Tip Number One. Stop trying to motivate your staff! Across our industry, laboratory animal care facilities are made up all kinds of employees, from all walks of life, different age groups, different genders and different cultures. Some are long time employees and some are new hires. Although the approach to “stop trying to motivate your staff” may seem a bit harsh, and maybe even counterproductive, it’s probably no more unrealistic than trying one incentive program after another with little to no effect.
We work in an environment where people are asked to do complex tasks. People must be motivated in order to ensure they are doing their best. But making them motivated is not your job. People aren’t horses. Carrot and stick motivational efforts don’t work in our environment. The reason why one person pursues a career in laboratory animal care may be profoundly different from another.
Ask your staff why they have this job. What is their motivation for coming to work day in and day out? Discover their “why" and you will find their motivation.
Here are some tips to boost your staff's motivation:
- Ask them. No one can tell you what motivates them better than they can. Take the time to see what motivates your staff and then work on finding ways to engage those motivations.
- People First. Good leaders know that understanding employees and helping them to understand each other helps to form deep, professional relationships. This ensures effective team work and efficient operations.
- Mentorship. Internal support is key to nurturing the development of staff. Mentors not only provide guidance to new employees, but help seasoned employees, who can act as mentors, contribute to the current and future success of the organization.
- Set a Good Example. If you want your staff to work hard, you need to work hard too. Make sure you are motivated to do the job you have been asked to do. Are you motivated? If so, great! If not, it will be a difficult task to motivate those around you. Discover your why!
- Recognition. Consistently recognize employees who go to the next level to ensure the success of their coworkers and the organization. These are engaged employees and are a huge assets to your organization.
- Create a Culture of Care. A strong organizational culture of care helps staff feel that they are valued, a part of something more than just a job. This culture of care is for the employees as well as the animals we serve.
- Others. Hiring the right people and gracefully release those that don’t want to be there. Train and develop your staff. Provide opportunity for advancement. Create targeted incentive programs.
Employees are the foundation of any operation, take the time to find out what motivates them and why. When properly selected, trained, and reinforced, these employees will thrive when given the opportunity.