Keys to Motivating Your Employees

by WOHe

In a book I wrote five years ago for NKBA titled The Complete
Business Management Guide for Kitchen and Bath Professionals, I
spoke about the importance of employees to the success of your
overall kitchen and bath firm. In the book, I noted, “The key to
entrepreneurial success is getting others to commit to your vision
and to work at making it a reality. Few successful businesses are
the result of one person’s solo efforts.”

Another point I made in the book is, “In addition to finding the
most qualified people to work in your business, you need to come up
with effective ways to manage and motivate themYour technical
skills can get your business started, but it’s your human relations
skills that will keep it going.”

Start Talking
Communication is at the heart and soul of motivating people.
Employees are motivated when managers provide clear expectations,
instructions, information and time frames.

This creates within the employee a sense of security, respect,
power and control in his or her job. Plus, managers need to
communicate encouragement during the process, as well as
acknowledgement and appreciation on achievement of outcomes.

One of your responsibilities as a manager is to continually
present challenges to your employees. It’s a known fact that
productivity increases when employees are presented with growth
opportunities and challenges. Most employees, when given the chance
to leave their comfort zones, benefit from the stimulation and
enjoyment of a new challenge.

Conversely, when employees experience a lack of freedom, choice
and control in their jobs, the response is usually to play the role
of the victim and blame others rather than take personal
responsibility. Creative problem solving, based on the philosophy
of employee involvement in task analysis, decision making and
self-generated solutions, motivates the employee to take ownership
of problems and responsibility for the success of the

Frequently, employees don’t have the know-how or strategies in
place to complete certain tasks. Consequently, they will be less
motivated and will often experience stress and a feeling of being
overwhelmed. Another one of your responsibilities as a manager is
to be a coach, a mentor. Managers who coach employees enable them
to experience a sense of power and purpose. More importantly,
during the process, managers often help employees discover personal
success strategies they can utilize on future projects.

Make the Time
I continually hear from owners/ managers that they know they should
have a formal training program. And, they acknowledge that job
descriptions are a good thing and that job performance evaluations
are a good idea. However, managers say they are so busy doing their
own work that they just don’t have the time to implement these
managerial tools.

Well, you can’t afford not to take the time to run your business
as a professional organization. If you’re tired of employee
turnover, low productivity and poor morale, these will get better
when you make a commitment to becoming a complete professional

If you follow these simple guidelines, employees are bound to
become more motivated:

  • Motivation Comes From Caring Not Scaring! Fear should never be
    used as a motivation strategy. It may get you what you want now,
    but it will set you up for what you don’t want in the future in the
    form of employee anger, resentment and lack of enthusiasm and
    commitment. When employees feel that managers care about them and
    that they are perceived as respected and valuable members of the
    organization, they are more cooperative, enthusiastic and committed
    to the organizational goals.
  • Employee Motivation Grows and Blossoms in the Right
    Environment. When employees feel nurtured, appreciated,
    acknowledged and respected, they’ll give 100% of their time, effort
    and commitment in return. The job of the owner/manager is to create
    a work environment that provides employees with the opportunity to
    attain their goals. In this environment, communication is open and
    honest. Coaching for success is on-going, training for performance
    is continuous and creative problem solving is a way of life.
    Managers also need to provide sincere expressions of recognition,
    appreciation and acknowledgement to nourish their employees’
    feelings of self worth. Remember to take time to say “Thanks!” and
    “You did a great job.”
  • Walk Your Talk. Modeling the behavior you want from your
    employees is the most effective way to change behavior. If you want
    your employees to arrive on time, you should be in early or at
    least at an accepted time. Becoming more aware of what motivates
    you will increase your understanding of what motivates other
  • Make Work Fun. Laughter is not only good for the soul, but good
    for the mind and body. Having fun is a basic human need and when
    it’s met in the workplace, productivity goes up. Ask for volunteers
    to come up with ways to bring enjoyment into the workplace. Doing
    this will lower stress levels and provide opportunities for
    employees to build a rapport with each other, which is the
    foundation for successful team building.
  • Use the Law of Attraction. The law of attraction states that,
    whatever we focus on will bring to ourselves. If you focus on the
    lack of motivation in your employees, you’ll find more and more
    examples of it. When you seek to learn more about motivation and
    create an atmosphere that fosters it, you’ll find more and more
    examples of motivation in the workplace.
  • Foster an Ongoing Commitment. Motivating employees is a learned
    art and skill. It is an ongoing process because people are
    continually growing and changing. As your employees achieve
    something they want or value, they then seek to achieve more of the

I am a believer and fan of goals (personal and business), of
mission statements (personal and business) and of self assessment.
I have developed both a manager’s and an employee’s self-assessment
questionnaire on motivation. It’s a means of rating yourself in
this all-important area. The space for this article doesn’t allow
room to share it, but, if you’d like a copy, e-mail me at and I’ll send it to you.

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