How a great workplace drives profits

By |  September 22, 2021

As important as the top motivators are, one size does not fit all.

“Not everyone is motivated by the same thing,” Verchota says.

The only way to discover what those idiosyncratic motivators are is to engage each employee in conversation. Supervisors should ferret out each employee’s hidden motivators in brief weekly meetings. Discuss the individual’s attitude toward his or her work and their happiness with their position.

Rothwell suggests a couple of particularly useful questions: Can you tell me a story about a time when you felt particularly motivated in the work that you were doing? What was happening, who was involved and most important, what made it so motivating to you?

Then, listen.

“The story will come from inside the person,” he says, “And most of the time, if they can’t come up with a story, there is something overwhelmingly bad in their work situation that needs addressed.”

Another tactic is to assure the confluence of so-called objectives and key results.

“If a boss thinks an employee should be doing one thing, and that person thinks they should be doing something else, there’s going to be demotivation at some point,” says Don Phin, a management consultant in Coronado, California.

Phin suggests having the employee write down the three most important tasks they do every day, then the three key results they expect. Then, have the supervisor do the same for that employee.

“It’s surprising how often the two lists do not match,” Phin says. “And no performance system will work if they don’t.”

A cousin to periodic engagement reviews are pulse surveys. These are frequent, short questionnaires designed to spot trouble spots in a business environment. As the name implies, they take the pulse of the organization.

Creating profits

Companies that fail to improve employee motivation and engagement leave money on the table that competitors are only too happy to collect.

On the other hand, companies that make a concerted effort to inspire their personnel achieve the twin rewards of higher productivity and greater profitability.

“Initiatives to bolster employee attitudes are proven to work,” Tosh says. “Such efforts are practical, doable and drive success in the organization.”

The right program will retain the best people and attract new ones.

“If we want to be an employer of choice, we must understand we are in a major competition globally for top talent,” Rothwell says. “That means we need to create a great work environment where people can do their best and never want to leave.”

Phillip M. Perry is an award-winning journalist who is published widely in the fields of business management, workplace psychology and employment law.

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