Why is employee motivation important?

The answer to "Why is employee motivation important?" is because in today's down economy, it's more important than ever to have a motivated workforce.

employee motivators

That's because a motivated employee is a productive employee. And a productive employee is a more profitable employee. See how that works? When people aren't motivated, they become less productive, less creative, less of an asset to your company. Now more than ever, we need motivated employees!

Then, obviously, the answer to "why is employee motivation important?" is simple: So you can stay in business. With that in mind, here are some ways you can get your employees motivated, enthused, and ready to go conquer the world:

First, motivate yourself.
Have you ever worked for a sourpuss? I know I have...on more than one occasion, as a matter of fact. Talk about a de-motivator! It's hard to feel good about your job if your boss is stressed out, disinterested, and/or unmotivated.

However, one of the truest statements ever made is that enthusiasm is contagious. (Oh, by the way, the opposite is true as well.) If your employees see that you're enthusiastic about your job, they are more likely to be enthusiastic about theirs.

Then, one of the first steps to learning why is employee motivation important, is to find out what motivates you and then make sure you're doing it on a regular basis. Are you motivated by money? Extra time off? Praise and recognition? Just because you're the boss doesn't mean you shouldn't be rewarded! Chances are good that many of the things that motivate you will answer the question of why is employee motivation important. Which leads us to the next subject...

Understand what motivates your employees.
Again remember that main answer to why is employee motivation important is so you can stay in business. Therefore, before you can understand why is employee motivation important you must understand what motivates them individually.

Different people are motivated by different things: money, success, recognition, popularity, status, career development, health, balance, learning. Use this list as a starting point to develop your own "motivational" list, and ask each of your employees to check the things that are important to them. Once they do this, sit down with each employee to discuss her motivational factors and design a reward program that is specific to her individual psyche.

Obviously, there are many ways to tangibly reward employees, but a few I have found work well are listed below. If any of these appeal to you, just click on the banner and it will take you to their site.

The first reward I'd like to recommend is gift cards. I love gift cards because they are a lot more personal than simply handing over cash or a check (although both of these work, too!). One of the best gift cards, in my book, are American Express. A great perk on these is that you can even customize them if you wish. Click the banner below to learn more about them:

American Express Giftcards

As I have said before, there are very few thank-you gifts that work as well as cookies. There are a couple of really good places to order cookies online, and one of my favorite ones is Mrs. Fields. To go to the site, just click the banner below:

Mrs. Fields Gifts, Inc

One last recommendation I have for you is a thank-you gift from "Successories". These types of items work great because they work as both a reward and a motivator. Check them out by clicking the banner below:

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If your budget is limited, a nice card is a great way to say "thanks!" There are a lot of great card sites out there, but one I like a lot is American Greetings. Click the banner below to learn more:

American Greetings Free Trial how to motivate employees

Make your employees feel rewarded, recognized, and appreciated.
Because let's face it, it makes a heck of a lot more sense to retain employees than hiring new ones all the time. One of the best ways I know to retain an employee is to make her feel appreciated. Never underestimate the value of simply saying "thank you." And if you've done a good job understanding why is employee motivation important, while determining her motivators (as per the above point), then your battle is half won already. Just be sure to be consistent and fair with your rewards, recognition and praise, or it will have a de-motivating effect on your staff.

Vigorously manage your weak performers.
This is a great illustration of why is employee motivation important. Have you ever heard of the 20-60-20 percent rule? Basically, it states that if most companies took the time to rate the performance of their employees, they'd find their employees divide into three categories: 1) 20 percent strong performers, 2) 60 percent average performers, and 3) 20 percent weak performers. Although average and strong performers make up 80 percent of a business' workforce, it's the 20 percent segment of weak performers that can bring down the performance level of the entire group. Why is employee motivation important? Because apathy and negativity drag everyone down - two qualities weak performers have in abundance. When you allow the weak performers to "get away" with weak performance, the message you send the other 80 percent of your workforce is that excellence isn't expected.

So what do you do about your weak performers? You have to mange them very closely. First, make sure everyone in your company has a specific job description. This lets your employee know what you expect of them, and provides a standard by which you can measure your performance.

Second, decide if your weak performer is weak because he doesn't understand the job, or isn't suited for the job. Additional training may be required, or you may need to move him to a different position to which he is better suited. If neither of these methods works - or if you decide your weak link just doesn't have a good work ethic - you may simply have to fire him. One of the most dangerous things you can do is to keep a habitual non-performer on board. It's one of the quickest ways I know to mire your company in mediocrity. But if you get rid of your non-performer, you will send a message to other non-performers that they better clean up their act, while prodding other employees to aim even higher.

Third, conduct regular performance reviews. I'd recommend you do these every three to six months for your weak performers. It sends them a couple of messages: 1) you are paying attention, and 2) they will be measured against how they perform. When you show your workforce that you value good work and won't tolerate poor work, you raise the bar across the performance levels. Your top employees are vindicated, your average workers are motivated, and your non-performers are eliminated.

Allow your employees to express themselves.
People like to believe their opinions matter...that they matter. A key motivator for employees is to be able to have their opinions and ideas taken seriously. For example, I managed creative people (copywriters, art directors, graphic designers) for many years. One of the things I always looked for in potential hires was a little bit of a rebellious streak. Sounds a little odd, I know, but I did this because I knew that they wouldn't be afraid to speak their minds and to constantly challenge the status quo. This, in turn, would keep all of us on our toes and growing forward in the right direction. All I had to do was to provide an environment that was safe and encouraging for all these free thinkers.

Do you encourage your employees to express ideas and offer suggestions - even if their feedback isn't always easy to hear? If you don't, you might want to rethink that.

employee motivators

Challenge your employees to greatness.
The best way to build a great company is to motivate your employees to be great themselves. Encourage your employees to continue growing and developing their skills and talents so they can be and do everything they want to. Inspire them to achieve their goals. Let them know that opportunities are limitless!

Create a positive environment.
Have you ever walked into an office where you could just feel the bad vibes floating all over the place? The receptionist is frowning, the owner is scowling...heck, even the janitor looks mad!

If you want to motivate your workforce, you need to promote an atmosphere that exudes positive energy. Make sure all you employees know they are important, valued members of a team. Always discourage gossip among your employees, and never engage in it yourself. Keep your office doors open and keep yourself approachable, and encourage all your managers to do the same. The more positive your environment, the more motivated and productive your staff will be. Are you understanding the answers to "why is employee motivation important" yet?

Don't be afraid to have fun.
All work and no play...you know the rest. One of the best ways to motivate is to set work aside for a bit and just let everyone have fun. Some of the things I've done in the past is to have Donut Fridays, Nerf(r) gun wars, pizza parties, department retreats, kite flying afternoons, go-kart races...put your mind to it and I'm sure you can think of dozens of fun, morale-building activities.

Now that you've learned the answers to "why is employee motivation important," you understand that no matter what size your company, having a motivated workforce is critical to your success. And as we move through these tough economic times, it's more important than ever.


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