In these tough times, if your organization is one of those asking employees to do more for less, it’s especially important consider what’s going to motivate them.
The best parts of these motivational tools — excerpted from the Harvard Business Review — is that they don’t cost anything and just about any manager can implement them:
- Give feedback, lots of it. But don’t confuse feedback with backslapping. In uncertain times, employees want you to be dead-on honest and thoughtful.
- Offer as much professional development as possible. One mistake managers make: Setting a career path for an employee without fully asking the employee about it. Try not to assume you know what the employee wants. At the very least, employees will be motivated by knowing you care what they think.
- Say “thanks.” Money and benefits are tight, so if you can’t shower them with cash, at least shower them with praise when they deserve it. And practice the two kinds of thank-you: (1) For doing the everyday job at a high level. (2) For going above and beyond the everyday job.
And the cool interview question:
- Ask employees (and applicants) what they’d do with themselves if they had all the money they needed. OK, some people are going to say “nothing” — that’s a given. But some others will tell you what their true passions are. Maybe you won’t be able to accommodate them, but you’ll know what motivates the person and how you can best adjust the tasks at hand to match the passion. Example: If someone says, “I’d write a book,” you then know that person would be happier doing work that involves writing, even if it’s only routine reports.