It can be a challenge to know how to motivate your employees, especially in these difficult days when money is tight, managers require a lot from their staff and jobs are more demanding than ever. I believe, however, that treating staff well is a huge factor in staff motivation; after all they are the biggest asset of any employer, so why would you not do this?
Good working conditions and adequate support for employees are essential, not just to comply with the law but to genuinely make your workplace a great place to work and attract and retain high quality workers. Some of the things that employees especially appreciate are having control over their work and a say in decision making. This can help in even the most stressful working conditions, because it gives them more of a sense of control over their work, and can be motivating.
There are also a range of management styles and I favour discussion rather than dictatorship. There are times when managers have to make a decision and ‘step up to the plate’ but wherever possible if they can discuss issues with employees first, this can be hugely motivating for them, as they feel that their views count and they are being listened to.
I also believe in seeing the best in employees in order to bring out the best in them. This calls to mind the character Daniel Deronda who, in the book of the same name, by George Eliot, tries to help people who are less fortunate than himself and in doing so always believes the best of them, and through doing this he brings out their best. I really like this philosophy and have aspired to do the same as a manager. In my experience when staff are treated well they want to give their best and feel a whole lot more motivated than if they are treated poorly.
When workers have difficult personal issues, the attitude and approach of managers can go a long way to making a difference. At one time I split up with my partner and, as a consequence, was homeless. My manager was hugely supportive and gave me an instant two days off work, which were never even recorded as annual or sick leave. This was very motivating for me as an employee.
Managers do need to monitor the work of employees and ensure that they are undertaking work as required, but if they can trust and respect people who work for them, and treat them well, I believe that this is usually hugely well received and motivating, bringing out the best in people and leading to a productive workforce.