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Motivating Staff...What's the Buzz?

Tim Millett
Published by Tim Millett
08 October 2013

Sometimes it seems like a world of buzzwords when you read about employee “empowerment” and “improving morale” and even “motivating staff”. It’s easy to throw the buzzwords around, but issues that are so critical to a company should not be “buzzing”. This is especially true when addressing the issue of motivation.

The interesting aspect of employee motivation is that there are many workers, both management and staff, who are motivated to succeed, but unfortunately that potential success is not seen as related to their current position or the tasks they are performing on a regular basis. In other words, they see their job as a stepping stone to another company or as a temporary diversion until the “real opportunity” comes along. Many employees also feel disenfranchised within their organisation and believe their contributions to the company’s success are overlooked and underappreciated.

In the “feel good” society in which we live, it’s easy to get bogged down in buzzwords, sensitivity training, and motivational speeches intended to prove to employees that management “cares”. All that really happens is that more buzzwords enter the picture.

Inspiring Action

This is a common mistake companies make because they believe any staff training, even if it is ineffective, is bound to have a positive impact. Unfortunately that is not necessarily true. Motivating staff involves a lot more than throwing out some buzzwords in a speech. Motivation is not about inspiration. It is about presenting information that inspires someone to ACT. Inspiring someone means influencing or guiding them, whereas motivating a person refers to moving them to ACTION.

The goal of motivating staff needs to be even more well-defined. Staff should be motivated to act in a way that promotes the success of the company where they work. This goal gets to the heart and soul of a motivational program designed to give staff the tools needed to succeed. These tools include an understanding of the mission of the company and the employee’s particular role for insuring company success; job skills training that enables an employee to properly perform duties; and a business culture that encourages personal development.

Energizing Motivation

You will notice that motivation is not a static or singular concept. It requires staff and management participation; company focus on personal enrichment; and skills training. Motivating staff requires effort all along the spectrum.

So exactly how do you motivate staff? The path to motivating staff is to focus on the mission of the company and then translate that mission into personal success. There is an enormous untapped potential in the labour force of most companies simply because people feel removed from the processes that equate to company success. That leads to a workforce searching for personal meaning (eventually with a position at a competitor!) or a workforce that is not mentally or emotionally connected to the company mission and thus underproductive.

Motivating employees takes a concerted effort on many levels. It begins with training that is focused.

  • Creating a corporate culture that promotes staff involvement and reduces resistance to change
  • Developing responsive management that values employee input
  • Encouraging team participation
  • Developing team leaders able to motivate others
  • Becoming an organisation that is able to cross traditional functions and communication barriers
  • Creating positive energy that promotes individual success while also advancing company progress

Motivating employees requires leadership development, management building, team building, customer service training, and individual empowerment. Each staff member from the chief executive all the way through the organisation needs the right tools and the right attitude in order for a company to experience success.

The bottom line is motivating staff takes focused training. Those are not buzz words either!

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