Free Employee Motivation Techniques
Free Employee Motivation Techniques
Here—in no particular order—you will find seven free employee motivation techniques you can use with your direct reports; whether you are a new manager, or a seasoned executive.
By implementing these techniques, you won’t have to add an extra load of work to the amount of work you are already doing—but rather—you will be doing your work in a different way, much more effectively.
Clear-cut Job Description
Every single position must have these three characteristics:
- The job description must be up-dated: Market changing conditions tend to have a direct impact at all levels of the organization
- The functions of each job must be crystal clear: Roles and responsibilities must be obvious
- Each position must be filled in with the proper candidate: The candidate’s hard skills and soft skills must match the job’s functions
Lack of clear-cut job descriptions is a major source of de-motivation.
Another free employee motivation technique that should be mandatory in any work setting is this one:
Individual goals are NOT goals if they are not SMART, which stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time bound. Each one of the goals you give to each one of your employees must have these five characteristics:
- SPECIFIC: What do you need to accomplish? What is the outcome you need to achieve? Is it clear to others what you are trying to achieve?
- MEASURABLE: What are the performance targets that you are aiming for? How will you know that the goal has been met? What are your quantitative or qualitative measures that you can use to help you know when you will have reached expected results?
- ATTAINABLE: Do you have all the necessary resources to attain this goal, despite all the foreseeable obstacles?
- RELEVANT: Are the goals directly related to the business goals? Do they address key customers (internal and/or external) requirements?
- TIME BOUND: Do you have regular dates set up to review your progress? How long will it take you to achieve this goal?
Grab all the goals that each one of your employees currently have, filter each one of them through these SMART criteria, and see if they pass the test. If they do not, correct them until they do.
Lack of unclear goals is a primary cause of low performance.
This is another free employee motivation technique that is a must. Make sure your employees have both the big picture and performance transparency.
Understanding the big picture means two things: clarity about your organization’s vision and strategy, and clarity about what matters most and why – today, next month, next quarter.
Employees must know that their work does indeed matter – they must understand how their individual contribution impacts the end user, the bottom line, and the vision of the company.
Performance transparency means knowledge about current performance: how to measure it (individual, Departmental, and organizational performance) and how to have an impact on it.
With your supervision, let employees decide how to reach their own goals and let them do the tracking themselves – your direct reports must always know which indicators need to be closely watched, by which people, and which actions need to be taken to improve them.
You build up a greater sense of personal accountability if you help them gauge their own progress and input.
Give your people a complete image of the context in which they work, where they fit in, and what it is they can do to make a difference – and you will have a much more motivated workforce.
It doesn’t matter how menial the work in question might be – this motivational rule applies to every human being.
Feedback has several uses, one of which is to motivate your people. For feedback to motivate your employees, it must be positive (recognition, appreciation, admiration – let your employees know how their work makes a difference).
Your Positive Feedback must possess these six characteristics:
- FREQUENT: Give it in at least 4:1 ratio (where 4 represents the number of times you provide Positive Feedback, and 1 represents the number of times you provide Constructive Feedback), so your ratio may be 5:1, or 6:1, etc., but never less (i.e., 3:1)
- IMMEDIATE: Provide it within the first 24 hours
- SPECIFIC: Focus on the behavior – be facts based (erase the word “Attitude” from your vocabulary)
- SINCERE: Sincerity is related to what you say and how you say it
- PERSONAL: Express how you feel, be yourself
- UNIQUE: Don’t mix Positive Feedback with Constructive Feedback (and never use negative feedback)
Make your employees feel respected and important – sincerely. People must feel appreciated genuinely by someone in a position of authority.
- If any of these six guidelines is missing in the Positive Feedback you provide to each one of your employees, motivation and increase in desired behavior is less likely to happen, you must follow all six guidelines if you want to truly motivate your people and increase desired behavior.
- If you make the mistake of providing mechanical positive feedback, routine recognition (as in “I must give this positive feedback so I will just do it and get it over with”), and/or dishonest appreciation, your feedback will backfire, you will be perceived as dishonest, and you will de-motivate your employees.
About Constructive Feedback
- Never fail to provide Constructive Feedback – we all have areas of opportunity and we all need to grow.
- When giving Constructive Feedback, keep your emotions out of the way – never do it when you are angry.
- Focus on behavior – not on the person – never blame your employee.
- Strive for improvement – not for perfection.
Constructive feedback principles
To help you keep objectivity when you deliver corrective feedback to your employees, you must be:
- Immediacy – apply consequences immediately
- Congruency – apply consequences every single time
- Impartiality – apply consequences to everybody
Another VITAL free employee motivation technique is your integrity as a direct supervisor – whether you are a new manager, a seasoned executive, or the CEO.
All the people that report directly to you must perceive a 100 per cent alignment between your words and your deeds. Period. There is no way around it.
You are their role model – they are always watching for your guidance.
Lack of integrity has several major negative consequences, one of which is cynicism, and as a consequence, de-motivation – you don’t want that.
Integrity is a key building block in the creation of trust, and without trust, it is impossible to have candor – without frankness, it is impossible to build a high performing team.
In other words, without integrity there is no way you are going to have a team of direct reports who behave as high performers.
There is a direct relationship between your integrity as the boss, and your direct reports’ motivation.
Your team’s values
A fundamental free employee motivation technique is the adequate use of your company’s values.
Your company’s values provide the framework within which your employees must perform – values are guidelines that let employees know what’s important and what behaviors are most valuable.
You must role model your organization’s values – you must always breathe them, behave according to them, and you must constantly live by them.
And of course, you must enforce them through on-going feedback and formal evaluations (e.g., performance appraisals).
Having a clear playing field within which to perform is a major source of motivation.
Your team’s mission
And last but not least, the Mission of your organization.
This is another free employee motivation technique that most companies don’t use to its full potential.
Your job is to make your company’s Mission come alive – you must be able to translate your company’s Mission into a noble purpose in the eyes of your employees.
You have to be able to get to the point where your employees visualize your company’s Mission as a dignified purpose that rises above any short-term financial profits – making just a profit in the stockholders’ interest does not motivate any workforce.
When you are able to translate your company’s Mission into passion – when employees stand for their organization’s purpose and when they do believe in what they do – you ignite conviction, commitment, and of course motivation.
- First: Performance transparency and recognition go hand in hand – you must not do one without the other.
- Second: These free employee motivation techniques have a stronger impact on performance than monetary rewards.
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