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Training and motivating employees- A different way to do it

Good employees are worth their weight in gold but they do not come by easily, unless you have been very lucky. They need to be groomed and be given the space and the resources they need to realize their full potential.

The goal of employee training and motivation is improved productivity. Unfortunately though, the equation isn’t as straightforward, despite vast amounts of research into the topic.

The biggest problem, in my view, is that companies all too often adopt one-size-fits-all approaches toward their employees. These simply do not work. It’s much better to treat employees as individuals and give them the guidance and attention they need for a better performance, than make it all about you and your bottom line. That is the only happy way forward for your company and your employees.

Train as per needs- go from general to individual

We all have our strengths and weaknesses, and need training accordingly.

General training sessions such as those directed at introduction of new technology or updated methods of work are important, but you need to go beyond them.

For it to be of the best use, training should be tailored to an individual’s needs. Some employees are good with technology but are awful at communication. They may need lessons in how to write emails professionally, whereas others would need lessons in technology.

Take this into account and come up with training ideas that target the specific needs of your employees, and train them separately. Otherwise, you could be wasting your time and money.

Shake up the seating arrangement

Seat your employees as per who would complement whom well. Instead of throwing all the tech guys together, split them up and make them sit next to those who have a way with words, like content writers. Encourage them to share their knowledge and expertise with each other.

Keep moving them around though, to keep things interesting and to prevent cliques from forming.

Jig up the routine

Introduce at least one hour of fun and play each week, anything that gives your employees something to look forward to (apart from going home). This will relieve the monotony of the same old, same old, and combat the attention deficit that comes with being overworked or stuck in a routine.

Find out what motivates them.

You cannot motivate somebody without first finding out what motivates them. And don’t just assume that you know what must motivate them.

Abraham Maslow proposed a hierarchy of needs, which may or may not apply to everybody. He got the bit about money and security being the most important needs of most people right, but he was speaking of another era when he put self-actualization at the top of the pyramid.

In our increasingly knowledge-based economy, driven by the Internet where information and knowledge are easily accessible, we have an increasing number of young people looking for job satisfaction as much as, if not more than, the money.

Which takes me nicely to my next point.

Customize incentives

Cash incentives are the best and the most comforting from an employee point of view. But if you can’t afford to hand out frequent bonuses or financial incentives to your employees, make it up by indulging their personal likes.

For example, hand out $100 Amazon vouchers to book and gadget lovers, $100 retail vouchers to fashion conscious employees, $100 restaurant vouchers to food lovers, a couple of $50 amusement park vouchers to employees with children, etc.

You will, of course, first need to know who likes what (see the previous point).

If you cannot customize for each and every individual, at least give them a few genuine options. If you have 20 employees onboard, the above will set you back by $2,000. Most businesses can afford that kind of a once-in-a-while spend. If not, you ought to look at where you are leaking money and find other ways of plugging those leaks.

It’s better to let one or two employees go and keep the rest happy than to squeeze in as many as possible and not really do much for any of them.

Do not kill the goose that lays the golden egg

Employers often become very greedy very fast, especially when they find someone who is good at their work. Instead of giving this person the flexibility and freedom they need (which are prerequisites to good performance), employers start saddling them with more and more work. This only alienates the employees who are giving you their best and affects their performance for the worse.

If you must increase their workload, increase the corresponding incentives, too.

Conclusion: Training and motivating people is a tricky affair (and only works when the overall management of a place is in a good shape). Everybody wants to be treated well and made to feel appreciated but very few companies bring in the human touch that gets the best out of most people.

Remember, respect and sincerity are two-way streets. If your employees sense that you are only using them to your ends without any regard to their personal well-being, they too will in turn only use you as a stopgap to better places.

Am I saying that doing everything the right way will always stop your employees from moving on? No, I’m not. But while an individual is employed with you, it’s worth every penny to train them as per their needs and make them feel appreciated; they are much likely to give you an improved performance that way. What are some of the ways that you have motivated an employee, or have been motivated yourself?

This post was written by Andrew Cravenho. Andrew is the CEO of CBAC LLC & Factor Auction. As a serial entrepreneur, Andrew focuses on helping both small and medium sized businesses take control of their cash flow. Prior to CBAC, Andrew founded an annuity financing company relieving tort victims of financial hardship.

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