Tips for motivating employees

After working with thousands of employees and trying lots of different things to motivate them, I’ve come to the conclusion that most employees have two main complaints. The first is that their boss doesn’t give them a clear picture of what she/he wants them to do. The second is that there is something about the work environment that bothers them.

Develop a clear job description for each employee and always keep it current. If there is something on the job description that an employee isn’t doing, find out why and either remove it, or figure out a way to make it happen. If the employee is doing something that isn’t on their job description, either add it – if there is enough room on their plate – or get the employee to stop doing it.

If you review the job description often, it won’t take long for both of you to have an accurate picture of not only what they should be doing, but if they are actually doing it. I found that by paying attention to the job description, my employees had confidence that they were doing what I wanted them to do.

All employees want you to acknowledge and address their concerns. As an employer, I always wanted to know what my employees didn’t like about their working environment. Sometimes it was as simple as cleaner bathrooms, or too much noise in the workspace. If one employee is bringing up an issue, you can bet that many others are thinking about it. So if you want to motivate employees, try to fix as many of their concerns as possible. I believe that paying attention to the work environment pays big dividends in employee satisfaction.

–Barney Cohen

President, Business 360 Northwest


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