Motivating employees – discover their “WIIFM”

Posted by Lori Michele Leavitt in ASK Lori! - Seleted Answers | No Comments »

Question: How do you get employees motivated and passionate about the mission of the organization so that they strive for self improvement and improved work performance without micromanaging from management or finger pointing at their colleagues?

Lori’s answer:

You’ve put a lot of great keywords into your question: motivated, passionate, mission…
This tells me what a great leader you are – congrats!

But guess what? -No one in your company will care about the practice in the way that you do. That is because the WIIFM (what’s in it for me) for you IS your company; that’s not the case for your employees.

I also love that you brought up finger-pointing. It is a sign of unclear roles and expectations (read: measures).

Now you can tell me if I’m wrong… what I hear in your words is a person who does not want to micromanage…but does want to “be there” for anyone who needs them. Don’t change this.
You can get your employees aligned with what you expect and still be a benevolent leader.

Here’s what I’d like you to do:

  1. List out the keywords in your Mission – or preferably from your strategy, since this will be more easily measured. Note: your Strategy should be aligned with your Mission.
  2. Create a list of key objectives from this strategy. For example: patient satisfaction.
  3. Locate each job description, see if it still fits what you want, and when it does then, map each aspect of the job to a key objective.
  4. Create at least one metric that makes sense for both the role and the strategic objective. For example, a measure related to patient satisfaction might be “wait time.”
  5. Arrange 30 minutes with each employee (with you or their supervisor, as I do not know how large your practice is) to revisit this clearer job description and get the employee’s feedback on how they might achieve each measure… and, here is a powerful part… ask open-ended questions to discover their “WIIFM” related to their role in the practice.
  6. Later you’ll create a measurement system and a means for employees to provide feedback, which – I think you’ll be amazed – can actually help them self re-align with their role as it relates to what you expect (your Strategy).

    Here’s one last thing you might try right away.
    It has helped me gently reinforce what I expect, while also showing appreciation! Generate a weekly email that gives a verbal reward (in my case I call them “this week’s Wow!”) of appreciation for
    actions taken during that past week. I send them out on Saturday so that Monday starts off well!

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