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How Do We Sustain High Motivation?

What strategies are effective for ensuring employees remain motivated during the recession (critical since companies are asking them to do more work with fewer resources)? <i>&#8212;Bad Feeling Coming On, software services, California</i>

November 29, 2011

Dear Bad Feeling:

The current environment presents challenges, as employees shoulder larger workloads as resources dwindle. Nevertheless, there are some rules of thumb that can go a long way to keeping employees motivated.

Engage your team: It's no secret that an engaged employee makes a happy and productive one, so make it a priority to learn their interests lie and, if possible, adjust their job responsibilities accordingly. Talent audits are useful for this since they gauge these interests and—more important—competencies, by objectively and accurately identifying key traits that drive performance in a job. Personality questionnaires also are helpful because they offer a bird's-eye view into a candidate's work-related preferences, habits and style (such as working individually versus in teams), gauge the ability to approach problems strategically versus tactically, and other important insights.

Communicate, communicate, communicate: This goes beyond simply discussing the workload and how to accomplish daily tasks. Ask your employees for their thoughts on prioritizing projects and collaboration strategies. Encourage them to voice their concerns, and make moves to address those concerns where appropriate.

Examine your process: If you are thinking about ways to motivate your team, chances are you're also looking to increase productivity and boost the bottom line. Now is the time to determine whether your processes (and the people responsible for executing them) are efficient and effective. Scientifically valid and objective assessments help predict performance, alongside demonstrated behaviors and potential fit for a position. Not only does this ensure you have the right person in the right job, but it also helps employees understand the behaviors that lead to success in their current role, as well as the competencies and behaviors they need for future roles.

Plan for the future: Use competency frameworks to assess your employees; then use the results to create individual learning programs and career plans. This is a great way to boost employee development and, in turn, morale—to drive individual learning and career path plans for mutual benefit.

Remember, keeping your team motivated and happy is essential to keeping your business on a positive track. But it's also a great opportunity to take a close look at your business and ensure that your company is positioned for future success.

SOURCE: Robert Morgan, SHLPreVisor, Atlanta

LEARN MORE: Please read about 15 ways to engage your workforce.

The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.