Creating a workplace that keeps employees motivated to stay engaged in their work and connected to the organization can be challenging but well worth the efforts.
Research has found that engaged employees report higher job satisfaction and are less likely to leave. Most employees, especially top performers, want the opportunity to advance to a higher position and to receive raises that reflect their contribution levels to remain satisfied with the job.
Unfortunately, particularly in school districts and other public-school entities, pay increases and promotions are not always possible. Employers should consider ways to motivate employees in other ways.
Employee retention studies confirm employees leave a job due to poor relationships with their boss or peers and to low engagement with their work. Supervisors can focus on these two areas, building positive relationships with employees while creating an engaging environment that connects employees to their work. Typically, individuals who experience a high level of self-fulfillment from their work contributions tend to place less value on the roles compensation and promotions play in their overall assessment of their work situation.
Creating and consistently implementing meaningful employee engagement strategies spur employee motivation which, in turn, can contribute to a higher level of job satisfaction.
Motivation describes why a person does something to achieve goals and is the driving force behind human actions. There are two main categories of motivators: extrinsic and intrinsic. Extrinsic motivators are outside motivators such as pay raises, bonuses, and promotions. Intrinsic motivators are factors determined by an individual’s own values and goals. Both are important to most employees to stay committed to their jobs.
Employees are predominantly responsible for motivating themselves according to Paul Falcone, human resources and leadership specialist, and author of a recent Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) article How To Motivate Employees Without Money or Promotions. He states that self-motivation propels individuals to keep going even when there are challenges. It drives one to look for opportunities to do the work and to achieve goals.
The author suggests supervisors should focus on creating an environment that encourages and allows employees to motivate themselves. The different motivational roles for supervisors and employees are interesting distinctions to consider.
When supervisors provide an engaging workplace, it increases the opportunity for employees to be motivated. Some powerful but simple ways to create this kind of engaging environment include the following:
- Build a meaningful and authentic relationship with direct reports through regular check-in meetings. Take the time to discuss goals, successes, challenges, and changes that might be needed. Listen to the employee’s self-assessment of their work, progress made toward goals, and where they need supports. Place yourself into the role of mentor and coach and show a personal commitment and interest in the employee.
- Show authentic appreciation for the work done. Respect the work done and take the time to regularly thank employees and recognize them for their contributions.
- Provide opportunities for leadership. Without adding to workloads, allow employees to take the lead in meetings or with projects when opportunities arise.
- Offer professional development opportunities. Employees are more inclined to feel like they’re making positive contributions if they’re continually learning. New learning challenges can be provided not only through trainings but also through experiences. Offering a variety of both can keep an employee interested in their work.
When supervisors commit focused time to connect with employees, it gives employees the opportunity to increase their motivation to engage and stay with their work.
For more information on employee engagement, visit the HR Services Resource Library (member login required) and see the following HRX articles:
Cheryl Hoover joined HR Services in 2018. She assists with staffing and HR reviews, training, and other HR projects. During Hoover’s public school career, she served as an executive director of curriculum and principal leadership, executive director of human resources, principal, assistant principal, teacher, and coach.
Hoover earned her bachelor’s degree from The University of Texas at Austin and obtained her master’s degree from Texas State University. She is a certified PHR.
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