5 Quick Tips for Motivating and Recognizing Employees

October 27, 2014
According to Gallup’s State of the American Workplace, “30% of the U.S. workforce is engaged in their work, and the ratio of engaged to actively disengaged employees is roughly 2-to-1, meaning that the vast majority of U.S. workers (70%) are not reaching their full potential.” Sounds pretty bad... Employee engagement is a hot topic in the workplace these days. More businesses are using engagement programs to help motivate employees and create a better work environment. It's no secret that an engaged workforce can lead to higher profits, greater performance, and happier people. Now that sounds fabulous! The majority of employers, however, are still missing the opportunity to recognize and engage employees, which is hurting their bottom line and damaging the morale. Organizations think they know what employees want, but don't. They fail to provide for the actual needs of their workforce - the people working for them! For example, based on Leigh Branham’s The 7 Hidden Reasons Employees Disengage and Sometimes Leave, 89% of managers think employees leave for money, when only 12% actually do. This is just one example that shows how organizations are missing the mark. Most employees aren't leaving because of money, they are unhappy with their workplace circumstances. If you're unhappy with your environment, wouldn't you try to find a better one? Employee engagement can be effective only if a firm foundation is in place before other ideas are implemented. Here are some quick tips to lay down that needed foundation and get your employees back in the groove. shutterstock_1775526231.) Take a genuine interest in employees’ work-life relationship. You don't need to be best friends, but getting to know your employees as people will help you better understand how they'll perform at work. As a leader, in order for an employee to think of their work as important, you must show them that they are important to you, and a vital party of the company. It's just like any other relationship. Helping make employees' work-life balance comfortable helps build trust, and with trust comes motivation. 2.) The company mission and goals – shout it out! Based on a recent study by Chris Zook of Bain, only 40% of the workforce knew about their company’s goals, strategies and tactics. If your employees don't know what their goals are, how can they help to achieve them? A team cannot reach a goal if only 4 out of 10 know what they are working towards. Everyone in the company needs a clear vision of their goals and a good understanding of the brand’s values. If they don't know what your company values in it’s employees, they can not be expected to live by them. 3.) Are you listening? How can you get the most out of your employees, but show they actually mean something to you? Listen to them. Employees must be engaged in order for them to feel connected with you and the company. Hear what employees have to say; their ideas and thoughts, and actually consider them. If they feel like they are being heard, employees will feel appreciated. People who feel appreciated work harder. It's so basic yet so effective!  4.) A little recognition goes a long way. When is the last time you said “Thank You?” It's the simplest thing to do; yet employees rarely hear it from their leaders. Recognition doesn’t need to be yelled from the rooftops, or presented like an Oscar. A written note, a quick thank you, or a public acknowledgement not only keeps employees motivated, but also reinforces the right behaviors that align with the company culture.

“The number-one reason most Americans leave their jobs is that they don’t feel appreciated. In fact, 65% of people surveyed said they got no recognition for good work last year” – Tom Rath How Full is Your Bucket?

Employees who get recognized for their contributions feel appreciated and, in turn, are more productive and loyal – they'll stick around! 5.) Tell me what you think.  A study performed by Towers Watson concluded that 43% of highly engaged employees receive feedback at least once a week, compared with only 18% of employees with low engagement. Performing in a position or task without feedback is like performing blindfolded - no direction in sight. Feedback is the most useful information someone can receive about any job in which they are responsible. If someone isn't performing up to expectations, they deserve to know, don't you think? These are some basic tips needed to lay a necessary foundation for an engaged workforce. These are not generational needs, and they don't deal with specific people. From one motivated and appreciated employee to another: it works!  

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