The most frequently asked question during management training sessions is “how do I get my employees motivated?” If anything of this worked, managers would do but the following: figure out something for them, use some tools, send them to a training, convince them of the importance of different behavior, get on the soapbox, give a pep talk.
However, those measures are rather arbitrary, while success is not guaranteed. During the implementation process, more guidance is provided by an internal communication plan, which should be considered before all other various messages that are communicated, such as the sense of urgency, the importance of ambitions and objectives, working out objectives and impacts in the workplace, progress made, the first results. This type of internal communication is important because it is expected to fill up the gap between the ‘captains’, those who think and decide which way to go, and the ‘stokers’, those who spin the pedals to make the changes successful.
Ten topics for the communication plan
- Plan some meetings, write down some definitions
- Make the dashboard a permanent item on the MT’s agenda
- Have everyone see what the dashboard looks like, add explanations
- Explain the relationship between dashboards and performance management
- Indicate the necessary external and internal reasons for that
- Communicate the organization’s objectives
- Explain what the implementation process looks like
- Let your staff have their say on the results achieved
- Celebrate each other’s success
- Set distinctions between performance goals and ways to achieve them
The old-fashioned conversation
The “old-fashioned conversation” still predominates any other means of communication. It is the most tailored way of communication, and so it is extremely effective: after all, both the speaker and the listener communicate with each other directly. Employees prefer to hear directly from “the boss himself” because they can immediately see whether he really means what he says. However, in practice, the organization would prefer to provide information through staff magazine, brochures or video clips rather than respond to comments, questions and criticism from employees regarding the implementation. The necessary communication never happens. Read also our article ‘Do they hear me?’?
Motivate employees for performance
Does establishing a good internal communication result in employees motivation for performance? In spite of the method’s efficiency, its motivational effect remains limited. Some managers succeed to reduce the initial resistance thanks to proper motivation, which results in employees being not “against” and somewhat cooperating. Many times, the effect of internal communication and attempts to motivate turns to be counterproductive. The paradox is that the more managers push, the less people move.
Even though the organization members say ‘yes’, they actually do nothing. The implementation of the performance management stalls. The managers’ attempts to motivate their staff merely ignore their intrinsic motivation, their inner motivation. Managers who succeed to observe that, are compelled, sometimes unexpectedly, to think over their management style. They are forced to adjust their style to better associate with the intrinsic motivation of the organization’s members. This is the only way to have their people start and keep to move on their own.
The performing employee
Mr. Smith is a performing employee in charge of assessing applications for welfare benefits. He carries out his work duties diligently, he is never late and hardly ever on sick leaves. His manager has made a scorecard and wants to measure productivity and turnaround time for the assessment of welfare applications. He is also going to introduce peer supervision. Employees are going to assess and discuss applications with issues among themselves. This will make sure that various assessors arrive at the same judgment in a particular case. Mr. Smith is asked to bring in some complicated cases. After repeated urging, Mr. Smith brings two cases that could barely contain any interesting issues. The manager attributes this to a lack of creativity, passion, and critical mind. The three things that he would like to see. What he does not know about Mr. Smith is the fact that he is a passionate high-level chess player, president of a chess club and that he is known for his razor-sharp analytic mind in chess circles.
Make more room for employees
When managers think over their style, they may conclude that this is the biggest obstacle to get people to commit to the objectives of the organization. They find out that they do not give their employees more space for inspiration, new ideas and experiences in carrying out their work duties. That’s a shock. There is but unilateral focus on control that results in the disappearance of intrinsic motivation. The balance between commitment and control is disrupted.
The balance in performance management
Performance management requires just a good balance. In practice, it will take giving employees more influence and allowing them to arrange their own working environment, see also our training performance management. This approach is called empowerment. Without sufficient trust between managers and employees, any style adjustment will actually fail. Trust is crucial, even if the management’s style is not going to adjust, but strives to limit itself for the sake of the best possible internal communication on the introduction of the organization cockpit.