Leadership Development – How to Motivate and Retain Employees

Leadership Development – How to Motivate and Retain Employees

Is your greatest challenge as a leader finding ways to motivate staff? Knowing what motivates employees and incorporating this knowledge into the reward system will help retain a motivated and productive workforce.

Key drivers or motivators at work include:

  • Doing challenging and interesting work
  • Having the ability to make choices about how to go about one’s work and to take ownership
  • Achieving results that are valued
  • Receiving recognition for one’s work

It is as important to understand motivators as well as de-motivators in one’s work. De-motivators at work include:

  • Misaligned job where the strengths are not employed at work, and areas of weakness are required
  • Unclear expectations, causing frustration and necessity to redo work
  • Misfit between boss and employee, causing continual tension and strain
  • Disrespect and not feeling like a valued contributor

Understanding each employee is key. This isn’t a one-size-fits-all strategy! Take time to get to know what motivates and de-motivates each individual.

Here are some questions to ask each of your staff:

  • What is most important or interesting about your work?
  • What challenges you in your work?
  • How do you feel your work is valued and contributes to the organization overall?
  • Have you recently received honest feedback about your performance?
  • What is your greatest source of frustration in your work?
  • When you do a good job at work, what kind of recognition is meaningful to you?

As a leader, here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Over the last 12 months, have I given each employee an opportunity to learn and develop?
  • Am I giving recognition whenever I see someone do a good job?
  • Does each employee have the chance to take ownership of their work?
  • Am I clearly explaining the expected outcomes for each employee and letting go of how they achieve it?
  • Is each employee using innate strengths at work? Do I know each one’s strengths?
  • Do I respect each employee as an individual?

If you answer no to any of these questions, consider putting some focus on and adjusting those areas.


By  John Hester

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