I love all the aspects related to running a shop, such as scheduling, ordering materials and solving problems. It certainly helps when your employees are self-starters and are motivated.
When things are running smoothly life is good, but there are those days when projects seem to come to a screeching halt. No one seems motivated. Your shop resembles a museum with a bunch of people that look more like statues than live fabricators. That's where you step in. As a manager, you have the greater responsibility to keep your people motivated. Lack of employee motivation may result, in part, from the things we do, or possibly fail to do.
Some employees may lack motivation because of external issues that are outside the control of management. Family difficulties, financial problems, health issues, car troubles -- you get the picture. Any of these external factors can contribute to motivation slowdown.
Here are some of the reasons employees lose their motivation:
1. Seeing the same problems over and over, with management apparently doing nothing about them.
Perhaps someone is not carrying his weight in the shop. You may have workers who are habitually tardy. And then there is the employee who abuses break time allowances. These types often earn the "slacker" nick-name.
2. Management is not very organized, resulting in projects going down to the wire.
Now you have another rush-job on your hands, and your employee thinks "here we go again." Sure, it's happened to all of us, but if it is happening on every project the effects can be damaging.
3. Not having the proper tools or people in place to get the job done.
This can get really frustrating, really fast.
4. No recognition for hard work. (This is big.)
Your employee wonders: "Does anyone appreciate me?"
5. Poor training.
If our people are not trained properly, how can we expect top performance?
Guilty of any of this? I know I have been. But, fortunately, we learn from our mistakes. There is a quote that goes like this: "I was teaching. They thought I was teaching, But I was learning." That is what happens to managers. Our employees look to us for guidance, but what they tell you or how they act really shows you what needs to be done. I took a small survey of what helps motivate employees. Here's what I found:
1. Bonuses and raises.
That's the obvious one, works for me too, but not something we can do every day.
2. Set a good example.
You can't tell someone to be on time if you are late. Get the point?
3. Become pro-active.
When there's a problem in the shop employees appreciate it if you are out there with them helping them resolve it. It reminds me of news footage of a river swelling over - everyone is helping with the sand bags, not just one person.