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Tag Archives: workplace motivators

Want employee engagement? Ensure that your people have a sense of purpose about their jobs

In my last instalment in this video series, I talked about how you can create employee engagement simply by being clear about the performance you desire from your staff.  Today’s strategy: create a vision and sense of purpose.

Create a vision and sense of purpose

As a leader, it’s up to you to create a shared vision, so that your team members can see the big picture.  To create employee engagement, you should be creating a sense of purpose; so that your employees appreciate their significance to your department and your organization.  Now, sometimes people don’t understand what I mean when I say this, so let me try and clarify by using an example from my own professional experience.

The bad

Here’s a description of what I do:

As a professional speaker and trainer, I travel to over 100 cities a year giving keynotes and seminars.  Unfortunately, I find myself spending a lot of time in airports, usually running to catch a flight that I invariably miss due to a late connection, and then sitting around for several hours waiting for the next flight.  In the airport, I often have to deal with overworked staff whose customer service skills have deteriorated as the day has worn on.  In a nutshell, they’re cranky, and as a result, often quite difficult to deal with.  When I finally get to my destination, I often find myself eating a poorly-cooked (and overpriced) meal, and then sleeping in an uncomfortable bed.  In a nutshell, I get cranky, and often difficult to deal with! 

So here’s my question – after this description, would you want my job?  I suspect that many of you would answer, “No way, Merge. Keep your job!”

The good

Now consider this alternate description of what I do. Continue reading

When you set your people up for success, employee engagement is the outcome

In the last instalment of my ongoing video series on employee engagement and motivation, I talked about the importance of setting and articulating attainable goals.  Today’s tip continues on that idea.  Today’s strategy is to be clear about the performance you desire.

Be clear about the performance you desire

See, while it’s absolutely critical that you set and articulate goals with your staff, it’s just as important to be very clear about what performance you desire.  As leaders, we sometimes make a critical mistake with our employees, particularly those who are experienced and have been around for a while.  We assume that they can read our minds.  But of course, as good as your employees may be, I can pretty much guarantee that they cannot read your mind.  Continue reading

If you want employee engagement, set and articulate attainable goals

I hope you’re enjoying this video series that I started at the beginning of this year, focusing on specific strategies you can use to create employee engagement.  My last tip was to give your employees face-time with your customers.  Today’s idea, strategy #16, is very fundamental to good leadership: set and articulate attainable goals.

Set and articulate attainable goals

There are three key words that I want you to take note of : they are “set”, “articulate” and “attainable”.

Let’s talk about “set” first.  There is an old leadership adage – what gets measured gets done.  If you don’t set goals, people don’t have anything to shoot for, there is no destination to get excited and motivated about, quite frankly, there will be zero employee engagement.  If you don’t tell people where you’re going, don’t be surprised if they don’t get there.  In fact, don’t be surprised if they end up some place completely different than what you had intended.  So set goals.

Second, make sure you articulate them.  And by that, I mean, Continue reading

An unusual but effective approach to motivating employees

So today I’m back with strategy #15 in our video blog series this year – focusing on specific tips for motivating employees.  For the last two episodes, I’ve focused on using fun for motivating employees (see have dress-up and dress-down days and play games).  Fun is a great motivator and I’ll pick up on that theme again in a future instalment.  But today, I want to talk about another approach to motivating employees – give them face time with your customers.

Give your employees face time with customers

This strategy is particularly powerful with the administrative employees on your team, the people who don’t normally meet with the end-consumer of your product or service.  Usually, the face-to-face interactions with your customer happen with those who have sales or business development in their titles.  But of course, there is always a team of people back in the home office who support the sales function, some in a direct manner, but just as many in indirect ways. Continue reading

The secret fun factor for motivating employees – play games!

Today’s blog post continues our series of specific ideas for motivating employees.  In our last instalment, I told you about a fun approach – to have dress-up and dress-down days.  Well, today’s tip has a strong fun factor as well.  It is to play games.

Play games

Again, your imagination is the limit.  In some of my client organizations, they’ve conducted hallway bowling and hallway golf contests.  Some have even held office chair races.  By the way, it’s a good idea to use chairs with wheels for this one!  Another good one is to post staff baby or high school pictures and guess who they are.  And again, let your staff members organize these – planning is half the fun.  Your role should be to create an environment in which it’s okay to have fun in this way.

Another word about last time’s video tip

I want to take a moment to address some of the reactions to my last episode about dress-up and dress-down days.  Some of you raised concerns about this concept of “workplace fun”.  Continue reading

Motivating employees with dress-up and dress-down days!

In our last instalment on motivating employees, I told you about the value of facilitating lively and informative staff meetings.  So now here is today’s tip.  It’s a fun one: have dress-up and dress-down days.

Have dress-up and dress-down days

Let’s start with dress-up – these can be anything, limited only by your imagination, and of course, the constraints of what would be appropriate in your workplace.  Here are some real-life ideas from client organizations – celebrity look-alike day, crazy tourist day, throwback day, international day, wacky sock day, crazy hat day, ugly tie day, seventies day, favourite cartoon character day, I think you get the idea.  Different holidays make perfect dress-up themes – Valentine’s, St Patrick’s, and of course, how could I forget Halloween.  For even more crazy fun, have twin day – that’s when each person selects a co-worker and they come to work dressed in identical or almost identical outfits.  If you can, give out small low-value prizes to ramp up the fun factor. Continue reading

Again … here’s why the traditional performance review doesn’t work!

Earlier in January this year, the subject of one of my regular columns for The Globe & Mail was titled It’s time to get rid of the performance review.  In it, I made the case for why the “performance review”, long a staple in many organizations, was an archaic practice that no longer served any useful purpose.  So when a colleague and long-time reader of the blog forwarded me a link to this recent article in Harvard Business Review, not surprisingly, it caught my attention.

People Don’t Want to Be Compared with Others in Performance Reviews. They Want to Be Compared with Themselves

performance review

A quick summary of the article …

While you can read the entire article at the link above, here’s a Coles Notes version.  Essentially, in this paper, the authors compare two types of reference points in four studies on performance reviews containing data collected from 1,024 American and Dutch employees. Continue reading

Tip #12 for creating motivated employees

In my last video in this series on specific tips to create motivated employees, I outlined the importance and value of listening intently.  Today’s tip also relates to communication, but this time it’s about how you share information.  Strategy #12 is to facilitate lively and informative staff meetings.

Facilitate lively and informative staff meetings

Most employees greatly appreciate being kept in the information loop.  They want to know what is going on, whether it’s the company as a whole, your department, or perhaps most importantly, how decisions and changes affect them.  When employees feel like they’re informed, they’re engaged.  And engaged employees are motivated employees.  One of the easiest, most efficient ways to keep employees in the information loop is to facilitate regular staff meetings.  But beware!  These meetings need to be lively and informative.

You likely have attended the meeting from hell – you know the one – where objectives are undefined, the meeting crawls on for hours, personalities clash, disagreements take over, and progress grinds to a halt. In short, nothing gets accomplished.  Continue reading

When your people feel like they’ve been heard … you get motivated employees

Today is strategy #11 in our continuing series on specific actions you can take as a leader to create productive workplaces characterized by positive, high-performing and motivated employees.  And so what is today’s strategy?  Listen.  Listen intently.

Listen intently

Making the effort and taking the time to listen to your people is a powerful means to an end-result of engaged and motivated employees.  When you listen, really listen, to what your people are telling you, what you’re really telling them is that they are important and their point of view matters.  And by the way, let me be clear, listening, really listening, does not necessarily mean that you need to agree with your employees’ perspective, or act on what they are telling you.  You don’t.  It’s the act of listening that is a powerful motivator.  When you listen, it simply means that you affirm others, and that you respect them.  The amazing thing about respect is that when you offer respect, you get it back.  And when people feel heard … you get motivated employees.

Listening: the gift that keeps on giving

Besides, there is another benefit of listening.  Continue reading

Want motivated employees? Don’t forget to thank their supporters

Today’s blog entry continues with our video series on what it takes to create motivated employees.  Two weeks ago I gave you a simple powerful strategy, yet one that is often forgotten – to say thank you.  Today’s tip is an extension of that idea.  Want motivated employees?  Say thank you to the employee’s support people.  And by support people, I mean their spouses and their families.

Say thank you to the employee’s support people

Saying thank you to an employee’s spouse and family is an important and effective way to show employees that you care. Let’s face it, the reality is that when employees go above and beyond, it usually affects their personal lives and thus their families. Saying thank you to an employee is effective (and that’s what I told you about in my last post in this series), but saying thank you to those who are impacted at home by the employee’s extra effort at work is absolutely brilliant!

It really works!

So let me give you a real-life first-person account of how powerful this strategy is.  Continue reading