Employer’s HR Guide to Productivity and Motivation – Part Two

June 19, 2013
Employer’s HR Guide to Productivity and Motivation – Part Two
You’ve had a chance to try out the tips in Part One, here’s Part Two of our Employer’s Guide to Productivity and Motivation.

Creating ownership

Most of us have tried to instill in our children the concept of taking care of their belongings. One of the conclusions that most of us come to is that if there is an investment on the part of the child in obtaining a much-desired item, i.e. working to earn the money, or having to wait a period of time, they tend to appreciate their possession. The same can be said about adults who feel a vested interest in their area of responsibility at work. They likely won’t sit by idly and let it be destroyed. A word of clarification: it is important that both the individual and their coworkers need to clearly understand what it is that they are responsible for.
1. Invest time into supporting and guiding your employees as they step into new responsibilities. As humans, we unfortunately, learn from our mistakes. When those mistakes involve the people around us, especially those in the workforce, they are not always met with understanding. Depending on the culture in your workplace, coworkers might be quick to criticize and assume the worst when an individual is making decisions that affect them. The key to making this work smoothly is to ensure that your employees know how to communicate. The number one reason for workplace conflict is the inability to communicate effectively. Many adults will do anything to avoid perceived conflict. Providing the tools to address issues as soon as they arise can make a huge difference in how your workplace functions.
2. Support your employees in their decisions – even if you don’t fully agree with them. As long as they get the organization to the correct destination, don’t undermine them by reversing a decision. This is not easy to do, but it is critical. The minute you begin to question their decision-making, they begin to question their ownership. Find creative ways to stay in the loop so that you are able to gently guide their decision-making until they develop sufficient skills that you are confident in them.
3. Assess results by setting goals with the employee and monitoring their achievement. Be quick to give praise but be honest in your assessments. If you are not willing to address areas of poor performance, they will not improve. This takes an investment in your time. Make sure you’re ready to make that commitment before you start this process.
4. Celebrate success by recognizing your employees in front of their coworkers. This gives them a chance to take pride in their accomplishments.
5. Gradually increase responsibilities. Be careful not to follow the “Peter-Principle” however. That is, promoting someone to their level of incompetence. Promotion for the sake of promotion is unhealthy. Look for the strengths in your people and place them where the organization can best capitalize on them. Both the organization and the individual will prosper as a result.
6. Continue to monitor progress and address any relapses into complacent behaviors right away.  In weak moments, we tend to lapse back into comfortable behaviors. Unfortunately, these tend to be less than productive. Reminding the individual of how far they have come and how much you appreciate them is usually enough to reverse the trend. If it continues you may need to return to step #1. 
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