Are Your Employees Motivated?
Recently, I watched an event at my nonprofit organization that celebrated the departure of two employees. One young employee in her early 20s was moving on to go to school to acquire an MD degree. The other employee was in her 60s. She recently married and out of the blue, decided to retire to be with her husband. Two employees and two different life directions. Both individuals gave me an unannounced hug as they were leaving the building for the last time. Through that gesture, I was hoping that both individuals enjoyed their work tenure, as they were motivated employees. Their departure made me wonder how we can better motivate our employees.
According The Balance, leaders can make or break an employee’s workday. They are the most powerful factor in building employee motivation and positive morale. Leaders must make their employees feel valued. The article notes that simple tips to motivate employees by leaders include arriving at the office with a smile and meeting and greeting people; using powerful words such as “please,” “thank you” and “you are doing a good job;” setting clear expectations for each employee; providing regular feedback and letting them know when they do a good job and when they do not do a good job; focusing on developing employee motivation skills; and seeking to create a motivating work environment.
Motivating your employees is simple, according to this article. You must make them feel excited to come to work every day. The article notes that you do this by creating a friendly work environment, take advantage of your wall space to make it personal to them, use food as incentive, institute casual dress days, recognize employees on an individual basis, recognize your employees as a group, reward employees for hard work, get to know your employees, create social events, use theme days to your advantage, institute team building exercises, be supportive of employees non-work life, be friendly and approachable, and think about what motivates you.
Inc.com suggests 14 unique motivational techniques, which are the following:
- Gamify and incentivize
- Let them know you trust them
- Set smaller weekly goals
- Give your employees purpose
- Radiate positivity
- Be transparent
- Motivate individuals rather than the team
- Learn what makes each employee tick
- Reward based upon feedback
- Prioritize work-life balance
- Have an open-door policy
- Let them lead
- Show them the bigger picture
- Create recognition rituals
The Huffington Post, in this article, declared that happy workers are productive workers. It also notes that you should follow these top ways to motivate your employees: communicating better, be an example, empower them, offer opportunities for advancement and provide incentives. Motivation plays a key role in keeping your best employees and reducing turnover.
With respect to nonprofits, you need to understand your employees, according to this article. The article states that in nonprofits where funds may be scarce, you should use rewards that are not related to money by trying to enhance the employee experience in your company; creating a culture of excellence, empowered leadership, continuous learning and challenging work; and using total rewards to hire, inspire or reward your workforce.
If you do not attempt to motivate your employees, you may encounter negative results. This article published in Chron points out that that lack of motivation results in poor performance, dissatisfaction, poor customer service and decreased revenue. Unhappy and unmotivated employees can provide a host of problems that over time, tear down an organization. Nonprofit employees in every city typically talk to each other. Organizations quickly gain a reputation that is either good or bad. I have personally stayed away from organizations with negative perceptions leading to short job tenures.
In my experience, if you hire correctly, and orient and train employees the right way, you will have a happier staff. You need to work each day at providing a positive attitude toward each employee. Lead by example and encourage others to lead. Be a servant leader and understand leading begins with good following. Try to determine what motivates each employee as they are unique. Treat them as you would like to be treated. My wish is that each employee that works for me leaves employment with a smile on their face and the satisfaction of a job well done. I always appreciate a welcomed unsolicited goodbye hug from a motivated employee.
That said, at the end of the day, you cannot motivate an individual that is not personally motivated. Interview well, and you will achieve more motivational success. Are each one of your employees motivated? The answer may surprise you.
Duke has extensive experience as a nonprofit practitioner and consultant. He has been a contributing author to NonProfit PRO for the last nine years and has had the CFRE designation for the last 25 years. He has also been a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals for over 35 years. He received his doctorate from West Virginia University with an emphasis in philanthropy, masters from Marshall University with an emphasis on resource development and a bachelor's degree from West Virginia University with emphasis in marketing/management. Currently he is executive director of development for The Salvation Army Indiana Division. Contact Duke at firstname.lastname@example.org.