I hear this statement a lot…”We do everything for our employees but we can’t get them motivated and excited about their jobs”. Organizations spend time and resources in programs, activities and events to build an environment of motivation. However employees may see these attempts as futile. The best way to motivate any employee is to get to know them and their strengths.

This is where the employee’s manager comes into the picture. A quick search online found this definition of a manger on Business Dictionary : An individual who is in charge of a certain group of tasks, or a certain subset of a company. A manager often has a staff of people who report to him or her.

This definition lacks the inherent advising, guiding and leading responsibilities of a people manger. A people manager can not advise, guide or lead without knowing the capabilities of their employees. A people manager can not motivate either without understanding each employee’s self interests.

If a manager has a direct staff, he or she is responsible for first and foremost knowing their employee. I am not recommending getting to know their personal lives but getting to know them from a professional stand point.

Discover what their career goals are, what they are passionate about, what type of tasks and assignments they struggle with and more importantly what they excel in. Then encourage them by assigning projects, assignments and tasks that allows them to use those strengths.

Getting to know your employees also allows managers to understand each employee’s incentive factor.  Is it recognition and acknowledgements, is it monetary perks, is it job and title advancements?

Knowing what motivates your employee allows the manager to reward employees in small ways other than a possible raise after an annual performance appraisal.

Motivation comes with knowing who you are trying to motivate and what will satisfy their professional “cravings”.

Learning more about your employee takes time and effort but it’s effort that’s well taken. It is motivation in itself when an employee recognizes that their manager has interest in their work and their goals and aspirations.

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