v9 Ways to Motivate Your Workforce

by Dr. John Weaver, Business Psychologist and Executive Coach


  1. Provide positive recognition.  The pride of workmanship begins and is sustained by recognition for a job well done.  It matters to your employees when you notice they are doing a good job. You might write a personal “thank you” for completion of a special project. Or you might express a word of gratitude to an employee who brings in a new account. When a customer compliments an employee, be sure to pass it along. Extraverts on your staff will respond strongly to public recognition like an award. The introverts prefer the personal word or note as an incentive to continue to excel.


  1. Offer opportunities for professional development. Work is a major element of the lives of your employees. The overwhelming majority of workers want to do a good job. It makes them feel better about themselves. When you offer opportunities to develop as a professional, you offer them the opportunity to increase their self-esteem and benefit your organization at the same time. This is truly a win-win situation.


  1. Give your employees the tools they need to succeed. Many employees are working harder than ever before, but are frustrated because they do not have the resources they need to do the job. When you provide the tools to be successful, employees can excel in their work. It can be enlightening to ask members of your workforce, “Do you have what you need to do your job?”


  1. Encourage the development of positive friendships on the job. For many employees, the workplace is a primary source of social support. Social support is positively associated with resilience and physical health. Even when the job is difficult, workers may look forward to being at work because they have friendships that sustain them. Resilient and healthy workers also have lower absenteeism and contribute to lowered health insurance premiums.


  1. Organize work in teams and reward teamwork. In addition to the benefits of social support, there is a powerful synergy to teamwork. When employees work together to complete tasks, there is greater creativity, more careful attention to detail, and higher levels of productivity. Establishing effective teams requires careful selection, communication, leadership and support that foster the common goals of the team and of the organization as a whole.


  1. Communicate. Communication is a powerful motivator. When an employer establishes real communication, employees can effectively contribute to the goals of the organization. Communication processes must include both listening and speaking. You have two ears and only one mouth. For the most effective communication, you should use them in proportion.


  1. Identify the strengths of your employees. It is in the area of strengths that real potential is discovered. An excellent performer is not one who has no weaknesses; an excellent performer is one who has learned to act from his or her strengths. Employees are highly motivated to do what they do best.


  1. Do the right thing. Leaders who inspire are those who do what is right even when it is difficult to do so. Integrity is a quality that people recognize and value. It may be tempting to do the expedient thing, or the thing that will make the most money, but the cost will be loss of the ability to lead. People will make great sacrifices to be associated with someone who is willing to stand up for what is right.


  1. Articulate a clear and compelling vision. Put the values of the organization into words. By telling your workforce what the organization stands for, it helps them to see the “bigger picture.” It helps them to understand how their efforts can make a positive difference in their lives and in the lives of their families. If as a leader, you are doing the right thing, these values ring true and the efforts of your workforce will be focused on excellence.


© Copyright 2002. John Weaver. All rights reserved.


To contact Dr. John Weaver for a FREE ½ hour consultation to find out if executive coaching is right for you, send an email to: mailto:jweaver@psychologyforbusiness.com or call (262) 798-2728.