A happy worker is a productive worker. This sounds like a cliché, but it is very true. Employees that truly enjoy the work environment are the most productive.
Are Employees in your organization happy and do you encourage a culture of openness and collaboration?
Studies after studies have proven that while money is a factor, it is not the only factor that motivates the workers, especially the knowledge workers. As Daniel Pink (Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us), Peter Drucker (The Essential Drucker) and several others have pointed out, the money is definitely a motivator but only up to a certain point. Once the monetary rewards reach a point where money is no longer a concern, the workers start to look for something more meaningful.
So, what can you do to keep your employees motivated and high performers? Below are the few key steps that the Organizations and the managers can take to ensure the optimal performance of each and every team member.
Provide a competitive/fair benefits package
The benefits package is not the money alone. In addition to salary, the package should consist of other benefits including vacation / retirement savings etc. As workers age and become experienced, they tend to start to value other benefits such as health plan, flexible work hours, retirement plan and other fringe benefits more than the salary.
Provide an open, collaborative, yet challenging workplace
Workplace should be conducive to the work an employee is doing. Lately the move has been to open, shared workspaces with focus on collaboration. While it does provide a more open/collaborative environment and encourages team building, care should be taken to provide easily accessible private spaces to all the employees when they need it. Additionally, if your workforce is frequently on the phone/conference calls, then care should be taken to ensure the noise level is kept to a minimum. Research has shown that while employees are generally receptive to open shared spaces, the number one complain is usually noise. You should be willing to provide each employee a headset that they can use to “zone out” when focusing on their tasks.
Provide supportive and encouraging leadership
Leadership is not about dictating the work and then forgetting about it. Leaders should foster a collaborative environment where employees feel empowered and not afraid to voice their opinions, share their ideas and even criticize their own leaders in a respectful, and constructive manner. Good leaders maintain an open door policy, develop a sense of trust and respect towards each other and intently listen to their employees. They act as their mentors, their role models and aren’t afraid of admitting mistakes.
Actively seek ideas and solutions
Encourage team members to “brain storm” ideas and come up with a solution on their own. Allow each and every member to explain their idea and engage in discussion. While this is a powerful tool, managers should be careful to ensure the team doesn’t lose focus and doesn’t descend into personal squabbles. Managers should also ensure the team members don’t feel discouraged if their ideas or solutions are not chosen. Mistakes should be treated as a learning experience.
Provide a flexible work environment
Flexible work environment should be provided whenever and wherever possible. According to a survey conducted by EY of 9700 full time employees in 8 of the world’s largest economies, majority of the employees listed flexibility as one of the top feature they want in a job, ranked just behind the salary and benefits.
Offer honest, candid feedback
Managers should have a candid one on one with their direct reports on a regular basis and provide candid, honest feedback. The feedback should be backed by specific examples. Manager should develop achievable, realistic performance goals for each employee and then discuss them in one on one meetings. If an employee is not meeting expectations, then the manager should also develop a step by step plan that an employee can go through to make the course correction and become productive. One on one meetings are a great way for the managers to also solicit feedback about themselves. Employees should be encouraged to critique their managers and provide them the feedback on both good and bad.
Remove Nay Sayers
There are times when an employee is not fit for the environment or the job, and they tend to de-motivate others along with them. A dissatisfied employee is also a vocal employee. Managers should be willing to move such employees either to another suitable position or let them go. When you let someone go, ensure your team is aware of the reasons and the steps you may have taken prior to the ultimate decision. Not telling your team and doing it quietly is not an option.
Use tools to make your Job Easier
There are plenty of good software tools and human resource management software that Managers, HR leaders and employees can use to be an effective leader, manager and employee. For example, most HR Packages provide time and attendance tracker, goals and performance review, feedback to allow managers to track an employee’s progress and provide timely feedback.