Management Monday: Motivating Employees
I am often asked this when I visit practices, and equally I often ask principals and managers the same thing. They tell me it’s about offering the right salary and benefits, creating a positive working environment, praising staff for a job well done, and rewarding them regularly with team activities and treats.
These are all good answers, but the truth is that every employee will be motivated by different things. Some will benefit from being singled out for praise in front of the whole team, while to others that would be horrifyingly embarrassing and they would much rather be told quietly when they have done well.
Equally, some employees are always keen for social activities to be organised: team building days, nights out, Christmas parties and so on. However, for those who are naturally less outgoing, or who have family commitments and other priorities at home, the feeling that they are expected to attend additional events outside their working hours can be a pressure rather than a pleasure.
For many, motivation is more about the need to feel they are making a contribution from the outset, rather than the expectation of a reward at the end. They want to understand why a project is important and what their role is, so they can see that they are making an impact as it progresses. If they feel they have been involved in decision making from an early stage, many people will feel a sense of ownership for a project. However, for others, motivation lies simply in the need to fulfil expectations and complete a task which has been assigned to them – they don’t want to be involved in the initial decision.
Ultimately, what is important is to get to know your team and find out what works for each of them individually. Try different things and see what motivates each person. You may have to offer different things to different people, but in the end it will result in a happier, more fulfilled workforce, which can only be a good thing for your business.
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