When dealing with employees, keeping them motivated is essential to our success. We can have the smartest, most talented people in the world, but if they're not motivated, business will suffer.
The funny thing about motivation is that it means different things to different people. Some enjoy competing against others, and the opportunity to do so brings out the best in them. Others simply like to be acknowledged when they do something extra. But how do you find out what it takes to motivate your employees? Just ask them.
Unless they are facing a dangerous or extremely undesirable situation, many employees simply continue to work with the status quo rather than talk to the boss about it. Some don't want to feel like complainers. Others just don't feel that their concern is important in the scheme of things. But as an employer, it is important to know anything that might be causing lack of motivation in your employees. And it's just as important to know what new things could be done to motivate them.
How Do I Ask What Motivates My Employees?
If lack of motivation seems to be a widespread problem, you could hold a meeting. Once the ice is broken, some employees are eager to discuss what keeps them going and encourages them to give it their best. Once the conversation ball is rolling, take notes and apply what you've learned.
Some employees may not do well in a group setting. If you find that particular employees are struggling with motivation but haven't voiced concerns, talk to them one-on-one. If they have an evaluation coming up, you could talk to them then instead of putting them on the spot with an unexpected meeting.
For those who prefer to remain anonymous, consider using a suggestion box. This way, employees can air concerns and make suggestions without anxiety. For those who do not like to talk face-to-face about their ideas but aren't concerned about remaining anonymous, encourage them to send questions, concerns, and ideas via email. Be sure to respond so that they know they've been given full consideration.
Accommodate As Many Employees' Requests as Possible
Since motivation means different things to different people, you're likely to get a variety of responses when you ask your employees what they would like to see more of. If possible, find ways to incorporate all requests. For example, you might start giving out an Employee of the Month award, having sales contests, and offering more frequent feedback on how your employees are doing.
Motivation is essential to keep your business growing. By asking employees what you can do to motivate them, you can get ideas that you may have never though of on your own. Taking the time to follow through on requests is an investment in your company's future.