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    Home / Article  / How to Motivate Your Employees

    How to Motivate Your Employees

    Hands down, the #1 problem you face as a manager is how to motivate your employees. Remember that people seek rewards and avoid punishment. Motivating your employees is not brain surgery!

    Employees tend to repeat actions for which they receive a reward and stop doing things for which they are punished or simply not rewarded.

    Motivation Is More Than Money

    Hey, don’t start shouting that “show me the money” movie line. Rewarding employees is about a lot more than just money. Is money important? Of course. Is it the only thing to motivate your employees? Of course not. (Warning – if it is, then your staff will go to the next high bidder. So stay away from bidding wars.)

    Motivate your employees by providing fast, flexible individualized reinforcers that encourage desirable behaviors. Here’s how.

    1. MAKE IT PERSONAL: Generic rewards usually do not hold the same value as a personalized reinforcer. Get inside the head and heart of your employees and uncover what makes their heart jump, their skin tingle—not just what makes their wallet bulge.
    2. MAKE IT FUN: Use your brain and your imagination to find a fun twist to what you are about to reinforce.
    3. MAKE IT QUICK: Annual performance appraisals are too late. Give at least 85% of all rewards in real time (within a week) of the performance.

    Effective Ways to Motivate Your Employees

    • FAVORITE’S LIST: Managers at State Farm Insurance’s Mid-South Region hand out information sheets to all staff that ask questions about their favorite hobbies, colors, foods, etc. Managers use these lists to personalize special rewards.
    • INSPIRATION: Agency.com funds non-work activities (play tickets, white water rafting, etc.) if five or more employees show interest.
    • NAPTIME: Time Warner headquarters in New York has a nap room where any employee can take a quick snooze to recharge the batteries.
    • F-TROOP: An MCI/Worldcom manager motivated his team to reach a significant goal by promising his then under performing staff (nicknamed F-Troop) that when they reached the goal, he would personally call every team member’s mom and tell them what a great kid she has! They reached the goal in record time.
    • HORSING AROUND: In keeping with their western heritage and employees’ interest, Arizona-based Computer System Development has been known to reward top performers with … a horse.

    Motivation Action Plan

    Key Result to Reinforce _______________________________

    1. Make it Personal: Who is to be reinforced? What makes their heart jump and their skin tingle?
    2. Make it Fun: What crazy twist might I apply to this reinforcer?
    3. Make it Quick: How soon can I deliver this reinforcer?