Do you know what motivates your employees?

meeting-3All of us are different!

What motivates you may not motivate the person sitting next to you doing exactly the same job.

I always ask a question in my IT Manager Institute class, “Do you think people are generally motivated, , , or not?”

Many say “No”. A few say “Yes”.

My belief is that most people are motivated, , , they just don’t realize it. Our job as managers is to bring it out of them and to help them tap into their hidden motivation.

This means IT managers must become motivators.

It’s not difficult but it requires you to understand  a  few basics about what motivates people and to do some things rather than simply hope everyone on the team is going to become motivated on their own. It won’t happen that way.

To learn what motivates an individual means you have to get to know them. This isn’t always easy for IT managers since most of us are shy and introverted.

People are more likely to be motivated by one of two things:

  1. What they like
  2. What they are good at, , , one of their strengths

It doesn’t take a lot of effort  to learn what someone likes. Just ask them and they will probably tell you. As their manager, you should already know what someone’s strengths are.

Tap into an individual’s strengths and/or their likes and you tap into their “motivation hot buttons”.

Motivated people accomplish more, they are more productive, and they have better attitudes about their work.

It’s worth every penny you spend to motivate your staff, but in reality it doesn’t take a lot of money. You can motivate with virtually no money to spend on your staff.

In my IT Manager Institute, we do a short exercise. I encourage you to work through it yourself, , , it will only take a few minutes. It goes like this:

“You are a manager of 20 people and you have $500 to spend on your team for the entire year. In other words, you have almost no money to spend. What are some things you can do to motivate your team with only $500 to spend for the entire year?”

Take a few minutes and list 5 or 10 items, , , then I will share a few of mine.

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

Here are a few ideas:

  1. Ice cream in the afternoon – Buy some ice cream sandwiches or popsicles and pass them around to your team. Inexpensive and fun. Total cost – $20
  2. Pizza lunches – You could buy a pizza lunch for the team every month with the $500 you have.
  3. Movie tickets – Take the team to a movie or award movie tickets for performance. With today’s technology, you could also show a movie in your office for minimal cost. Total cost as low as $10.
  4. Sports game tickets – Take the team to a sporting event or reward successes with a few tickets.
  5. Take the team bowling. Set up teams of four and award winners of each game a small prize. Give the team with the overall bets of the three games you bowl a bigger reward, , , maybe a cheap trophy for bragging rights. Total cost – $300-$400.
  6. $5 surprises – Prior to a monthly staff meeting, tape three or four $5 bills and a $10 bill under seats in the meeting room. At some point in the staff meeting, tell everyone to look under their chair for the surprises. Total cost – $30
  7. problem solvingLunch and learn sessions – Play a short training film during lunch and then discuss the issues as it pertains to your organization.
  8. Company memorabilia – Give out shirts, caps, pens, notebooks etc. that are available from your company. In many cases, you can get these at no cost to your department from your Marketing Dept.
  9. Letter of Achievement – Write a letter to your boss about someone’s accomplishments, copy the individual and put in their Human resources employee file. Ask your boss to make  point to say something to the individual about their contribution, , , this has a lot of positive impact. Total cost – None
  10. Recognition in a staff meeting – Recognize success or a behavior you want to reinforce within the team and praise the individual for their positive focus. The value is in the positive recognition in front of their peers. Total cost – None.

As you can see, most of these require very little or even no money.

What’s important is the recognition and showing that you appreciate your team for what they are getting accomplished. Your appreciation goes a long way, , , probably much more impact than you think.

It doesn’t require money to motivate your team. What it does require is that you pay some attention to your team and show your appreciation for what they do. Don’t take them for granted, , , pass out many acknowledgements and accolades for individual and team effort and performance, , , not just the successes.

Motivate your team and you will find they get much more accomplished for you.

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