How to Motivate Unmotivated Employees

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Managers are frequently frustrated by employees who underperform. Often, an underperforming employee is an employee who is unmotivated. According to John P. Strelecky, author of "The Why Cafe," the solution to motivating the unmotivated "is not pixie dust or magic. The key is being very good at employing . . . essential motivation steps." By using a few of these key steps and sticking to them, even the most unmotivated employee can be turned into a harder, happier worker.

  • Explain exactly what needs to be accomplished and why. Uninformed employees may become unmotivated because they do not know exactly what they need to do. According to Strelecky, telling employees that they need to improve customer service is not something that they can measure and see completed. However, a more specific goal, like "Decrease customer wait times to 10 seconds by June 1st," is something that employees can measure and make visible progress toward.

  • Include your employees in goal setting. While you are the ultimate decision-maker, your employees still have a great deal of knowledge about the company's goals and processes. Asking for their input will help make your employees feel involved and give you a great deal of needed information and knowledge to use in setting goals.

  • Explain the requirements for completing a task. No one wants to get far into a project only to be told that she needs to go in a different direction. Explain the exact requirements for a project along with the exact direction that a project needs to take. This way, employees will not feel like they have wasted their time and will be more motivated to work on and finish a project.

  • Combine your employees' personal goals with the goals of the overall organization. Make sure people feel invested in the work that they are doing. When people feel like they are working not just to make money, but also to make a difference, they will be much more motivated to work. Have people work on projects that are in line with their goals and interests. This will greatly invest people in the work that they do, and invested employees are motivated employees.

  • Remove negativity from the workplace. Negative employees will bring down the entire team, while maintaining a positive environment will make your other employees much more enthusiastic about coming to work in the morning.

References

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