How do you get people engaged and motivated?


By Lizanne de Jong

The most common question uttered by managers is, "how do I get people to
engage and be more motivated to do what they are supposed to do?’

Managers struggle with motivation and think that there is a magical formula that
needs to be followed in order to unlock it. Individuals all have individual needs and
their internal motivations might all be different. It is impossible for a manager to meet
all the expectations of employees.

The most basic premise of individual needs is recognition and the sense of
belonging. People will be motivated if they feel they make a valuable contribution to
something bigger than them. For managers it means that you have to inspire a vision
for the team. Bottom line, team members, who don’t know why they are in a specific
team and what the team should achieve, will not be motivated.

Another important aspect is to clarify the role of the individual in the team. What
are the expectations and deliverables that the employee has to deliver? If an
employee comes to work on a daily basis, but they feel that they do not have clarity
about their contribution, they will feel disconnected and this will eat at their

Motivation and employee-engagement are important interlinked concepts in the
organisation. Managers are motivated by intrinsic factors such as having the ability
to make decisions on their own, being trusted in the organisation and not being

The organisation provides the structural framework for motivation through
systems and processes. However, people drive the process.

Organisations need to be clear on their vision, communications and decision
making strategies.

Individuals need to be clear about their own values and how it fits in with the
organisational values. If there is no congruency, individuals will feel less motivated.
You need to communicate your values to the organisation.

What then should employers do in order to attract and retain key staff?
Motivation is vital for business success and yet, as our survey indicates, it is
invariably a tough challenge to get it right.

Recognising and rewarding staff needs to take account of both financial and the
intrinsic, non-financial rewards according to the Ashridge Motivation and Employee
Engagement survey (2009). In the Ashridge survey managers emphasised how
important non-financial aspects can be.

"My organisation would achieve much more if it offered more non-cash benefits -
more holidays, flexible working, etc.' Another manager highlighted an environment
where so-called bonuses were actually for relatively small amounts of money which
contributed to a negative, de-motivated atmosphere.

Company culture, the calibre of the leadership team, the relationship with the
boss, the level of support provided to managers and whether the management style
is one where gratitude prevails, are all issues likely to impact on motivation.
Motivation needs to be a continual, rather than just a yearly, process.

The People Management Skills for New Managers course is held by Alusani Skills and Training Network . For more information call 011 447 7470, email [email protected] or visit Alusani Skills and Training Network