The Smart Guide to Management – Motivating Smart

In our last two installments we discussed how workforce alignment requires having the right types of people in the right places at the right times, doing the right things right.  In this article we will discuss how we can get your employees doing the right things right by motivating them effectively.

Motivating your employees effectively is the third leg to your smart guide to human resource management and workforce alignment.  The essence to effective employee motivation described below includes conveying a better understanding of our business needs by defining and communicating your long-term company strategy and plan to your employees and is complemented by hiring for the person-future fit, aligning your hiring strategies to our long-term business strategy, and developing those formal processes and procedures and professional standards.

As researchers at the Center for Advanced Human Resource Studies at Cornell University found in 2005, companies that developed a family-like community correlate strongly and positively to workforce alignment and a higher performance level.

Motivating Smart

There are several components to motivating smarter through a family-like community –

  • Developing a strong social environment at work,
  • Sponsoring social events and outside activities so that employees get to know one another,
  • Holding regular company wide meetings to share information about the company with employees, and
  • Offering employees profit or gain-sharing pay

Strong Social Environment

Part of the process to develop a strong social environment is to create opportunities where employees can develop a sense of responsibility to one another and to the company.  Oftentimes the best way to do this is to ask employees what they value, what motivates them, and what talents they have which they have brought to the company.  In my experience when I ask employees these questions in a facilitated environment I find a remarkable similarity and overlap of values, motivations, and talents.

Events and Activities

These similarities help to develop interests in outside social events and activities.  The catalyst from the employer’s perspective is enabling a facilitated discussion for these similarities to be identified.  Oftentimes employees will be willing to take the initiative if they understand that the employer’s support, either implicitly or explicitly, is behind the initiatives taken.  I have participated in softball teams, bowl-a-thon fund raisers, and developed community playgrounds – these are just a few.  The camaraderie that is developed carries over to the workplace.

Company Meetings

I have also noticed that companies that hold regular company meetings – usually quarterly – to discuss achievement of company goals and strategies, changes in strategy or goals – and which genuinely invite suggestions from employees for changes to goals and strategies based on their perspective in the company helps to facilitate a more genuine and authentic feedback and suggestions on what the company needs to do in order to improve its productivity and profit.

Once this dynamic exists, employees will also become much more engaged where there is some form of profit or gain sharing incentive to support their contributions to the company’s goals and strategies, especially if they understand that they can contribute either individually or as part of a team to a solution.

In my experience, creating an environment of open and honest communication – the true foundation to the creation of a family-like environment, helps businesses to develop sustainable, long-term growth.  Good sound people motivation practices can positively impact a company’s bottom-line, and, along with sound hiring and management practices can increase performance between $16,000 and $40,000 per employee higher than firms that do not use such practices.

As you look at your business, ask yourself – are you using strong employee motivating practices?  Is your workforce aligned for positive, long-term company growth? What can you do now to uncover your employees’ hidden motivational talents, foster that alignment, and increase your business growth?

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