Raise your hand if you have team members who are unmotivated. Yep, I bet most of you reading this raised your hand…or at least raised it in your mind because raising your hand while you’re sitting in front of your laptop or smartphone feels silly. But this is no laughing matter. I recently asked a group of leaders how many of them have team members who seem unmotivated and almost every single person in the room raised their hands.

I recently read news from Gallup that described that employee engagement has dropped to 30% in the US, down 3%. This is an 11-year low! In terms of people, this represents 4.8 million fewer workers who feel engaged at work. This can have adverse impacts to safety, quality and productivity in our organizations.

So what is a manager to do?

Motivation can be tricky. For starters, team members are motivated by different things. And as much as we don’t want to believe it –

WE CAN’T MOTIVATE PEOPLE DIRECTLY.

But we can create an environment that meets the motivational needs of our employees. With a few intentional actions, you can create a more engaging work environment for your team members.

  1. Start with Heart — Make it a point to have more meaningful conversations with your employees. And by “more meaningful”, I mean more frequent (think weekly) and more focused around feedback. Employees want to know you recognize and appreciate their contributions, they want opportunities to weigh in and collaborate on how work is accomplished, and they want to hear about the things they are doing well to achieve their goals and priorities. If these kinds of check-ins happen frequently, they can be brief (15 minutes). The purpose is to inspire each team member.
  2. Connect the Dots — Engaged employees feel a personal connection to the mission or purpose of their organization. I swell with pride when I am out in the world and see one of my client’s logos or products. I feel like, “Those are my people!” Many employees don’t have that recognition of their connection to the greater good or how their work benefits your¬†customers. But, managers can make it a point to express that to their teams, to build that sense of awareness and pride.
  3. Find Out What Makes People Tick — By learning more about your team members, you can better understand their motivational needs. Simply ask, “What motivates you most at work and outside of work?” Ask follow up questions to understand why they are motivated by such things. They may say “More money.” You might ask, “What is it about more money that is important to you?” They may reveal that they are supporting a kid’s college dream or caring for an aging parent. The more you know about a person, the more you can adjust how you engage with them to meet them where they are.

When it comes down to it, it is all about the people! And each manager has the opportunity to help bring out the best in their team members, reigniting that spark!

Not sure how to begin? Contact me and we can discuss your situation!