Have you ever wondered why employee motivation is almost nonexistent in the workplace today? Why is it that most employees are so disengaged as compared to 10 or 20 years ago? What happened? Well, the answer is simple.
They woke one day and realize that the job they signed up for is radically different than it used to be. They are uncertain about their future with the company.
They are afraid that at any given time a major downsizing announcement might come down the pipeline. Or, in some cases, the job they gave so much of their time and energy to may completely vanish. That’s not a good feeling.
The reality is, it’s hard to come to work every day full of enthusiasm and passion with so much happening so rapidly. Do you see what I mean? And they wonder why you as an employee is not motivated to give your very best.
Let’s say you are the employee I’m talking about. Can you relate? Would you agree the workplace is going through a transformation that is mind-boggling?
Did you know that it was going to come down to this? Better yet, were you ready for it? I bet you the answer is no.
Your leadership team is shouting the phrase “lean thinking”. You are told to do more with less. You have very few limited resources to work with. Yet, you are expected to produce impressive results. Who are they kidding?
You see, I get to travel and keynote lots of conferences all over North America. And I meet lots of employees that are going through the motions. They show up to work just to do their job and go home.
There’s no emotional attachment whatsoever. In other words, they are NOT loyal to the company anymore. After all, they have been let down in many ways. Wouldn’t you say so?
Okay, let us continue to assume you are the employee reading this. You are nodding your head in agreement with me. Maybe you are dissatisfied. You feel like your company is taking advantage of you. And your level of motivation is zero.
You just don’t have it you anymore in you. You are not feeling it. The excitement you had when you started slowly dwindled away. Let me tell you this:
You cannot continue spending eight hours of your life five days a week feeling that way. If you do, you will eventually ruin your health or life for that matter. The worse part is, your family and friends will also be affected by your moods, attitude, and feelings.
So, what do you do? How do you keep yourself motivated instead of going through the motions? How can you change the way you are feeling? Well, let me share with you this one truism:
Employee Motivation Is Your Job
You see, when you are demotivated, you perform poorly. And the more you continue to perform poorly, the less competent you feel about yourself. A sense of inadequacy settles in. As a result, your self-esteem and self-worth start going down the drain.
I’m here to tell you, it’s time to wake up. It’s time to understand what’s being at stake here. I’m talking about your health and your life. I want you to take charge of how you feel when your company starts introducing change. Motivate yourself!
The truth is, your companies can do very little to motivate you in spite their employee motivation initiative. True motivation is an inside job. It’s an internal dialogue you have with yourself.
3 Employee Motivation Ideas That Really Work
1 – Tweak Your Attitude To Embrace Change
There’s a good chance you may be feeling like your company is taking advantage of you. Or, maybe they are taking advantage of the economic crisis to put a lot of pressure on you.
Hey, after all, they know it’s hard for you to leave. There are not that many jobs out there like it used to be.
In some ways, you might be right. However, rest assured that your company may not be initiating change. Rather, they are reacting to external change. Somehow, they come to the conclusion that they have to do something or they will become irrelevant.
Unfortunately some of the decisions they make might impact you negatively. But, you simply can allow what’s going to ruin your life. You have to tweak your attitude to view your circumstances differently. You have to realize everyone across the board is being affected.
Am I saying you don’t have reasons to feel upset and discouraged in the workplace. No. All I’m saying is that you can choose your attitude toward what’s going on. You can find ways to motivate yourself.
Now, I’m guessing your company is worried about employee motivation during those times when they have to make decisions that are not popular. They know their decisions will affect the morale of the employees.
Well, whether they worry or not, they are not going to be able to change your attitude toward their decisions. They can’t motivate you to forge ahead, embrace and accept change. As I mentioned before, that’s your job. YOU alone can shift your attitude.
The way you are interpreting the events in your life determines whether you are happy or not. It’s what determines whether you have a good day or a bad day. It’s what determines your level of stress and motivation.
Why not internally engage yourself in a conversation about your feeling? Try to say this to yourself: “There’s nothing I can do to stop the company from implementing the current changes. All I can is accept it for it is and do the best I can.” That’s an attitude shift.
Look, when the train of change takes off on the railroad, you have two choices: You can stand in front of it and resist it until it runs you over. Or, you can jump on it and ride it.
I promise you, if you start looking at from that perspective, your attitude toward it will be different.
All right, having said all of that, it’s obvious that by keeping your attitude in check, you’ll have a happier and healthier life.
2 – Exploit Your Company As Much As You Can
I know that doesn’t sound nice. But, oh well! It is what it is. Today more than ever, you must view your workplace as a tool to learn, grow, and develop yourself for future opportunities.
Maybe I should say in case the company decides to let you go. You want to constantly keep increasing your value so you can become more attractive to the marketplace.
If you read my book Kick Your Excuses Goodbye, you should be familiar with my story. Basically, I rose from poverty and diseases in a tiny village in Haiti to become one of the highest paid business motivational speakers and authors in the US.
I arrived in this country at the age of 21. I didn’t speak any English. I had only two shirts, one pair of pants, and $5 to my name. I have no resources and connections.
The odds were stacked against me. But, I have always had an unfair advantage over many. I’m talking about my intense desire to learn, grow, and develop myself. I have always had an insatiable appetite for knowledge.
I can’t really explain where and how I acquire that deep thirst for knowledge. Maybe it’s because many of the people in my village predicted I was not going to make it. Somehow, I always want to prove to them that not only I can make it but I can make it BIG.
I remember my first job in Miami, Florida. I was a janitor. I was so unmotivated at that job. I’m not even sure if the company knew anything about employee motivation. Because they treated their janitors like slaves. Morale was very low.
Needless to say I had good reasons to be negative. Instead, I chose to exploit the company I was working for. How did I do it?
I decided to use the job to better myself so that I can get q better job. I started collecting letters from the trashcans.
Every night before I went to bed, I would spend time rewriting those letters by hand. I was doing that for two reasons. The first reason was to improve my English. The second reason was to learn how to write and structure letters.
Soon, I started having a good repertoire of words. I learned about how to write and format letters. To this day, I’m still making great use of the knowledge I acquired as a janitor.
What about you? Are you unhappy and demotivated at work? How about making a decision to use your available resources to better yourself in a way that makes you more marketable and valuable? Here’s an awesome strategy:
Let’s face it, there are many areas in your company that are critical. They cannot continue to be profitable without those areas. A good example would be the marketing or customer service department.
Let’s assume marketing is the critical area we’re talking about. Here’s are the steps you can take to become so good in those areas that they cannot deny you of promotions and raises:
- Set a short and long term goal to become excellent at marketing
- Read lots of books related to marketing
- Start inviting the top employees in that department to lunch in order to pick their brain
- Learn everything you can about that department and more… I mean EVERYTHING
- Make it a top priority to secure any position in that department if you can
- Volunteer for cross training
- Start making yourself helpful and accessible to that department
Here’s what will happen: In a relatively short period of time, you will become really good at marketing or whatever critical area you choose to excel at. You will also be more valuable to the company than you used to be. The best part is, you are now more ATTRACTIVE to the competition.
Your self-esteem and self worth will go up remarkably. Guess what? In the process, you are motivating yourself as well. Suddenly, you don’t have to be part of an employee motivation program in order to be happy at work. Am I making sense to you?
Look, I just shared one example with you. However, I want you to take advantage of EVERY opportunity your company offers. You see, when you take full advantage of what your company offers, you do it for you. Not for them.
My advice to you is this: If there’s a tuition reimbursement program, take advantage of it. If there are internal trainings available enroll to take those trainings.
Go to the HR department and inquire about what’s available. Sometimes they don’t promote what’s available. You have to ask. The key is to use the company’s resources to increase your value to the marketplace. Go it?
Unfortunately, when I was a doorman at the hotel, they didn’t have training opportunities available for employees at my level. Whatever they had was available only to the managers. I had to take the other approach. Educate myself.
I spent my own money to train myself. I took many personal development courses and attended many seminars at my own expenses. Since I was paying for them, I took the time to absorb and apply what I was learning. Mind you, I would have the same attitude even if someone else was paying for those trainings.
3 – Quickly Find Your Mentors From Top
When I say quickly, I do mean it. Ask those at the top to mentor you. They have walked on enough landmines and face enough obstacles during their career ascension. Learn from them.
Again, you may be surprised to learn that your company already has a mentoring program that you’re not away of. The best way to find out is to ask.
I many cases, you may find out that you are not qualified to participate in the mentoring program because of your current position or your seniority. Well, there’s something you can do.
When you ask someone within the company to informally mentor you, you won’t get a structured mentoring program. That’s okay. At least, you will have the opportunity to ask great questions about the industry. One of the most powerful questions you can is this:
“If you were me and you had to start all over again in this company, what would you do differently?”
You may also want to keep a notepad with you at all times. As soon as a question pops into your head, jot it down. Ask intelligent questions in order to get intelligent answers that can help you get to the top a lot faster.
Come to think of it, in the event there’s not a mentoring program within your company, suggest one. As long as you can explicitly show the company what’s in it for them, they should be open to your idea or suggestion.
The way to do so is to investigate how other companies run their mentoring programs and present your findings to the top echelon.
If you want to be happy at work, you have to create and nurture great relationships. Now, it’s great to hang out with your co-workers. But the people at the top need to know who you are as well. They are the ones that can pull you up.
I’m sure you have heard the saying, “It’s not what you know. It’s who you know.” But, that’s not true. It’s not “who you know.” It’s actually “WHO KNOWS YOU!” Well, how do you make sure the people at the know you?
The simplest way to do so is to start networking with them. Try to discover their hobbies and pastimes. For example, if the people at the top play golf, take some golf lessons so you can start talking golf with them. Subscribe to golf magazines.
Find out when and where they are going to play. Ask if can join them.
When there is a business function or networking event, always try to participate. But be sure not to over indulge yourself. It might be tempting to have too much to drink because some of the big boys are doing it. Well, you are not a big boy yet. Don’t blow your change at getting to the top.
Let me say this to wrap up: There many companies that talk about their employee motivation strategies. But often, it’s lips service.
To me, the best employee motivation strategy a company can execute is to have professional growth trainings in place as well as opportunities for the top to connect with the bottom. An environment that is conducive to learning and offers opportunities for growth is what creates lasting motivation.
My advice for any company that wants to motivate their employees is to give them the opportunity to become someone they were not when they started with the company.
It’s never about what you are getting. It’s always about who we are becoming in the process.
There you have it. I gave you some amazing strategies to be and stay motivated in the workplace. Any employee that is engaged in learning and connecting with their co-workers is bound to be a happy and productive employee.
I wish you, the employee and the employer, incredible success!