A motivated employee is an essential resource for any company. That’s why the best companies know how to keep the fires of enthusiasm lit among their personnel.
“A motivated employee is expressive, takes responsibility and smiles,” said Olga Morales, manager of the West Region for Banco Popular de Puerto Rico. “He or she is always ready to say, ‘I’m here,’ and has the desire to work with the rest of the staff as a team.”
By contrast, when motivation is lacking, an employee appears distant, serious, and may show a pattern of absenteeism. But there are ways of addressing this.
Ideas to motivate your employees
According to Morales, there are two golden rules for protecting the morale and commitment of employees: maintain open, direct and honest communication, without avoiding conflicts; and consistently show that employees are valued.
There are various ways to let them participate in decision-making and let them express themselves freely without fear of being judged. “It’s not only being a coach, but also letting them contribute to the way things are done, but by asking, ‘what would you do in this case?’” the executive said.
It is also positive to praise them in front of the group or send them a note of congratulations recognizing their contributions and copying their co-workers. “You have to know the person’s preferences. Some need a lot of recognition, and others less. You have to know how much to give,” Morales said.
Another aspect to consider is the importance of family and personal life to the employee. When anxiety-causing personal situations arise, you have to listen and pay attention, Morales emphasized.
Watch for generational differences
Today it is more important than ever to keep generational differences in mind when integrating a team. “The healthiest thing is to clearly establish the expectations and how important each one’s talents are in creating a complete picture,” she noted.
When discord arises
Another common situation among teams is the lack of emotion or enthusiasm for the work. For Morales, this is the time to show efficient leadership. “You have to help the employee identify what should be done for improvement. Coaching sessions with open-ended questions are useful for this,” she suggested. Morales recommended following up with shorter sessions with the employee to take the pulse of the situation.
Leaders, not supervisors
We don’t talk about supervisors, but rather leaders or coaches. “They are people who guide instead of people who give orders,” Morales said, adding that a leader should always appear enthusiastic, energetic and creative.
Leaders should not publicly chastise employees. “You should never point out an area for improvement in front of others. It should be in a private session, with respect, where the employee can see that you are interested in helping,” she concluded.