What Should Managers Do When Positive Feedback and Incentives See No Improvement?

May 15, 201711:29 am350 views

What would you do when you notice that your top performers are showing signs of slowing down? At some point, there are times when people feel like hitting the wall in their professional life. While they might be doing just well at work, receiving positive feedback and even monetary incentives doesn’t lure or motivate them to work towards higher achievements. As a business leader, what should you do when confronted with such case scenarios?

Borrowing the ‘carrot and stick’ approach in leadership, most managers believe that offering rewards (carrot) will motivate employees to work hard and perform much better. You might think that giving particular kind of rewards for employees’ good work will make them excel in their job roles.

The rewards needn’t necessarily be in the form of financial benefits, but also non-monetary compensation as well, such as positive feedback or good reference for future promotion. However, motivating employees with such perks do not always guarantee further enhancement of their skills and performance.

Copious studies have underlined the fact that motivating employees goes beyond money. For instance, McKinsey Quarterly survey reveals that only 52 percent respondents agree that, increase in base pay is an effective method to motivate talent to perform better.

Meanwhile, 63 percent respondents agree that getting attention from leaders will make them thrive, sustain and stay to perform their best. These findings clearly indicate that financial incentives alone do not motivate enough for employees to stay the course, they only serve the temporary need.

Then what should HR managers do, when positive reviews and salary hike does not bring expected improvements in performance? Here are some tips you can practice:

See: Balancing the Power of ‘Carrot and Stick’

  1.    Give employees a sense of autonomy and control

Lack of freedom might be the reason why your employee’s lack motivation. It is true that sometimes managers cannot help pressurising the workforce to meet tight deadlines at work.

However, too much pressure will only bring burden instead of engaging them with the work. Rather than ordering everything, you should give employees sense of autonomy and freedom of choice to find out the best practices to get the job done. Thus, they will feel happy, engaged and encouraged to perform better.

  1.    Offer opportunities for development

Ensuring growth and development is one of the great ways to ensure your top performers deliver their best every single day. When you provide employees with opportunities to develop their intellectual potentials, acquire certain skills and expertise, they will feel valued as part of the team and only be more engaged in their active contributions towards organisational growth.

When they feel engaged with their job, they will be committed to make active contribution towards achieving the organisational objectives. Therefore, it is imperative for leaders to not only focus on the final output and results, but also on the data inputs.

  1.    Promote a sense of purpose

Perhaps, your employees are demotivated because they cannot find the true meaning of what they are doing for a living. When they cannot relate with their job, they tend to take things half-heartedly and thus unable to give their best.

To solve this issue, you can make some time off your busy schedule to discuss with your employees about the company’s vision, purpose, and values. It is your responsibility to help employees find encouragement and sense of purpose in serving the organisation’s vision that aligns with their principles for life.

Only when your employees understand and find a sense of meaning on how their everyday workings and performance contributes to overall business growth, while helping them advance in their careers with personal well being, they will be completely dedicated to serve the purpose.

Read also: How Can HR Managers Know Benefits That Matter Most to Employees

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