Why Can’t I Motivate My Employees?

You’ve tried everything to motivate your employees – bonuses, vacation time, recognition and even fear. And while some tactics have produced short-term results in certain employees, you still haven’t found that one magic bullet that motivates everyone all the time. So how can you get your employees to maximize their potential every time they come to work?

Leaders throughout the years have found that, while external motivation can become expensive and frustrating, internal motivation often produces amazing results. Rather than spending all your energy trying to get your employees to do something they don’t want to do, why not put them in a position that allows them to maximize their talents? Too many employees are stuck in jobs that do not challenge or interest them. As a result, they often find themselves thinking about or doing activities that they’d rather be doing during work hours.

Your best opportunity to find self-motivated employees comes during the hiring process. Take the time to learn about the job you’re hiring for, and then ask questions that reveal applicants’ real interests. Don’t ask them if they want to do the job you’re hiring for; of course they’ll tell you that they’re interested in the job. Rather, ask about their favorite and least favorite aspects of previous jobs. Ask questions that reveal their personality in addition to questions about technical skill. By looking for someone who has passion rather than a skill set, you’ll be much more likely to hire employees who will motivate themselves.

You can also help your current employees find motivation by putting them in positions that take advantage of their natural talents and interests. Ask your employees whether they’re happy with their current position or they’d prefer to be doing something else in the company. You can also start paying attention to their productivity and interest levels for different tasks to help you modify their current jobs.

Keep your employees motivated by giving them new challenges. Even if people are doing what they love, they’ll quickly lose interest if they’re not constantly being challenged. Adjust employees’ workload to make sure they are being pushed without being overloaded and trust them with new challenges when they’ve met their current goals. When your employees are doing what they were meant to do, you’ll be amazed at the change you’ll see in your office.

And when you do see that change, make sure you put it in their employee performance review!

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