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NaturalMineralWater's avatar

How do you motivate your employees?

Asked by NaturalMineralWater (11262 points ) January 22nd, 2009

Have you learned any tricks, or do you have any particular method to motivate your employees/subordinates? I’m not really interested in the generic answers here, rather specific things that you’ve done that have been successful.

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15 Answers

Judi's avatar

I do things that let them know that I value them as people. I let them take Monday off if they used the time for community service, I gave them Christmas Bonuses, I tell them how valuable they are to me. I also follow up and make sure that they are completing assignments as assigned.

Grisson's avatar

Like this
(just kidding)

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

@Judi I think “follow up” is one of the most overlooked things =) Especially in a hectic workplace where you’re always moving on to the next task
@Grisson ha! i think a lot of people follow that line of thinking xD
@Staalesen looks like “free time” is a pattern here =D I’ll keep that in mind

Staalesen's avatar

My prefered method was, If they had done well, let them have free time off…
If they work hard enough to meet the goals early, or in a good way I give them free time they can use whenever they need it… be it for a date, or a concert or just moping around at home,,

Bri_L's avatar

I agree with Staalesen.

When you have their respect and hard work, the way to keep it is to show them you sincerely appreciate it. That you value what they did for you and the company and want to show you value what they care about to.

Bonuses and time off are biggies. Especially when they go the extra mile. And not just a 1/1 ratio, meaning if they worked a Sat. so they get a day off. Give them a day off and $25 for a movie or lunch with a friend.

It isn’t going to break the company and it will make sure that not only will that employee return their effort but show an example to others that you appreciate what they do.

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

@everyone For me the option to give out bonuses and free time is very limited. I work in a high-stress environment with a never ending workload and my own seniors don’t grant me all the liberties I would enjoy as a civilian “boss”. For that reason I’m in the process of learning how to be very creative with what little power I have. So far though, I’m still on self-imposed lesson number one. It’s going to be a interesting journey. Thanks for all the answers!

wundayatta's avatar

You have to build trust with them, or they won’t care. They need to see your expertise, and understand why you make decisions. Communicate what you are doing and thinking. Tell them why you are doing and thinking these things. You always have to be straight with them. No prevaricating. No lies. No manipulation. You need to be a man of your word, and you need to shoot straight all the time. If you build trust this way, they’ll do anything for you.

The external stuff: bonuses and and perks—they might help, but they don’t really affect loyalty, which, to me, sounds like what you are looking for. A little empathy for their position also helps. You need to let them know that you know what they are going through. You’ve been there. Done that. And you use that knowledge to help them do their job better.

Also, you have to trust them. You can’t always be looking over their shoulders. Your job is to tell them what to do, and then let them go do it. They have to decide how to do it, too. Your job, as supervisor, is to let them know that if they run into any problems they can’t handle, you’ll be there to help. Your other responsibilities are to plan and coordinate, of course.

Finally, give praise honestly and often. Let them know when you think they’ve done well. Don’t snow them on this. It has to be honest, as everything else you say must be. Let them know that you will do your best to help them advance, because you think they deserve it.

BTW, how old are you? Have you had the opportunity to take any management classes?

srmorgan's avatar

Daloon’s answer is terrific

One other point, don’t de-motivate them. Most people WANT to do a good job, they are not, by nature, slackers or goof-offs or just along for the ride.
They are there because they are getting paid, maybe not enough, but they are earning a living, supporting their families and hopefully getting some satisfaction out of their production.

The last thing you should ever do is yell at or berate or dress down or severely criticize a subordinate in front of any one else. If someone has made a major error or really screwed up, the discussion is done behind a closed door, face to face, and maybe with a third person in the room (to avoid harassment charges).

At my first job after I got my MBA I worked for a manager who was in many ways a great boss, but he had the nasty habit of, when finding an error or something he disagreed with, of saying LOUDLY “what are you stupid or something”??
Watching someone’s face just sag when being berated like that was just painful and it did not motivate anyone else to “shine”.

Now, 32 years later, I run a small department and while I might show someone an error at his or her desk and tell them what I want, I won’t get overly critical unless it is in private or off in a corner somewhere. You have to show respect under all circumstances.

SRM

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

@daloon I am 29.. yes I’ve had some management classes but like i mentioned, they provided me with all the generic answers.. I was looking for specific events

@srmorgan yes, personal insults accomplish nothing.. and a good point about most people wanting to do a good job.. sometimes i wonder but.. i do need to keep that in mind

wundayatta's avatar

@NaturalMineralWater: I’m not sure what you mean by specific events. Are you talking about motivational events? Like Tony Robbins workshops or something?

I don’t know about you, but I think that stuff is bullshit. They were going to do one of those where I work. They wanted to advertise it as listening to the community, but what they planned on doing was lecturing the community, and maybe giving out an award or two. In other words: a snow job. Or marketing.

Maybe some people get a boost from a company picnic or softball game or quizzo night, but it will be shortlived if you don’t do the stuff I was talking about above. Real motivation comes from real work at developing trust and respect. There are no quick fixes.

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

maybe “event” was the wrong word… maybe incident? i dunno..

wundayatta's avatar

Do you have examples of the kind of thing you’re looking for?

Response moderated (Spam)
wundayatta's avatar

Research says you have to pay them well enough. If you don’t, the praise means nothing, and is seen as cheapness and actually demotivates. However, if you pay enough, then more pay won’t motivate them any more. Then, you are correct. Praise really helps.

Having never been paid properly, praise always seemed hollow to me. I always did my work for my own pride, not because of anything the boss said. But I’ve never known if I did good or bad work, because I could never trust my boss’ opinion on that.

Actually, what happened with my most recent job was that my boss disappeared. I figured that was the best praise. He feels he can trust me to do what is needed and to do it right. He has always fought for more money for me, but there is little he can do since I am working under a labor agreement. If I want more money, I need to go elsewhere.

himanshuagarwal101's avatar

Motivate your employee is not a challenge anymore. It’s very simple if you want to motivate your employee so you have to make them understand to come to office daily. I think you should make your office look very beautiful with full of space. You should appraise your employees work and choose employee of the month and give rewards to them. You can create social event as well in the office. And the most important thing doesn’t afraid to ask for feedback.

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