There are lots of examples of great companies and their highly motivated employees: Apple, Microsoft, Google.

Locally, these Geelong businesses spring to mind: Truffleduck, Boundary Bend Olives and the Cotton On Group; all who have been invited to form part of our next Geelong HR Roundtable expert panel.

In observing great companies and preliminary discussions with our expert panel, what we have noticed is that organisations on the “Most Admired Company” list have one thing in common: motivated employees.

Employees who readily tell anyone that they love what they do and where they work; it’s evident on their faces and in their words. If it’s there, they puff up like a proud peacock; if not, their shoulders slump. If it’s the former, they won’t stop talking and raving about the job and company; if not, they’ll complain to everyone they meet.

Motivated employees will do everything to make what they’re doing great; they’ll be role models for other employees, and they’ll be the best advertising for a company’s brand and products.

We’ll be very interested to hear our HR Roundtable panel share their strategies and thoughts on employee engagement, but in the meantime, here’s 10 ideas based on our experience.

Let’s get your employees motivated to move mountains.

1. Clearly define your vision

Your vision is a roadmap for employees, and it should be very clear. While it’s probably clear to you, how well do you think your team know it? Try asking them — and don’t be surprised if they’re unclear or confused. Take time to write it down, show it to others and when it’s clear and concise, post it in the places where employees can see important stuff like this.

2. Give employees what they want and need

Put yourself in their shoes. Have you seen that reality show where the boss goes undercover and works with some of his or her employees? It’s amazing how shocked some of these bosses are at how hard the work really is, and how little their employees are provided to get that work done efficiently and effectively. Tools, training, support and a sensitive understanding from supervisors — these are the things that employees expect. Don’t presume they have any of these — go check personally. If and when you find they don’t, put corrections in place.

3. Communicate often and well

What channels do you use to communicate your message? Written and distributed memos and letters, FAQs, newsletters, training classes, online groups, regular meetings — all of these should be used to convey the vision of the organisation. Spend time personally asking your employees what they know and think. If the responses show that they are unaware or confused, stop and redesign the messages and the ways you convey them.

4. Practice random acts of kindness

Most people will put the extra effort in if it will be rewarded. Reward does not necessarily refer to monetary compensation, it may simply be acknowledging a job done well or expressing appreciation.

Remember to say thank you in all kinds of ways. These don’t have to be overly formal — sometimes a simple pat on the back goes a long way. Don’t have complicated programs to give formal awards or recognition; just make whatever you do personal and from the heart. Catching people doing things right is a powerful philosophy and motivator.

5. Coach for success

Everyone wants to do well, and most want and need guidance to do that. Paying attention to the work that others do, giving them clear feedback and showing them how to be better when needed is very motivating. Don’t wait for annual performance reviews to do this — daily, in real time, is always better.

6. Act fairly

We’ve all gotten hung up on being politically correct and unthinkingly consistent, and in the process we’ve forgotten that, in most things, one size does not fit all. If two sets of circumstances are exactly the same, then your decisions should be exactly the same. But when they’re not, you should use your wisdom, experience and good sense to do what’s right. Take time to examine the circumstances, to understand the context in which they happen, to take into account the real things that happen to real people in the real world — and then do what’s right (that’s often the same as what you’d want to happen to you, if the roles were reversed). You and your employees will be glad you did.

7. Inspect what you expect

Employees don’t care what you ask them to do as long as they know you care. And what better way to show that you care than paying attention to them, discussing what you see, and letting them know what you think? Good bosses pay attention to everything and manage effectively.

8. Give respect and create trust

This seems like such a simple thing, and yet most employees in most organizations will tell you that they don’t feel like their bosses respect them (and their needs and wishes). And when that’s the case, it’s awfully hard to trust the people you’re working for. Respect and trust your team, and see whether they’ll trust you in return.

9. Don’t be a jerk

It goes without saying, right? Not! Everyone has examples of bosses doing silly things. Try to remember all the dumb things that some boss did to you in the past, and then work on never repeating any of those things. But if (not if, but when) you slip and do something stupid or weird, just stop and apologise. You’ll be surprised how much employees appreciate the fact that you recognise your own mistakes, and then take the time to tell them you’re sorry.

10. Make work fun

When’s the last time you laughed at work, or encouraged your team to enjoy themselves, or did something playful, or any one of a thousand other things that could improve what is usually a pretty drab and colourless environment? Lighten up, and you’ll be surprised how much more people can do when they’re enjoying themselves. Employees who are enjoying themselves, and what they do, can and will be motivated to move mountains.

If you follow these 10 steps, you too will have the chance to make it onto one of those “Most Admired Company” lists. Even better, you could have employees who are motivated to move mountains. It’s up to you.

More on Employee Engagement

Join our ‘Employee Engagement’ Geelong HR Roundtable and really get to the bottom of why some organisations are better at engaging their employees than others.

The HR Roundtable will address issues such as:

  • The secrets and key drivers of successful employee engagement
  • How your corporate culture influences employee commitment and longevity
  • Measuring employee engagement
  • Strategies and actions for improving workforce participation
  • The panel’s experience – What works? What doesn’t work?
  • The role HR plays in the employee experience

Geelong. July 10. 10am – 12.  Tickets $30. Limited number of tickets still available. Book Now! 

Meet the panel.

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