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Motivating An Employee

How would I motivate an employee to be consistent in complying policies and procedures? He follows for a short period of time and then needs to be reminded to get back on track. This has become a recurring cycle.

this is a good question but I would say this is not just a matter of motivating the employee, but this is an issue of compliance. It may be time to step up the pressure unfortunately.

Ryan Meers, Ph.D.

I think you are right it's time to step the pressure and start to write his up in case he will not consistently comply with the company's policies and procedures.

yes, you hate to move to this level, but it is needed at times.

Ryan Meers, Ph.D.

First of all, I ask the employee what are things that motivate them. Then, work with their potential and lead them to be successful.

Make a plan that you can discuss with the employee and do check-ins to establish the consistency.

this is an excellent place to start as you have a base line to work from.

Ryan Meers, Ph.D.


the check in points are key to making sure that all understand what is expected & what is happening.

Ryan Meers, Ph.D.

I would speak with the employee to see what motivates them because motivation should come from within for employee to perform.



Making a plan is a good first step and you will need those checks points.

yes, digging into their lives & finding out what drives them & inspires them is a key way to starting with employees.

Ryan Meers, Ph.D.

Yes. I agree some external factor from the employee life may cause one to lose focus. At times when a manager is concerned or show empathy and try's to at least be someone to confide or vent to can help one reassess and possibly get back on track. This can help to create a better understanding and rapport with the employee.

I currently have an employee who appears to be all too comfortable with making mistakes, often the same mistakes repeatedly. I have identified the source of the problem and shared that with him, giving him the opportunity to share his feelings about it. I have utilized a PIP, in an effort to outline where he needs to focus and apply some pressure to the situation. This yielded some temporary strides of improvement, however, I do not believe that he feels compelled to continue to improve. After taking this course, it has occurred to me that I need to tap into what motivates him better. Previously, if you had asked me, I would have told you that nothing motivates this individual. Is this possible? I have observed zero aspirations of greatness from him to this point.

I couldn't agree more. Employees need to be held accountable to what they are asked to do. My rule of thumb is to explain and coach twice, then I document that we had the 3rd conversation. After that, it's a formal write-up and if it happens again, this employee just may not be on board with what we are trying to achieve. :(

I think that's fair as also after the third time, clearly we have a pattern rather than just happenstance.

Ryan Meers, Ph.D.

I agree, there has to be accountability after you have discuss plan of actions. It's now time for a write up.

yes, never leave this step undone, it is vital for everyone.

Ryan Meers, Ph.D.

I would meet with this employee once a month and help him to refuel his personal motivators as it relates to his job and the defined goals.

In my experience, providing external motivation (tangible and intangible recognition) can only add motivation to the already motivated. Trying to motivate someone who is not sold on their job is nearly impossible. Finding individuals who are the right fit for the job initially (hiring process) is something the leader needs to be able to do well. The individuals will be motivated about the overall position, and the leader can coach and guide in the areas of strengths and opportunities.

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