Running is a passion that requires a lot of discipline and dedication. It also allows me to connect with nature (another passion) and is an area where I can set and accomplish both small and large goals. I’m naturally motivated to run, but when I join the other runners at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon’s starting line on October 7, I’ll be further motivated by the opportunity to support a worthy organization and hopefully improve the potential for success in others. That’s because I’ll be running to raise awareness and funds for Inheritance of Hope, an organization that serves children who have suffered the loss of a parent. If you are inspired to make a difference, you can support this initiative by clicking on the link to my fundraising page.
Just as motivation is key for reaching personal goals, it is also essential for achieving success in a business environment. Despite all of the dialogue about motivation, it’s interesting to learn that many organizations aren’t doing enough to engage employees. A 2017 Deloitte report found nearly 80 percent of executives rated employee engagement either very important or important, but only 22 percent were “excellent” at building a positive employee experience.
Many experts argue that leaders can’t motivate others. Rather, they should focus on creating an environment that motivates people. Consider these best practices for doing so:
• Lead by example. If leaders aren’t motivated, they can’t expect their employees to be. Research shows that when we are happy, we are less likely to procrastinate tasks. Thus, leaders must project positivity to encourage themselves and their employees to put in the work required to accomplish a goal.
• Start small. Often, large intangible goals like reaching 100 million in sales or running a marathon can seem daunting. Instead, identify the numerous rungs that will help you and your team climb the ladder to your larger goal and then work towards each of these accomplishments.
• Solicit frequent feedback. Get to know your employees on a personal level to understand what motivates them and what doesn’t. Take their feedback to heart by implementing changes if necessary. Addressing employee needs and concerns can help motivate these individuals to remain loyal to your company and give their best each day.
At Hydro, we recently created an Employee Engagement Team to ensure that all our employees remain engaged and committed to the success of the company. This team is actively promoting change in areas of leadership, communication, collaboration, feedback and recognition.
• Show appreciation. Gratitude for a job well done goes a long way. In fact, research shows that employees who feel appreciated are happier, more engaged and more productive. Doug Conant, former CEO of Campbell Soup Company, and Frank Blake, former CEO of Home Depot, each wrote more than 25,000 thank-you notes during their tenures as leaders. Meanwhile, Sheldon Yellen, CEO of a disaster relief company, writes birthday cards for each employee of his billion-dollar business to highlight his appreciation.
Likewise, we introduced the Hydro High Five. The program is simple. Anyone can recognize a fellow employee. This is a great opportunity to give a special hand-written thanks to someone for the value they bring to the team, accomplishments they have made, how they have supported an employee in their role, or simply made someone’s life a bit easier.
• Remember to have fun! At Hydro, we go above and beyond for our customers, but we also take the time to celebrate as a team at various times throughout the year. For example, employees at our North American headquarters in Cincinnati participate in a Coney Island Waterpark picnic and attend Cincinnati Red’s baseball games. In the winter, we have our annual holiday party. Throughout the year, we host various team building activities as well. It’s this “Work Hard, Play Hard” mentality that gives us the energy to go the extra mile each day.
To explore the idea of motivation further, take a look at Inc.’s list of top motivational books. How do you foster an engaging workplace environment and motivate yourself to reach your own goals? Share your thoughts with me on LinkedIn or via email at email@example.com.
President, Hydro Systems
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