There is no shortage of business literature filled with never-ending advice about how to motivate and reward employees. And, all employers would agree that the benefits of having a happy workplace are numerous and a happy work environment is a productive work environment.
Unfortunately, many employers unknowingly do themselves a disservice by overlooking what should be obvious simply treating employees well.
Employers assume that because they are providing a paycheck, employees should automatically be happy and do everything they are asked. But, according to Amy Broadbent, a senior consultant and manager of client services for JRG Advisors, the management company for ChamberChoice, this is not always realistic.
“In today’s world, much of the work force is more willing to jump from job to job than ever before,” Broadbent says. “A paycheck alone is not always enough to keep employees happy, motivated and loyal.”
Smart Business spoke with Broadbent about ways to create and maintain a harmonious workplace.
How can employees be kept happy, content and, most importantly, motivated?
A work force is kept happy and motivated in a number of different ways. Recognition and appreciation, two key components to employee motivation, can be expressed through programs that recognize an ‘employee of the month’ or a ‘top salesperson,’ or by implementing a ‘wall of fame’ that boasts customer feedback and testimonials. People want to be proud of what they do and be recognized for a job well done. Employees whose overall performance is satisfactory should be made aware. It is easier for employees to accept feedback for improvement if they know the company is pleased with their job performance and wants to help them raise the bar to do their job even better. Recognition reinforces employees’ accomplishments and helps ensure there will be more of them to come. Recognition is a fundamental human need. Proper recognition of top performers encourages others to do their best, thereby creating a competitive environment within the company. A little friendly competition is a good thing.
Why is respect so important in today’s business climate?
Respect is another key component to a happy work environment. Employees who feel respected for who they are, what they know and how they perform their jobs will be happier and more productive. Respect is important not only between the employer and employees but also among employees, peer to peer. This is where teamwork and camaraderie come into the picture. Most work requires a team effort in order to be done most effectively. Employees get a motivational boost from working in teams. Those who feel respected by their employers as well as their peers will not only be proud of their jobs and their achievements, they also will be proud of the company they are representing. Remember, you are only as good as the people you work with. If people don’t feel appreciated, they won’t work hard. If they don’t feel trusted, they won’t overachieve. It’s that simple.
Why is proper communication imperative in business?
The importance of communication and having an ‘open-door’ management style might sound cliché, but every employer should have a policy that encourages employees to ask questions, ask for advice, or communicate problems and ideas. Ideas rule the world! Some of the best ideas come from the people ‘in the trenches’ providing an opportunity to share ideas creates a sense of ownership and pride with employees. Companies that recognize, nurture and execute great ideas will be successful.
Technology continually offers new ways to efficiently communicate with employees through e-mail, employee Intranets, PDAs, etc. While modern technology offers convenience, it is important to maintain personal communication and not lose sight of face-to-face interaction within the workplace. There is much to be gained by the humanness of a verbal ‘please’ and ‘thank you.’
What methods of motivation work best?
There are no one-size-fits-all comprehensive plans that will magically transform a work environment. The key for any employer who wants to keep its employees happy, motivated and loyal is to create a sense of pride and ownership within the organization. Any employer should want employees to feel as though they are an essential part of the company. Employees that feel this way will work harder and be more productive and, in the end, the company will reap the rewards.
AMY BROADBENT is a senior consultant and manager of client services for JRG Advisors, the management company for ChamberChoice. Reach her at (412) 456-7250 or firstname.lastname@example.org.