By: John Di Frances
In today's workplaces, there are unfortunately, many strong de-motivators at work.
These can include:
These are but a few of the problems that are rampant within modern organizations, whether corporate, government or non-profit.
It is sad to realize that most (seventy percent) of the workforce "feels' under appreciated and dissatisfied with their present employment and employer. This need not be the case. Most modern work does not need to be miserable, bland, or boring, after all, few people today labor in coal mines, steel mills or other such highly undesirable working environments.
Many organizational leaders and surprisingly, even sometimes organizational development professionals within the human resource function, wrongly assume that in their organization or industry, little can be done to change negative employee attitudes. Another similar mind-set is that, "we cannot afford to undertake the necessary actions that would make a positive difference," especially in organizations that are experiencing moderate to severe budgetary constraints. However, most often nothing could be further from the truth.
Obviously, employees expect and desire to be compensated fairly for their work, but beyond this fundamental, there are many non-financial aspects of their employment that are equally or even more important considerations than remuneration. Above all else, employees want to fell VALUED! Valued both for the work they do, their contribution, and also simply for "who they are as individuals, as people.'
There is a nearly endless number of non-compensation related ways that organizations can demonstrate the value of their employees. The first, simplest and least costly is PRAISE. Telling people often that they are of value and are highly regarded forms the foundation of any successful employee motivation and retention plan. Everyone loves honest, frequent praise. (Note the emphasis on honest. Nothing will motivate employees more than real, heartfelt praise; likewise, nothing will sour an employee's attitude faster than feigned, false praise.)
The next step in removing de-motivators from the workplace is to ask employees, "What are best and worst aspects of your employment here." Too many leaders are afraid to ask such questions, fearing that they are opening Pandora's Box in so doing. Nothing could be further from the truth, that is, if you truly care about your employees. If a strong bond of trust already exists, this will be a very natural question to ask. If trust does not exist, then some of the steps that are discussed below may well need to be pursued prior to asking this question, in order to establish that trust bridge.
Employees are not stupid, they realize that no organization can meet all of their wishes for the "perfect work environment,' nor do they expect it. What they do desire and expect is that the organization's leadership, management and supervisors truly care about what they think and are willing to do what is possible to create a positive working environment.
Many regular employee appreciation activities will result in a multi fold return on the investment made. Activities such as cheerfully decorated work environments and periodic special events, such as unexpected work interruptions by strolling musicians, neck rub masseurs, themed lunches, picnics, noon concerts, as well as hiring motivational keynote speaker, comedians, motivational speaker and hosting crazy fun filled activities can do much to build morale. These forms of investment into employees are part of creating a highly energetic and upbeat sense of corporate team culture.
Of course, these must be a reflection of a deeper commitment to people, including employees, customers and suppliers. People centric organizations accomplish more, have less employee turnover and attract high performers. This final aspect is an especially important consideration, as we enter upon what appears will be a prolonged period of severe workforce shortages. The U.S. Department of Labor is predicting a ten million employee shortage by 2010, thus attracting and retaining high caliber employees will soon become absolutely essential to building successful organizations.
John Di Frances is a business author, executive advisor,
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