Motivating employees is one of the key tasks of the human resource department of any business. What most business owners and human resource managers fail to realize is that the aim is not to motivate people but to create an environment which instills motivation in all employees.
Letting Employees Use their Own Creativity
The traditional methods of financial rewards and extreme control by HR managers are likely to fail in today’s environment, where innovation and creativity are extreme necessities. What managers need to do to motivate people is allow them to use their strengths the way they think is best and make them genuinely interested in their work. One of the best ways of doing it is structuring the task at hand in a way that each employee can work using his personal style, without having to adapt much or fear punishment in case of failure.
For example, if you think that a particular employee is more of a follower than a leader, then, assign him tasks with set guidelines, where little or no innovation is required. If you feel that a particular employee will excel more as a leader, giving him a task with restrictions will most likely cause friction and result in failure. Instead, give him a more managerial task, where result is more important than the journey to the result and where he or she can innovate and put his or her ideas to test.
Hygiene and Motivational Factors
Furthermore, there are many other factors that help motivate employees. These can be divided in two groups: hygiene factors and motivational factors. The hygiene factors are important in a way that if they are not present, the employee will feel demotivated but on their own, they result in little motivation. This means that in spite of the presence of all the hygiene factors, there are likely to be situations where the motivation is below expected levels. These hygiene factors include salary, benefits, physical working environment, job status and job security.
These hygiene factors are all superficial and cannot contribute so much in motivating employees. What really makes the employees truly dedicated is work itself. If the work has little or no value, the employee will feel demotivated. The employees need to feel that his or her work is important to the organization and their contribution matters. They should feel that they are being given responsibility and acknowledged for all work done.
Let the Employees Grow
Furthermore, employees expect growth, not only in terms of financial salary and job status, but also in terms of work assigned. For example, if an employee has always been given a low level, basic task, he or she should gradually be assigned to a more difficult task that requires more skills and effort. This will make the employee feel important and recognized. It makes them feel productive and motivates them to work harder.
Materialistic factors like job status and salary can motivate employees to only an extent. What will really drive and motivate them to work harder and be more productive is their genuine love for the work that they do. Assign employees the work that they enjoy doing and reward them with growth prospects and acknowledgments. These motivational factors will go a long way in encouraging employees than the traditional hygiene factors.