an ‘open door policy’ both horizontal and vertical. Simply giving your employees freedom to communicate and being listened by leaders can be a milestone to boost their morale.
Praise good work and offer feedback
People are happy when they are appreciated or praised when they accomplish something. Employees need feedback and encouragement to make them feel positive about their work. The most important thing is honesty with the feedback. Find something that the employee has impressed you with and also find things he/she should improve and provide appropriate guidance on how to achieve the goal.