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High Performance Employees: How to Inspire and Motivate Them

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Author:  Carmen Serbanoiu is Senior Trainer and Coach with a 7-year accomplished career in training and people development programs, working globally across multiple lines of business within international corporations, to ensure competencies development, employee motivation and talent retention at all organizational tiers, from new hires to higher management. Carmen Serbanoiu  has multiple certifications in Leadership, Project & Process Management, Quality – a  keen sense of business needs and strong intercultural and communication skills – developed via extensive business travel  throughout Europe, Middle East, Asia and US.  Starting 2013 Carmen Serbanoiu is Contributor for Outsourcing Advisors.


High Performance Employees: How to Inspire and Motivate Them 

High performance employees are what every business needs to move forward. They are people who have an incurable curiosity, want to be challenged, need to have responsibility and at the same time ask to be held accountable, and want to perform better — everywhere and anytime. With this type of employees, an organization can transform into a true High Performance Organization.

But you need to inspire them.

1. Set high standards and goals:

Managers raise the performance of their people and themselves by setting high standards and stretch goals. They let people feel they are part of a bigger picture and inspire them to achieve greatness as part of the organization. They possess a crusading enthusiasm and take time to win people over.

“If you want to build a ship, don’t clutter people together to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.” ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Managers should consciously inspire their employees by giving them interesting work, challenging tasks and increased responsibilities; and highlighting that they should be proud of their own achievements and those of the organization. They stimulate self-confidence, an entrepreneurial attitude, firmness, a can-do attitude, and a winning mindset in employees.

2. How to get started inspiring employees:

Walk the talk! Become an inspiring person yourself by doing the following:

  • Be passionate about the goals of the organization, show emotion, and generate enthusiasm for these in  your employees.
  • Connect with your employees by showing real interest in them and finding out what motivates and inspires them and actively look for their ideas and opinions.
  • Be somewhat unconventional and take personal risks by doing things differently and operating outside  ‘normal’ organizational boundaries and outside your comfort zone, and letting your employees do the same.
  • Make sure inspirational moments are succeeded by follow on actions so your employees see that you act upon your inspiration.
  • Be engaging and a team person and regularly express to your employees it is all about “we” and not about “I”
  • Become a “storyteller” who is able to package messages in an appealing form that captivates employees.

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” ― Vicktor E. Frankl.


3. How to motivate employees

Create motivational conditions for your employees by doing the following:

  • Paint your employees an attractive picture of the future of the organization and their place in it and provide the rationale why certain goals have to be pursued.
  • Give your employees interesting and meaningful work that challenges and vitalizes them. This work should require them to do things differently,with more risk and uncertainty, which gets them out of their comfort zone.
  • Set stretch goals for your employees and give them more responsibilities and freedom to schedule their own work, while including the possibility of setbacks that they will have to overcome.
  • Provide your employees with the possibility to get into  contact with the beneficiaries of their work i.e. the customers, so they can see the results of  their work.


4. Specific Actions to Increase Employee Motivation

Communicate responsibly and effectively any information employees need to perform their jobs most effectively. Employees want to be included, to know what is happening at work as soon as other employees know. They need enough information so that they make good decisions about their work.

  • Meet with employees following management staff meetings to update them about any company information that may impact their work. Changing due dates,customer feedback,product improvements, training opportunities and updates on new departmental reporting or interaction structures are all important to employees.Communicate more than you think is necessary.
  • Stop by the work area of employees who are particularly affected by a change to communicate more. Make sure the employee is clear about what the change means for their job,goals,time allocation and decisions.
  • Communicate daily with every employee who reports to you. Even a pleasant “good morning” enables the employee to engage with you.
  • Hold a weekly one-on-one meeting with each employee who reports to you. They like to know that they will have this time every week. Encourage employees to come prepared with questions, requests for support, troubleshooting ideas for their work and information that will keep you from being blindsided or disappointed by a failure to produce on schedule or as committed. Employees find interaction and communication  from senior and executive managers motivational. In a recent study by Towers Perrin (now Towers Watson), the Global Workforce Study which included nearly 90,000 workers from 18 countries, the role of senior managers in attracting employee discretionary effort exceeded that of immediate supervisors.
  • Implement an open door policy for staff members to talk, share ideas and discuss concerns. Make sure that managers understand that problems that they can and should solve will be directed back to them, but it is the executive’s job to listen.
  • Congratulate staff on life events such as  new babies, inquire about vacation trips and ask about how both personal  and company events turned out. Care enough to stay tuned into these kinds  of employee life events and activities.

Employee motivation is a common interest from supervisors and managers who are responsible to oversee the work of other employees. You can increase your efforts to improve employee motivation by following the advice given above. I’m willing to make a serious bet that, if you pay constant attention to these significant factors in employee motivation, you’ll win with motivated, excited, contributing employees. Can work get any better than that for a manager or supervisor?



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