The first step to motivated employees starts at hiring. If you hire people who are intrinsically motivated, your job is half done: You just need to provide an environment to allow them to stay motivated.
Bob Milligan, a business consultant and Cornell University professor emeritus, cites the following from motivation researcher Edward Deci: Human beings have an "inherent tendency to seek out novelty and challenges, to extend and exercise their capacities, to explore and to learn."
Challenging work, feelings of personal accomplishment, recognition for achievement, increasing responsibility, a sense of importance to the organization, access to information, and involvement in decision-making—when provided in the proper quantity and quality—satisfy the employee’s needs and create an increased commitment of time and energy to the job, he says. "The more we and our employees understand and are committed to the mission of our business, the more likely intrinsic motivation will kick in," says Milligan.
Ron Gibson, a 1,400-cow dairy producer in West Weber, Utah, puts that advice to work. "My goal is to hire people who think. I want people who can find solutions and take ownership in their responsibilities," he says. "Competitive wages are important, but my experience has proven that the best way to motivate employees is through a trusting relationship. My employees know through my words and actions that I truly appreciate them and their families.
"I expect a lot from my employees and they feel the trust I have in them. This allows them the freedom to make decisions for the overall good of the dairy," he adds. "They don’t feel micro-managed, and I am allowed to do the things that I need to do to manage the operation."
Gibson ensures his employees have the tools they need: "Training is vital to the success of our farm and the confidence of our employees. New technology is very important and I try to make sure that my employees have the correct tools and education to be successful. We make sure our employees receive correct training and understand the concept of why we do what we do."For more information on this and other management topics: