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Nourish your employees’ ‘inner life’

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in Leaders & Managers,People Management

If you lack funds to give pay raises to deserving employees, motivate them in other ways.

Research shows that employees’ “best days” occur when they make progress on projects viewed as “meaningful” to their employer’s mission. If they feel that they are contributing to bottom-line success, they become more driven to excel.

Salary and benefits won’t affect an individual’s “inner work life”—an employee’s perceptions, motivations and emotions. Create an environment that stimulates this inner life and you stoke passion among your workforce.

Dangle frequent opportunities for them to score small wins. Rather than focus on lofty, long-term goals, break them down into minigoals.

When people achieve these mini-goals, recognize their accomplishments. Praise specific aspects of their performance and tie their efforts to the organization’s progress as a whole.

To support your team’s inner life, set clear goals and explain why they are meaningful. Then step back and give staffers the autonomy and resources to reach those goals.

Use brainstorming to nurture creativity and allow everyone to learn from successes and failures and provide lots of “nourishers” that enhance employees’ daily experience. Examples include showing respect and recognition, fostering teamwork and providing an emotionally supportive setting.

— Adapted from The Progress Principle, Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer, Harvard Business School Press.

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