There have been a variety of work motivation theories advanced over the years. Perhaps the most significant employee motivation strategies are those that promote workforce alignment. As you review these strategies try to understand how you can relate these to your own company’s motivation programs.

Develop your long term strategy and plan

First, develop your company’s long term strategy and plan – Develop the strategy and plan with your employees – use a facilitated process to discuss a company-wide approach to establish your company mission, vision, purpose, values, goals, objectives, and action plan. During the facilitated process remember to ask employees how these goals, strategies, mission, and vision FIT with their view of the company’s future success AND their view of their own future success.

The thought here is that employees know as much about our company that we do, they just have a different perspective – that perspective is developed by their thinking style, their behavioral preferences, and by their position location within the company. We can learn a lot just by operating at, soliciting, and listening to, that perspective – or are you a CEO that needs to go “undercover” to learn more about your company operations?

Develop a comprehensive orientation program

Second, develop a comprehensive orientation program for employees – If existing employees can list your mission, vision, goals, strategies – chances are they participated in your strategy & planning sessions. New employees need this information – starting at the interview process – and continuing with an orientation program. Does it make sense to orient new employees to learn in greater detail:

Your strategy & plans,
Customer relationships,
Methods to demonstrate employee commitment,
Level of job involvement,
Adaptability of company & employees to changing conditions,
Helping behaviors patterns, &
Knowledge sharing.

The new employee orientation becomes critical for new hires, and usually begins at the hiring interview stage where the applicant is asked a series of questions aligned to the company’s strategy and plan. In each instance it helps to explain your company’s unique approach to these focus areas.

Hold company-wide meetings

Third, hold company-wide meetings – A very effective practice to continue development of a family-like environment is to hold quarterly meetings with employees to share progress, discuss, and recognize employees in the following areas:

Progress in achieving your annual goals & plans,
Customer relationships – Provide examples that provide a high level of service,
Employee commitment – Provide examples that show commitment,
Level of job involvement – Provide examples of extra effort that goes above and beyond the job requirements,
Adaptability to changing conditions – Provide examples of new skills, knowledge, taking on new tasks and roles,
Helping behaviors patterns – Provide examples where employees helped each other, and
Knowledge sharing – Provide examples of best practice discussed and distributed.
Let the employees who are highlighted present and share their information with others.

Hold social events and activities

Fourth, hold company social events and activities – Company social events and activities tend to develop camaraderie, as there are a variety of activities & events that can be developed, including:

Sports activities – active or spectator
Fundraisers – for non-profits, special causes
Annual outings/picnics

It never ceases to amaze how simple and effective these can be. I have had the opportunity to play on softball teams, attend baseball games, participate in bowl-a-thon’s, enjoy annual picnics and holiday parties, and go out to dinner with co-workers to name a few. Don’t think you need to be the one who establishes these – start by developing and encouraging an environment for them to develop.

Create a strong social environment

Fifth, create a strong social environment – When seeking to develop a strong social environment it is quite helpful to ask your employees several pertinent questions.

What do your employees value?
What motivates them?
What talents did they bring to the company?
How can you better enable them to employ their values, motivations, and talents?

Finally, ASK! Show your employees you care. Need additional motivation?