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20 tips for motivating recession-weary workers

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in Leaders & Managers,Management Training,Office Communication,Workplace Communication

Nearly two-thirds (63%) of respondents to a recent poll said the economic nose-dive hasn’t had any effect on their motivation at work. But an alarming—and presumably alarmed—15% said the recession has made them less motivated than before.

Plenty of employees are so worried about their jobs and personal finances that they’re just going through the motions at work. If that’s the case in your organization, it falls to supervisors to turn them around. Now is no time for hunkering down and merely hoping things will get better.

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Tell managers to try these tips to motivate shell-shocked employees:

1. Recognize a job well-done
Everyone likes to know when they’ve done something well. Make your employees feel important every day. Show enthusiasm for their work.

2. Encourage staff to take risks
Given enough freedom to take prudent risks, employees at all levels will come up with good ideas.

3. Always be honest
Let employees know you trust them, and be honest and open in return. Just one deception can destroy your credibility for good.

4. Offer a challenge
Productivity and enthusiasm significantly decrease with boredom. A survey by the American Productivity & Quality Center found that the best motivator for employees is challenging work.

5. Realize that money isn’t everything
Studies show that money isn’t the only motivator for employees. In fact, most studies show that employees choose factors like recognition for a good job, personal development and challenging work as being more important than salary.

6. Be a straight shooter
Don’t set foggy goals. People want to know what you expect of them. Give directions to employees in simple language. Tell them precisely what is involved and why you think they’re best for the job.

7. Know when, where to criticize
Inform employees when they perform well and when they don’t. Tell them immediately. Don’t lump all your complaints in one session. Don’t criticize employees in front of others. That can discourage innovation throughout the group, and turn colleagues into enemies.

8. Keep communication lines open
Employees crave clear, ongoing, understandable and unambiguous communication. Give employees information before, not after, important events.

9. Make employees feel important
The need to feel needed—everyone has it. One study found that more than half of employees surveyed felt their managers failed to make them feel important as individuals. And 77% of those employees also said they were thinking of looking for another job. Allow employees to contribute. Ask for their opinions and advice. Reduce the number of autocratic decisions.

10. Be consistent
Workers can learn to live with any boss if they know what to expect. If you keep them guessing, you will keep them looking … for another job. Inconsistent behavior breeds anger, frustration, dismay and disappointment.

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11. Be impartial
Don’t play favorites. Discrimination destroys morale, hurts productivity and opens the door to lawsuits. Bosses who promote unfairly will quickly lose employees’ confidence in them. Treat everyone the same, politely.

12. Know how to say “no”
There will be plenty of times that you can’t be Mr./Ms. Nice Guy. Sometimes, you have to say no. Explain the reason for your decision so it doesn’t seem arbitrary. Make sure employees know you gave their requests or suggestions a fair hearing.

13. Take an interest in employees’ careers
Counsel employees on how they can advance their careers and add value to the organization. Become a mentor to employees with real potential and fire.

14. Provide coaching
Use training, workshops or refresher courses to stimulate workers and expose them to new methods or ideas.

15. Turn experienced workers into mentors
Long-term workers can serve as great mentors and trainers for new employees. Set up a formal mentor program. Ask them to help develop new training sessions or projects.

16. Add to the job
Consider increasing employees’ responsibilities (and challenges) if the job has become too routine.

17. Consider transfers
A new setting and responsibilities—even a lateral move—may rekindle an employee’s fire.

18. Shake up teams
Sometimes pairing workers with new colleagues provides a spark that’s been missing.

19. Open your door
Let employees know you're available to listen to them about day-to-day issues, as well as their big-picture roles in the organization.

20. Ask employees what they need

Don’t try to be a mind reader. Approach employees to find out what they need to keep their jobs challenging and interesting.

 

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