heard a group of managers raise a common problem during a training program this
past week, "How are we supposed to keep our employees motivated? We
don't have any money for bonuses, raises, or gifts, and we can't afford to buy
them stuff out of our own pockets. Why should we have to do that anyway? How
can we blame them for not wanting to work any harder than necessary when
they're not going to get paid for it?"
Yikes! In addition to showing very little imagination,
there are so many things wrong with their thinking it's frightening. If that's
the way they're thinking (and probably behaving), no wonder their employees
don't want to "give" anymore than the bare minimum.
Ok, let me start at the beginning of their comment and break
it down piece-by-piece so you learn what I shared with them:
First - "How are we supposed to keep our employees
motivated?" This is a great question and one that every
supervisor and manager should be asking him/herself on a regular basis.
However, there is no one answer. The answer to what will motivate your
employees is unique to your team. What do they really want, need, expect in
order to do their jobs? What would make them feel appreciated, respected,
part of the team, etc? You'd be amazed that often, even though your
employees complain and claim they need more money, they don't. They
simply want to be appreciated. A few years ago I was training several groups of
mid-level managers, as well as the senior leadership team. I asked each of the
mid-level groups, "If the senior leadership team could do anything for
you - other than giving your raises or bonuses - what would you like them to do
to help keep you motivated?" Without exception, every group said, "Say
'Thank you' once in awhile." When I asked the senior
management team, "What do you think your mid-level managers want from
you - other than raises or bonuses?" The senior team said things such
as: new equipment, additional vending machines in the cafeteria, longer break
times, more flexible work schedules, etc. When I popped up the slide that
said, "Say 'Thank you' once in awhile" they were stunned into
silence. It doesn't take much.
Second - "We don't have any money for bonuses,
raises, or gifts, and we can't afford to buy them stuff out of our own pockets.
Why should we have to do that anyway?" Every thinking adult should
realize the economy is still unsettled and budgets are tight. So first, have a
serious conversation with your team on the realities of your organization's budget
situation. If there is NO money for raises, bonuses, etc, there is NO money for
these things - period. Don't hide it. However, if they want to stick around and
be a part of your team when things DO turnaround - great! You'd love to have
them be a part of your team. The choice is theirs. In the meantime, they need
to stop grumbling about their financial situation. If they don't like it -
leave. However, it also doesn't take much if ANY money to show your employees
you care and you appreciate what they do for you and the organization. Buying
pizza for the team once a month won't break the budget for most managers.
Creating a team "kitty jar" that everyone contributes to when someone
does something cool is another way to recognize the good work of other team
members. You and any team member can toss in coins or dollars whenever
you or they see someone do something special for a customer or team member.
Then when the kitty is "plump," buy subs, pizza, or ice cream
for the team. Or, do what I've done before and just did recently, draw
stupid little stars on sticky notes and give them out to team members after
they've helped you meet a critical deadline or WOW a client. These darn
little stars are a testament to my poor art skills, but they make every single
team member smile, laugh, and know I've noticed their extra effort. And, my
team keeps them posted on their computer monitors. Are they silly? Absolutely.
Are they cheap? Yep. Do they make the team smile and know I appreciate their
efforts. Yep. It doesn't take much.
Third - "How can we blame them for not wanting to
work any harder than necessary when they're not going to get paid for
it?" This statement is so close to my pet peeve statement of
"That's not my job" it makes my skin itch! If you believe that
any time you ask an employee to do something "extra" you need to pay
them for it, you're teaching them to expect extra payment for anything they do
they perceive as over and above their core duties. That's stupid and is
counterproductive to any plans you may have in creating a flexible, motivated
workforce. If your organization's position descriptions don't include the line,
"And any other duties as assigned to meet the vision, fulfill the
mission, and abide by the values of this organization." Add it.
Then explain it and your organization's vision, mission and values to every
current and new employee to your organization. If they don't want to be an
active contributing member of your team in driving to your vision, fulfilling
your mission, and abiding by your organization's values, fine. They need to
find someplace else to work. If they do, great! Then they need to not
expect to get paid for everything they determine is "extra."
Flexible, motivated employees look for and do the "extras" to get the
job done. That's how they succeed. That's how your organization succeeds. You
need to let your employees know what's expected, what you appreciate, and what
you will and won't tolerate. It doesn't take much.
It doesn't take much to say thanks: It just takes you doing
your job in helping them realize you appreciate it when they do theirs.
Copyright MMXIII - Liz Weber, CMC, CSP - Weber Business
Services, LLC – www.WBSLLC.com
Reposted with permission.