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It’s NOT All About the Money, Money, Money… Motivating Employees in the New Year!

Author: Kathy Barthelt/Tuesday, January 05, 2016/Categories: Because I Care

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Have you ever thought about what really motivates your employees?

It’s not about the almighty dollar, you know. Ok, ok…..money doesn’t hurt, but money alone doesn’t keep most people in their jobs. You actually need to motivate your employees to keep them showing up, mentally and physically. Employees that don’t feel motivated are probably underperforming, and that means you’re losing money.

Ask yourself these questions about your employees:

    • Are they happy…..YES….HAPPY! Do they enjoy coming to work every day?
    • Do they feel challenged, or do they feel demeaned?
    • Are they sinking, or are they swimming?
    • Do they have the right tools in their arsenal to battle the giants?
    • Where’s the reward?

Happiness - I’ve worked with manufacturers for almost 20 years now, and I’ve seen employees who are fulfilled and very happy in their jobs, and employees who count the seconds until they leave each day. Happiness is a choice, but certainly you as an employer can have a big impact on how happy your employees are. Happiness can be found when employees feel that what they do has a purpose. Do they understand that the part that they are making is used in the production of sophisticated medical equipment that saves lives? Or protects families from getting hurt in a car accident? Having the end customer in mind gives purpose to their work. Having purpose can make people happy.  

Challenge – Are your employees given any incentive for process improvement? You are not blessed with the perfect mind. All brilliant ideas do not come from you. The lowest man/woman on the totem pole may have the next best idea for your business. Encourage them to bring those ideas forward. Do they have a path for growth that is clearly defined? If you’re never looking for more from your employees, they probably won’t give it to you.

Sink or Swim - When an employee makes a mistake, do you reprimand or punish them? Instead, how about teaching them? Explain to them how things could be done differently next time and provide some guidance and reassurance that they can and will do better.  A pat on the back when they do it right the second time doesn’t hurt either.

Tools – Have you thought about what you need to provide for your employees to make them successful? Do they need training? Or maybe retraining? Would they benefit from being paired with a mentor? How about their physical tools? Is the machinery and software up to snuff? Are they being held back by outdated software and manual processes?

Reward – So, yes, you need to pay your employees fairly, but there are more rewards to be had. Increased responsibility is a great one (make sure you give them the title that goes with it). Designate an employee of the month and announce their great work to 

everyone in the company. Give employees an opportunity to attend a conference or a workshop which will benefit them and the company. Send a hard working employee a handwritten note letting them know that you noticed their efforts.  Reward the little things and boost morale.

Sorry, I know this is a lot, but employee motivation is YOUR problem, or shall I say… your opportunity to make them happy and more productive. 

Here are 5 ways you can motivate your employees to give their best every day:

1. Train Your Employees

2. Give Your Employees the Right Tools

3. Automate Processes

4. Give Your Employees Real-Time Feedback

5. Provide Incentives to Do More

For more ideas, read this article from the Harvard Business Review https://hbr.org/2016/01/to-motivate-employees-do-3-things-well.

Can you do it? Of course you can! You don’t have to do it all by yourself, however. Companies like Crossroads RMC can assist. We provide training services which can be completely tailored to your business. We also provide software solutions to help automate many of your manual processes, and dashboard solutions to provide real-time feedback on performance.

If you choose to do this, the benefits to your company will be amazing. You will have a happy, loyal and prepared workforce, ready to come to work each day to make the company wildly successful. Something to think about as we start a new year.

I’m looking forward to working with you to make 2016 great!

About the author:



Kathy Barthelt is the vice president of Crossroads RMC, which helps optimize manufacturing systems. She cares deeply about bringing the human side into manufacturing. One can often find her writing and speaking about stress and shop floor workers, job skill, or employee motivation and production improvement. You can find even more insights from her past blog posts.

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