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The Three R's of Employee Motivation

By Charles Hopkins Published 06/24/2006 | Careers
Smart managers never overlook this fact: loyal, productive employees are one of your biggest assets. From corporate cubicles to the factory floor, it's the collective skills and efforts of PEOPLE that keep your operation going. Thus, mastering the art of employee motivation techniques is crucial to maintaining a work environment that is good for both the company and the employees.

You can easily set the right tone in the workplace by learning to respond to a basic need we all share... which is to be respected and valued.

Respect
Everyone wants to be treated with respect. And as a company owner or manager, your words, body language, even your facial expressions can make a huge difference in how employees perceive your opinion of them. For instance, extending common courtesies such as a "Good morning" or a nod as you pass workers in the hallway says to them that they are not invisible to you. Other demonstrations of respect could include asking employees for suggestions to improve operations and/or management. It's another way of saying, "I respect and value your opinions." Even offering constructive criticism, in private, to a worker who may have missed the mark says, "I respect you enough not to embarrass you in front of your co-workers..."

Recognition
Two powerful words are important in employee motivation... "Great Job!" By recognizing the work of others, you motivate them to keep working. You'll find that regularly giving verbal or written praise for a job well done goes a long way in making employees feel appreciated. If workers feel that they play an important part in the company by the work they provide, then they are much more likely to seek ways to improve their performance.

Reward
While cash incentives are a sure way to put a smile on an employee's face, there are other creative ways to motivate employees through "thoughtful" gestures. For individual rewards, how about gift certificates for DVD rentals, music CD purchases, theme park tickets or "Dinner for 2" at a local eatery? For group or departmental appreciations, consider a "Leave Work 30 Minutes Early Next Friday" reward. Or once-a-month, spring for dessert treats in honor of those celebrating birthdays in that calendar month. You are limited only by your imagination and budget.

Placing respect, recognition and reward at the heart of your employee motivation efforts will serve to boost morale, increase productivity and positively affect the company's bottom-line. A WIN-WIN-WIN situation for all.