The marketplace today teaches people to grow into a certain occupation. From kindergarten to college, the idea is finding those areas of interest which most define an individual, and funneling said individual toward the appropriate career. Unfortunately, reality isn’t very nice to the dreams we have as children. Often our dreams are unrealistic, or informed by ideals which are only workable in a fictional environment. This means most of the time we “settle”; and that is the situation modern employers find themselves in with employees regularly.
If you’ve been thinking about implementing a performance improvement plan, you’re going to have to account for the reality of the job atmosphere, rather than an idealized vision of what it should be. You’ve heard the phrase, “honesty is the best policy”? Well, in the workplace, honesty is translated “transparency”; and greater transparency lends itself to more productive employees. This is just one of many techniques that aid in the cultivation of happy employees. You may be surprised to find that most of the research data from recent studies conclude that monetary incentives aren’t always the best way to obtain outstanding, motivated performance.
Prioritize The Balance Of Working Life And Real Life
Real life isn’t a cubicle. It’s not a desktop computer, or a laptop, or a cell-phone. Real life is a sunset or a sunrise, a family or a vacation, a walk on the beach or the creation of a piece of art. It’s many things for many people, but for most people it’s not their means of employment. While in the past making a living may have been intrinsic to an individual’s personality, modern work life puts many people in jobs they’re only in for the money. How does an employer foster ambition and maintain performance? Money can be a driver of performance until a very real ceiling is reached. When that ceiling is reached, ambition slides off, as does performance. One key is allowing employees to pursue their actual passions and proclivities beyond the workplace, and helping them to do so by striking a balance amenable to both parties. Such a work-life balance often involves finding a way to inject the workplace into the “real” space of an employee’s life, and vice versa. This is why certain organizations have things like “take your child to work” day. While some organizations perpetrate this practice beyond specific workplace endeavors, other workplaces specifically schedule in such events. Think about it critically. A child who sees what mom or dad does, and becomes impressed with that work, is giving that employee a subtle psychological incentive to perform better. Strike a work/life balance with your employees, and they’ll be happy to work harder, and more qualitatively.
The Encouragement of Communication
Many things motivate people—hey, people are complicated! Employee motivation need not necessarily come from some performance mandate. It could come in a friendly competition between employees in a given department. If there are recognition awards available, there’s even a prize for that competition. The key is proper communication between employees. If there is such communication, relationships and drives develop that simply can’t come from any sort of planned business model. Some are positive, some are negative; so it makes sense to keep an eye on communication. But, in general, it should be as open and diverse as possible. Real life is open and diverse, and making the workplace feel less like an artificial grind and more like a liberated atmosphere of income does a lot to encourage happiness.
People are all about liberty, and freedom of communication communicates the concept of liberty very directly. But communication isn’t just something to be fostered between workers; it’s something that management should be involved in as well. Good communication from management contributes to employee engagement, consistency, and feedback. Nobody is perfect, and as a boss you’re going to make mistakes. A manager with a track record of poor communication with employees will make more mistakes because employees won’t stop that manager from hurting himself. A manager who regularly communicates with employees will have them advise of any errors that could otherwise be missed. Likewise, when that manager must criticize or revise an employee’s work, that employee be more willing to accept it. Communication is key to employee—and, surprisingly, management—productivity, happiness, and effectiveness.
Change Management Plans to Accommodate your Workforce
There’s always room for improvement, so don’t think you’re immune to change. Are there any employee loyalty programs in your office? It’s time to get some. It’s not just customer loyalty programs that are effective for business. Employees need to know that their loyalty to an organization is valued. You’ve heard someone in your life complaining about how organization X kept them on for ten years, then let them go without even a severance package. Stories like these resonate, because the injustice is so high. Don’t be an unjust employer. Show your employees their value by giving them incentives based on loyalty. Provide these incentives so all employees in the workforce can see; who knows? Maybe they’ll make promotion a goal based on what they see. Rewards programs, loyalty programs, incentive programs—all are essential in fostering a positive employee perception of the workplace, and even happiness. A good loyalty program can be invaluable.
Inspiration and Motivation
The last thing to take into account is the overall arch of your organization. It’s hard to imagine someone inspired about the production of toilet paper; but have you seen those commercials with the animated bears? That sells the product well, and in a way everyone can relate to. Well, most statistical portions of the population, anyway. Those bears have been around sixteen years. That is a successful, motivated, inspired ad campaign. About toilet paper. Which is used to handle the worst bodily detritus no one wants to talk about. If Charmin can get employees motivated enough to come up with that, you can definitely get yours passionate and motivated enough to buff up the numbers. But it requires transparency, work/life balance, communication, and the flexibility to work with employees. Your workforce isn’t a conglomeration of peasants to be bent to your will. They’re real people, and deserve to be treated as such.
About Strategic Incentives: Strategic Incentives is a leading nationwide provider of employee motivation programs. The company works with HR managers to implement sales incentive programs and safety incentives to retain employees, and loyalty programs to build customer relationships. Visit the website at http://StrategicIncentives.com to download a complimentary PDF of “35 Ways to Use Incentive Programs.” “Like” the Facebook page to receive regular updates on sales incentives and promotional ideas. Call 888-686-8116 for more information on creating an in-depth performance improvement plan.
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