How to Motivate Unmotivated Workers

Production is down. Morale is down. The staff kitchen is like a wake. People stop talking when you come near. The same people who used to be sticklers for punctuality are now turning up late and having a suspiciously bad run with their health. This is what you might call a sick workplace. Ignore the symptoms and you’ll have a full blown profit plague on your hands.

High tech doesn’t mean high spirits

Your offices, machinery and computer systems can all be as state-of-the-art as you like, but if the states-of-the-minds are behind the times, you’re in trouble. At the end of the day people run your business, not machines, and they need regular maintenance too. So how do you get people motivated and performing at a high level? They have to want to perform and your job is to make them want to.

Be a benevolent boss

And no that doesn’t mean giving to charity, it means giving more of yourself to your workers. It means getting to know your workers, their needs, their hopes and fears. Basically it means showing you care and listening to any concerns. If you have an office, leave the door open and put a big ‘Welcome’ sign on it; tell all staff you’re available any time and encourage them to bang on your door for a chat.

Make weekly one-on-ones number one

It might seem like a massive intrusion on your time, but informal one-on-one chats with staff can make a huge difference to morale and profits. They nip potentially disastrous issues in the bud and allow potentially great ideas to blossom out of nowhere and from the most unlikely source. Obviously if you have a hundred workers you can’t be expected to talk to every one of them once a week unless you have a few doppelgangers. Get all your department heads to do the one-on-ones with their staff, and then have one-on-ones with the department heads.

Show a bit of social

An agent – let’s call him Ethan – works for an international intelligence agency and he sometimes finds it hard to reach other staff when he needs them. As a result Ethan begins to feel anxious, stressed and isolated. His missions become impossible. Now if the agency installs a secure online social tool – much like a private Facebook – Ethan can reach all kinds of staff instantly and get the home addresses of arch enemies and what not without delay. His stress levels drop and suddenly anything seems possible. If your company is large, widespread or run by remote workers, a social connectivity tool can greatly improve communication and collaboration and make staff feel more empowered.


Here’s to a world of happiness!

Dylan Forbes, B.Sc. Psych (Hon.), Pr. AINLP

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