In response to this week's On Leadership question: Last year was a tough one for many organizations, wtih fewer employees required to do more with less. How can leaders of such organizations motivate their people as they head into 2010?
I'd begin with a developing a credible sense of shared sacrifice within the organization. If employees feel that all the burdens are rolling down hill and the extra work and headaches are disproportionately falling on a single department, or those at the bottom of the pile, expect bad morale, less-than-excellent performance and poor retention. Leaders have to find ways to spread the pain and share the sacrifice, letting employees know that the organization as a whole is behind them and that the leaders are in it with them.
Tough times can be an opportunity to build a greater sense of "the team" having to pull together to face and overcome new challenges. There can also be promises of shared benefits and rewards for surviving and even thriving during tough times. With increased work and no additional pay, leaders can be creative in other ways to reward good employees other than with bigger paychecks - such as permitting flex hours, allowing some work to be done at home online, symbolic perks, more attention and praise from leaders, increased vacation time (deferred), subsidizing additional child care expenses, etc.
If the only motivator to "suck it up" is the fear of losing one's job, good but dissatisfied people will seek and find other job opportunities. Really capable people always have other options, eventually.
The comments to this entry are closed.