in Tough Economic Times
Employee motivation is difficult in the very best of times, and can be a
phenomenal problem when employees are demoralized
by issues such as the inability of companies to reward employees with
salary increases. A fundamental principle in maintaining as high a
level of employee motivation as possible, is to consistently show your
appreciation for the outstanding work that they do.
an article on employee motivation titled “Working Knowledge“, Topper
(2004) concluded that times of economic constraint posed double trouble
for administrators: not only do they face enormous financial pressures,
but they also must find ways to maintain employee motivation and reduce
the low morale which follows the financial circumstances. While it’s
always important to show your appreciation for the contributions that
your employees make, in difficult financial times it is absolutely
crucial that you find many ways to do so.
Employee motivation is not always maintained through the traditional
mechanisms that many managers and employees believe are effective.
Research has found that monetary rewards do not produce long-term
performance and productivity results. In fact, some studies have found
that reward programs that only emphasize cash incentives, actually
“de-motivate” staff by shifting the goal from a sense of accomplishment
and contribution, to attaining the carrot of financial reward. Some of
the best ways to enhance employee motivation is to focus on the
employee’s feelings of value and connection to the overall mission of
the organization. The following is a list of some ideas to help you to
Employee motivation through value and
If you don’t know what kind of non-monetary rewards employees might
like, ask them: What would make your job better? What kinds of
incentives are important to you? It may seem obvious, but there is no
one better to answer key questions about things to improve employee
motivation than the employees themselves.
Don’t forget to say “thank you” when your staff put forth an extra
effort on the job, and be sure to carry this practice over in staff
meetings, by adding time to the agenda to issue thanks for employee
competence. Out of 67 potential rewards for doing a good job, employees
have ranked personal congratulations from the manager as number one, and
a written note from the boss came in second according to a survey
reported on the Foundation for Enterprise Development web site.
Create an employee motivation program with departmental awards for
exceptional work, perhaps with an emphasis on customer service.
Make a “thanks for your help” box, and ask the staff to drop-in the
names of fellow employees who go beyond the call of duty; and you might
even hold monthly drawings for a small gift.
Celebrate the completion of major projects with special treats or coffee
Employee motivation may also be enhanced through the acknowledge of the
anniversary date of each employee, either with a paper or electronic
Employee motivation will always be enhanced when an administrator
engages everyone in the mission of the organization, and generates a
shared vision for success.
By Paul Susic MA Licensed Psychologist Ph.D. Candidate
President/CEO Susic Psychological Consulting P.C.