I have been thinking about motivation recently. At the office it must be said that motivation is pretty low at present. I think if we had an employee opinion survey then the results would be the worst ever.

It should be different. We recently moved buildings, from the place we had been for 20 years to a trendy place in the city. Therein lies the problem. Everything that Management could do wrong, they basically did. There was no consultation, little information, and after the deal was signed it was presented as a fait accompli which nobody could do anything about. For many long term employees it increased their commute considerably.

People have been leaving for months now, some in advance of the move, others since then. Those who are left are struggling with extra workload,  falling sales, and logistic problems caused by a move of the warehouse. The Management has become almost invisible, especially the managing director who was the one who was so keen to move in the first place. He sits in his glass office, with his feet up, and a clear desk, while all around wonder what he does all day.

I normally do not even realise he is in, as he is on a different floor and rarely ventures downstairs to our floor.

So here are 5 top tips I found when surfing the web this evening:

1. Come to work in a good mood – this is very important for the boss. If he is in a bad mood, then we all know it, and it sours everyone elses mood too. And for our MD he needs to see and be seen. Greet the people by doing a walk through of the offices each morning, talk to us, get some feedback and act on it.

2. Make sure people know what is expected:

Ambiguity can stifle employee motivation. When employees know exactly where you are going as a team, and when they know exactly what is expected of them, they will require less direction and prodding from Management. At present we do not know where we are going, because nobody tells us anything. There are no more update meetings, only rumours, or announcements of somebody leaving. We do get a lot of announcements, but they just tell us what has been decided, but not where we are going or what is expected.

3. Provide regular feedback

People want to know how they are doing. It is important for a manager to provide ongoing feedback for their staff. This covers both positive feedback, and constructive criticism. I heard today that the feedback being dished out at present to those who raise issues, is that the Management is not interested in the problems only the solutions – easy to say, but totally demoralising for somebody who is trying to deal with issues caused by decisions made by other people, without consultation, and who is looking for constructive support.

4. Help people grow

Everybody wants to grow and develop. In today’s world employees know they have to become more and more valuable in order to stay competitive. Unfortunately at present we do not get the feeling that the company wants us to grow. Quite the contrary, it is clear they are trying to save money, and doing so by downgrading positions at every opportunity and drafting in temps rather than hiring permanents.

5. Give people choice

An integral part of intrinsic motivation is autonomy. When people feel autonomous, they feel they are in control of their own destinies. In a work setting this is demonstrated when people have choice in how to do their job. When you micromanage an employee they feel like they have very little choice. This kills employee motivation because they feel more like a prisoner than a trusted part of the team.

Keeping us in the dark and feeding us bullshit is also not a way to make us feel like trusted team members.
Unfortunately Management really does have a long way to go now to create a motivational atmosphere again.

Dilbert sums it up really, as ever