Strategies to motivate staff
Within a company, regardless of its size and the product sector it deals with, the motivation of its employees plays a strategically important and often decisive role: a group of employees motivated to do their job makes it possible to maximize production and avoid errors and downtime during the performance of their duties.
Staff motivation as an element of competitiveness
The crucial issue is to interpret the question of staff motivation not so much from the point of view of the individual’s behaviour, but rather from the point of view of who, such as a manager, has to motivate the staff entrusted to him/her.
The first step in this sense is to match the interests of a company with the personal interests of its employees: in this way the team will move as a single entity, driven by the same strength and focused on the same target. This reasoning is even more valid in uncertain times like the ones we are experiencing: with a labour market characterized by extreme flexibility, having a motivated staff can mark the difference between an efficient company and a static company that suffers the market. It is precisely in this sense that we must read the question of staff motivation, it is a way to give competitiveness to the company.
What should be understood by motivation
In order to understand what the term motivation consists of and what it is actually meant by, we must first of all refer to the lexical composition of the term itself, deriving from two distinct words, motive and action. Thus decomposed the word suggests without too much effort that motivation is nothing more than the set of motives that drive an individual to take certain practical actions. In this sense motivation can be seen as the set of personal objectives that push an individual, in this case a worker, to commit to certain behaviours.
From this point of view, the picture of motivations is clear: first of all, they depend on an individual’s personality itself, on his or her ability to carry out actions with a sense of duty and responsibility: a good worker has always been a person loyal to his or her duty to his or her company. However, the increasingly flexible and jagged labour market imposes different motivational models, such as the ability and will to assert oneself professionally, and not least the economic side. In the history of mankind, money has always been a vehicle to motivate an individual, but the experience of employers shows that an essential element to motivate the worker lies in giving him happiness: a worker who in the morning will be happy to go and do his job, will be a productive and motivated worker.
The crux of the alignment of objectives
If you want to motivate your staff and make them productive, you need to start first of all from the alignment of the company’s objectives and the worker’s personal goals: if you all go in the same direction you can give a bigger and stronger boost to your activities.
This need is made even more urgent by the world of work as it is structured today, in this sense the combination of flexibility and uncertainty weighs like a boulder on the motivational drives of workers. Thinking of working on a project, once the relationship with a company is over, is no small obstacle compared to the ability to motivate an individual. This model, in fact, clashes with the workers’ practice of thirty years ago, at that time in fact, the ambition of the worker was to make a career within a company, improving his role and his economic position.
It is precisely for this reason that it seems increasingly essential for companies to share with their staff a medium and long term goal, so that workers perceive that everyone is sailing on the same, famous, boat; that the success of the company is the success of the worker and that, even in case of interruption of the collaboration, the worker will be able to retain benefits from the experience.
Staff motivation through correct management behaviour
The first step for a company manager is undoubtedly to set a good example: from what world is world the human being needs guidance, this need is even more urgent in times of serious crisis and uncertainty like the one we are experiencing. A guide, which through its behaviour can help to focus the image on how to behave within a company, can be seen as an example for workers to follow. A bit like children learning by watching their parents, a worker will also behave by following the example of his or her managers. Just to give a few examples if you want to have employees on time, you have to be more punctual than they are, if a worker sees his boss arrive early, he will take him as an example and repeat his behavior. Just as behaviours are extremely important, so is internal communication within the company: many managers still rely on outdated methods, forgetting that communication today is really worth a lot. Knowing how to communicate as a leader and not as a boss can make the difference with your employees: you need to be as linear and transparent as possible, and have a lot of tact with each person. From this point of view, it is very important to adopt a language appropriate to the situation, avoiding expressions that may induce fears towards employees, and instead looking for expressions that are as positive as possible.
Motivate by keeping employees and collaborators informed
We were just saying about the importance of aligning personal objectives with those of the company, in this sense for a management aware of its role and determined to motivate its staff, it is necessary to activate a feedback process with its employees, with which to provide the company information that is a consequence of the action and behavior of workers. This need derives from an innate characteristic of the human being, that is, to obtain feedback on one’s own actions: for a shrewd manager whose actions are aimed at motivating his or her employees, it is essential to provide them with effective and timely feedback on their work. Being aware of what you have succeeded in producing is an incentive to improve your work standards. In this sense, it is extremely important to communicate by always telling the truth: providing incorrect or distorted information is much worse than not communicating it at all. An employee who becomes aware of misinformation will have a very negative perception of his or her company and management, and will not be motivated to work harder and better.
Motivating staff by giving them a sense of belonging to the company
It is important to motivate people also through small actions of public praise and through rewards that do not necessarily have to be an economic benefit: what is fundamental is to know how to involve the whole group in this system. Organizing small meetings in which the objectives are expressed and celebrating their achievement together with the entire team creates and strengthens the team spirit, avoiding jealousy and friction among the workers. In this sense it is useful to remember how a team that works together is decidedly more productive and motivated than a group of people where everyone does their part closed in their own room and without knowing the work done and the results obtained by the entire team.
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