Building Staff Motivation. Start At the Top.

When asked about their motivation, the most successful entrepreneurs site “changing the world” and “building something that will last” as their motivators; not money. So why do we believe that employees, above all else, work for money? This is perhaps the biggest mistake employers make when it comes to employee motivation. They assume that throwing money at the problem is the solution. It will work, but only for a short time. Employee motivation is much more complex than that.

To successfully build employee motivation in your organisation, you will have to start at the top. You will need to get your top staff – the management – on board if employee motivation initiatives are to be successful. This is because employee motivation requires a lot of involvement by the leadership. Without the leadership’s support, you can be sure that all efforts will fail.

To help you understand the importance of getting the leadership on board with staff motivation strategies, let’s take a look at the important roles they have to play in employee motivation:

  1. Identifying the employee’s motivators. All employees do not respond to the same motivators. It is up to the manager to identify his/her employees underlying motivators. The manager needs to interact with the employees on a personal level to get this information. If the manager doesn’t, the chances of failure become very high.
  2. Leading by example. The best way to implement anything is to get the top people to do it first. Managers have to practice what they preach. If the manager is lazy, temperamental or prone to procrastination, you can expect to see the same traits from the employees below him/her. Managers, therefore, need to be genuinely motivated themselves so that the employees can follow.
  3. Creating a fair system. There is nothing that destroys employee motivation like unfair treatment; seeing someone getting a reward they do not deserve. Managers need to create fair systems that offer rewards, benefits and incentives that encourage their people to work hard. Managers can never show favouritism, every employee should be equal in their eyes
  4. Building trust and communicating clearly. Employees become motivated when they have a leader they can trust and who respects them. The leader should be able to communicate clearly and welcome open dialogue with the staff without the fear of repercussions.
  5. Creating a positive work environment. The top leaders have the responsibility of promoting cooperation and teamwork in the organisation. They need to identify the talents of their team members and figure out how they can complement each other. Recognising employee achievements and providing feedback and encouragement will help build employee confidence, commitment and inspire them for further achievement.

All the roles mentioned above have to be played by the leadership to ensure that employee motivation is successful. It is, therefore, important that leaders are trained and encouraged to support motivation building initiatives.

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