A major responsibility of any human resources professional involves helping managers improve employee engagement and motivation. Engaged workers are simply more likely to stay with a company. This is important from a financial perspective—a recent study indicates that the average cost of employee turnover is $15,000 per worker. Thus, HR departments should identify effective ways to motivate employees, and share their findings with managers throughout the organization.
The following tips will help. These research-backed findings all demonstrate how boosting and maintaining employee engagement can be much simpler than some might realize.
Employees may feel more motivated when they know their hard work will be appreciated and recognized—they feel as though the organization values their contributions and that they make a real difference.
That said, it’s important to make sure the recognition managers provide is authentic. Gallup analysis shows that recognition is most effective when the appreciation is tailored to the specific employee. While everyone appreciates the offhand “Great job!” comment from their manager, if this is the extent of the recognition employees receive, they may begin to feel unappreciated. An employee is more likely to trust that their manager is being honest—and thus feel truly valued—if the manager provides a clear example of their strong performance when they are recognized.
It’s also worth noting that Gallup’s analysis indicates the necessity of cultivating a workplace culture in which everyone is encouraged to show appreciation. Although employees respond most to acknowledgment from managers, the overall positive effect is heightened when all members of an organization openly acknowledge their peers’ contributions. Again, this is a something HR can promote. HR professionals should meet with key executives in their companies to determine how best to foster a “recognition-rich” working environment.
Surveys indicate that employees are typically more motivated when they have frequent opportunities to communicate with their managers. That’s why HR should encourage managers to schedule regular check-ins with their team members.
Communication offers several benefits to employees that have a positive impact on overall motivation levels. First, if an employee needs to address an aspect of their job they’re struggling with, speaking about the issue with their manager can help them understand how to correct the problem. Regular meetings also give employees the chance to provide their own feedback about what’s working and what’s not, both on a team and organizational level. When people feel their voice will be heard, they typically feel more engaged in their role.
From an HR perspective, it may also be necessary to evaluate current performance review procedures. Some experts point out that annual performance reviews are not as valuable as some may think. Instead of assessing an employee’s performance once a year, HR departments should help management implement new policies that facilitate more frequent reviews.
Let Employees Provide Feedback
Again, regular communication gives employees the chance to express their opinions about the company’s policies, operations, leadership—and whatever else may be on their mind. This can have a positive impact on their motivation levels.
That said, HR should also account for behavioral differences among workers. Some employees may not feel comfortable directly expressing their concerns to supervisors, especially if they have a problem with their supervisor. Even if they don’t, this concern is easy to understand. They might worry that any form of potentially negative feedback will be interpreted as criticism of the organization, and thus put their job in jeopardy.
That’s why HR should facilitate other means of providing feedback. Web-based forms that allow employees to express their opinions anonymously are a simple way to ensure as many people as possible have the opportunity to share their feedback comfortably.
Implement Development Plans
Employees want to know their efforts will yield rewards. They won’t be motivated if they feel they’re going to make the same salary and stay in the same position for years without any chance of progressing in the organization.
Performance development plans show employees that if they work hard, they’ll be rewarded with opportunities to move up the ladder. While it’s still important for managers to regularly evaluate employee performance, employees should also be tasked with assessing their own skills and growth. Allowing employees to make a plan for moving up within the organization, in alignment with company goals and policies, can help them feel a sense of autonomy and ownership of their career.
This method also boosts employee motivation by allowing employees to focus more clearly on their strengths and weaknesses. On the one hand, consciously assessing their strengths will help an employee better understand why they are truly valuable to the organization; this improves engagement. On the other hand, taking the time to regularly focus on improvement makes them more likely to take the necessary action. An employee who is struggling in one aspect of their job might not feel motivated to do anything about it if they haven’t assessed what’s holding them back.
These are all important points for HR professionals to keep in mind. Again, motivation boosts retention, which saves money, time, and hassle. Higher motivation levels can also ensure the organization keeps its most talented workers and can help foster a positive workplace culture.