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Thread: How do you motivate employees

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    Default How do you motivate employees

    I worked for a television station back in the late 90s. We did a lot of great things, one of which was a reading program for employees. If you read three books about employee motivation, teamwork or management, you got a small bonus. You were required to talk with the GM about the books after you read them and before your bonus was issued. We also had a monthly meeting where we worked on teamwork skills and brainstormed ideas about how to build up the company and make it more successful. It was great!

    What methods have you seen used to motivate employees? It could have been in a part job or in your present work life? Also, which do you think works better, the carrot or the stick?

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    In my professional career most of my long term bosses I liked, respected, and became friends. That includes a college security job. People I both learned from and enjoyed working for. The one contradiction I can think of, I didn't like or respect, but I learned from. Coincidentally, he is the one that got me going in the internet direction when my sales career ended in 99. But I learned from him as well, I just didn't like or respect the guy as a person.

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    I think finding a mentor is a big part of becoming and staying motivated. When I was at the tv station, the GM took me under his wing. He spent a lot of time that he really didn't have to spend working with me to help me develop my strengths. I know his guidance and interest in me helped keep me motivated.

    I'd definitely say that having someone take an interest in you and want to teach you can be a great motivator.

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    I think that this is something that can differ greatly depending on the industry and the level of position that you have.

    For example the majority of the employee's where i work are not really motivated. It is a fast paced high volume processing environment, with a lot of casual workers. If there is anything that is motivating them it is being sure they still have a job. However i have found a good way to motivate them to do a job that they really don't want to do is to offset one job they don't like with a couple of the ones they enjoy processing.

    While for the same token i may work at the same place but i have less motivation, even though you would think that i have more. I am permanent so i know i have a job unless there is a total disregard for policy or i did something really stupid. But really what motivates me is nothing to do with the management, but more so for myself knowing that i have done everything i can to get things done.

    I think that many businesses need to take a more active approach in looking for ways to motivate and potentially reward employee's that are doing a great job. It could take things for some companies to a level they never thought they could reach.
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    Quote Originally Posted by orion_joel View Post

    I think that many businesses need to take a more active approach in looking for ways to motivate and potentially reward employee's that are doing a great job. It could take things for some companies to a level they never thought they could reach.
    I think you're absolutely right about this Joel. A lot of companies nowdays seem to think that just having a job should be reward enough. I suppose, in a way, it is, but the pendulum will swing back the other way eventually. Companies need to get the programs and incentives necessary to retain workers in place now. If they wait until the job market is tight, they'll be in trouble.

    I think companies have also failed to realize that many workers have more options now. There are more avenues for starting your own business than there used to be. If you're really dissatisfied with how you're being treated as an employee, you can always go off on your own and figure out ways to generate money.

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    I absolutely agree that there is a need to extend the incentives for people to get in and perform well. I do not know in large scale processing environment's where the work just really is not fun anyway how this would work. However i think companies need to appreciate what the next level up do as well, eg the first level managers. That are on the floor overseeing these people.

    For example where i work, i am one of these first level managers, overseeing a group of 40 or people most days, and i am putting in a lot of effort to make sure things work fine as much of the time as possible. To take this position i have effectively taken a $15K pay cut to what i was making doing slightly more hours as a casual. There is no bonus, or no incentive expect for my own self gratitude to do anything more then the minimum i need to for my job, yet i do because i know i am doing that bit more i need to do.
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    I think there are always people who will be self motivating Joel. I'm one of those sort of people too. I'll see a need and I'll figure out who to fill it, whether it's part of my job or not.

    I think where companies fail is when they don't recognize and encourage the employees who exhibit that sort of behavior. They either reward everyone in the same manner or they don't reward anyone at all. Either way, you're failing to encourage the behavior you want to see continue.

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    I don't have any employees, but I've been an employee often enough. I can't think of too many times my employer ever did much to help motivate me. More often than not they did the opposite. However I was always motivated to work for one of my employers.

    He treated all his employees as people first and employees second. Sometimes work would pile up and someone would need to stay late on a Saturday. He never asked anyone to stay. He would stay on his own and do the work. That made the rest of us want to stay and help. Another time I remember it being a very slow Sunday. There wasn't much reason to stay open since we weren't doing any business. He closed up shop a couple hours early, but paid us for those hours.

    One time he came up to me and told me he knew I was having a hard time being able to afford a better apartment so he was giving me a raise to help. Shortly thereafter I controlled the schedule for how much work the shop could take in. I made sure to increase the workflow and made sure I did that extra work to help him make more money.

    By simply showing a lot of respect for his employees, every one of us went out of our way to work harder for him.
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    Quote Originally Posted by vangogh View Post
    By simply showing a lot of respect for his employees, every one of us went out of our way to work harder for him.
    Sounds like a good boss.

    I'm constantly mystified by the employers who don't seem to grasp that treating employees like people will make them work smarter and harder. I go out of my way to compliment the people who work for me when they do something well. That doesn't happen much around here, and without exception, everyone I've complimented lights up with delight at being told they're doing a good job.

    Complimenting people is such an easy and simple thing to do and the rewards are so huge. Why don't more employers do it?

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    He was. One of the few or possibly the only person I ever worked for who I held in respect. He treated us well so we all treated him well in return. Pretty simple concept that seems to get missed all too often.
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