Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Most Effective Methods For Motivating Employees Are Low Cost!

Employees are an important stakeholder of any organization whether it is large or small. However, managers are often too busy with running the day to day operations of the company that little, if any, time is spent on a motivation strategy. This is unfortunate because a high performance work team is actually an easy goal to achieve.

Why should you read on? So you can increase the bottom line. If every employee made one minor change, as a result of increased motivation, then the result on the bottom line would be astronomical. Having a proper motivational strategy for employees will give any manager an exponential return on investment. And better yet, to achieve this, proper motivational tools are not expensive.

The most common mistake that managers make is to believe that all forms of motivation revolves around money. Whereas, the truth is that increase in pay and/or bonuses do not dramatically increase motivation. What actually happens is that the employee is being offered a bonus for a job they should be doing anyway rather than actually rewarding them to do more and/or better. As such, the employee might interpret this to mean that they are working for a bonus versus doing the best job that they can because they enjoy it. However, do not misinterpret this and think that little or no pay is required. The employee wages must be fair market in comparison to others in the industry otherwise motivation will actually decrease. An example would be a top level baseball player earning 6 million a year (which is about average). Increasing this players pay to 12 million a year would probably have little effect on their performance. Decreasing the salary to below the average earning would decrease performance because the player would not feel appreciated.

So what does work? Its Simple. Recognition. It is much better to give recognition to employees both privately and publicly. A leader should always praise his or her staff and be an integral part of their work life. Most employees only hear from management when something is wrong and this negative reinforcement is not conducive for high level work teams.

Studies have shown that little items such as sending a birthday card can increase work performance levels for months on end. E-Cards have the same effect and are easy to use plus have the added features such as date reminders and follow ups.

Recognition works because it gives positive reinforcement to the employees and when an individual feels appreciated they will work harder for more recognition. This simplicity escapes most employers/managers. People just want to be heard, recognized and appreciated.

Will using a simple greeting card really work? Yes. It will if done correctly. If you want this to work, then take the time to write a personal greeting. Sending a generic card to all staff members would most likely decrease morale as employees may find it offensive as it re-enforces the herd mentality. The message should be genuine and meaningful. Also, the message should be as close to the recognizable act as possible. This means that if someone on your team did a great job on a project; send a thank you card to them ASAP. Sending a card out 4 months after the project has been long forgotten would have little effect.

When is the best time to give out E-Cards? E-Cards should be given out on major holidays and for birthdays. Also, cards can be sent whenever an achievement is made large or small. The text of the card does not have to be complicated and overwritten. A few well chosen sentences will work extremely well.

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