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Motivation secret: Give employees more control

June 12, 2012

Create a win-win for both employees and your workplace leaders by helping both take more control in reducing stress in the workplace. Taking small measures to help reduce stress and give employees more job control will improve performance, motivation, employee health, satisfaction, and overall happiness.

Maureen Garrity, HR director at Enterprise Record in Chico, CA, said “sometimes employees can’t see the solution” to the origins of their stress. Employee assistance programs can help them “learn how to deal with stress and solve their problems.” Garrity said that work performance and behavior has improved. Giving more control, respect, responsibility, and avenues to seek assistance with stress reduction will help reduce tension and negative, hindering attitudes within the workplace.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has reported that 40 percent of all employees cite their job as “very or extremely stressful.” Along with that, 26 percent say they are “often or very often burned out or stressed by their work.” These figures indicate that in today’s fast-paced, performance-driven society, many of the employees who are responsible for the performance of a company are not satisfied with their work. So, they are not performing to potential.

Stresses experienced by employees have far-reaching consequences: From low moral, job complaints, poor peer-to-peer interaction, poor employee motivation, increased workplace injuries, negative attitudes and poor performance…  to serious and complicated health issues. Health care is becoming more and more expensive and the damaging effects of stress will only create high health care expenditures for all involved parties.

How to Reduce Stress for Employees

Stress in the workplace is a problem that can be reduced with a little creativity, communication, and effort This will improve all aspects of the internal workings of a business. Employee satisfaction will return, employee health will improve, absenteeism will decrease, productivity will increase, employee morale will increase and employee motivation will return.The overall culture within the workplace will make it more conducive to a productive and healthy work environment.

There are several simple steps you can take to empower your employees.

Things to Do

  1. Develop and instill mutual respect between leaders and employees.
  2. Develop an open and confidential line of communication between employees and their supervisors and managers. Communicate clearly to avoid miscommunications. This line of communication could take the form of a weekly 15 to 20 minute all-employee check-in meeting. Brainstorming could take place where employees could freely address their satisfaction, successes, things that work well, places where improvement is needed, business updates or questions. Also, it could be used to help develop internal employee relationships away from a pressured working environment. This in turn will instill camaraderie, higher satisfaction and morale among coworkers.
  3. Acknowledge and respect employee’s voices. Remember that they are the ones who ultimately keep you in your job.
  4. Let employees have a little more responsibility and leeway in creating their immediate work environment. This small change will make a large difference in how they perceive their importance and control in the workplace.
  5. Post and tell employees about stress management programs or related outside help organizations such as psychological help, child care services, medical clinics, chemical abuse hotlines, domestic abuse hotlines, mentoring opportunities, community activities, financial planning or stress relievers such as Yoga or Tai Chi classes.
  6. Create an environment and culture where an employee feels comfortable asking for help in seeking an appropriate direction. Do not involve yourself but rather help direct them to a proper source so they can seek further help themselves.
  7. Remember that stress to one employee may be easily handled by the next. With this in mind, an effective way to empower and reduce stress among employees is to give employees responsibilities that better suit each employee and better take advantage of their individual skills which helps the team achieve its highest potential.
  8. Develop confidential employee assistance programs which will help employees deal with and learn solutions to stressful events within the workplace and in their external lives.

Ways to Improve Morale

Help employees develop stronger social interaction between themselves by providing employees with opportunities to interact and socialize away from a high-pressured work environment.

Help employees test their limits and achieve their potential by including them in decisions, responsibilities and in opportunities that will stimulate them and help them learn. Create ways to further teach them or stretch them beyond what they think they can do. This will boost self-esteem and confidence, all while improving morale.

Show them the value of the work they do and that their work is highly appreciated.  Remember that your enthusiasm and creativity will reflect upon their morale. Spicing things up and bringing zest and passion to your work can only help bring employees more passion and productivity to their work. Be their model of inspiration and you plant the seeds for their success.

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