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Jan Kantor

Keeping employees motivated and creative is one of the most challenging tasks managers have, especially in our current economy. After an employee’s initial interest in a new job, it often becomes easy for them to take things for granted. When an employee first begins work they have a special spark and strong drive. Unfortunately after a few months or years the initial novelty wears off. The excitement, the mastering of tasks, the learning of all the details, and becoming part of the team, have all been accomplished.

It isn’t that the employee no longer likes their job, but as time goes by certain aspects of their jobs become routine. They may begin to think it isn’t necessary for them to produce at 100 percent any more. They may think that if management isn’t encouraging and challenging them, then why should they perform more than the bare minimum. All too often managers don’t reinforce employee performance and occasionally sabotage their efforts with criticisms and insults. When this occurs, an employee is not likely to extend beyond their allotted work and is content to merely collect their paycheck.

Unfortunately, far too often this is the case. Occasionally, employees get tired with it and move on to another company. High turn over is found in companies that fail to motivate employees. However, many employees stay where they are, putting out smaller and smaller amounts of energy. After all, their benefits may be good and the pay steady – why exert any extra effort to succeed? Furthermore, an employee may believe it would be difficult to find another job. However, more often than not, they have simply fallen into a comfortable rut.

Management needs to light that spark again, getting away from the “uncontrollables” and focusing on productive elements of a employee’s job that you as the manager feel are most important. They need to give their employees reasons to stay excited and creative. Creative, excited employees are effective and in turn effective employees mean success for the company.

Use these four guidelines to renew drive in your employees:

  1. Give Your Employees Challenges – Routine work is boring, stagnating, and not fulfilling. Encourage and expect superior effort from your employees. Access each employee individually, then give them tasks to fit their talents. Show them you believe in their knowledge and experience and be supportive. Do this on a regular basis by giving them projects to grow with.
  2. Show Your Appreciation – You can boost your employees’ morale and motivate them by showing them that their work is valued. This is key to making sure the employee stays focused on performance no matter what the economic situation. Remember to say “Thank You”. One of the most defeating feelings is for an employee to work very hard on a project, do a great job, and then be totally ignored. Don’t let this happen to your employees.
  3. Ask Employees For Their Input And Suggestions – Let your employees know that their input is important. Your belief in them is reinforced when you ask them for their opinions and suggestions. An employee may have a great idea to deal with current challenges.
  4. Be A Leader To Them – Help guide and encourage your employees. Be a mentor to them. Take the time to listen to them in order to understand their needs and desires. Then reward their professional progress.

Company success depends on management knowing how to keep employees motivated and creative. Employees, not products or machines, are the backbone of a company’s success. If you take the time to keep your employees inspired and desiring to perform well, you will bring back the spark to their work. The rewards will be plentiful, not only for your employee, but for your company as well.

Jan Kantor,  Success Systems
Southwest Florida Recognized Leader in Business Consulting & Corporate Communication Techniques