Posted by: deltadallas | July 17, 2009

Motivating Your Employees in Tough Times

Michelle Cook, CPC, CTS is Vice President with Delta Dallas

Michelle Cook, CPC, CTS is Vice President with Delta Dallas


Companies need motivation, especially during tough economic times. When you think about it, the success of any facet of your business can almost always be traced back to motivated employees. Unfortunately, motivating people far from an exact science, there is no secret formula.

There might be a lower emphasis to motivate employees since there probably won’t be much jumping around to other companies, but just because employees stay doesn’t mean they will be motivated to perform their jobs at high levels. Quality will suffer as a result. This is why companies still need motivation during both good and bad times.

From productivity and profitability to recruiting and retention, hardworking and happy employees lead to triumph.

Here are some ideas I have come up with on how to motivate:

Start with YOU
It’s amazing how, if you hate your job, it seems like everyone else does, too. If you are very stressed out, it seems like everyone else is, too. On the other hand, enthusiasm is contagious. If you’re enthusiastic about your job, it’s much easier for others to be, too. Also, if you’re doing a good job of taking care of yourself and your own job, you’ll have much clearer perspective on how others are doing in theirs.

A great place to start learning about motivation is to start understanding your own motivations. Think about how your job is configured to support your own motivation, and what can you do to better motivate yourself? The key to helping to motivate your employees is to understand what motivates them, so what motivates you?

Each person is motivated by different things. You can find this out by asking them, listening to them and observing them.

Create a check list of possible motivators. Fill out the list yourself and one for your employees and then have each of your employees fill out the list for themselves. Compare your answers to theirs. Recognize the differences between your impression of what you think is important to them and what they think is important to them. Then meet with each of your employees to ask what they think are the most important motivational factors to them. Lastly, take some time alone to write down how you will modify your approaches with each employee to ensure their motivational factors are being met.

Here are a couple of ideas:

  • Time Off
  • Flextime
  • Working from home
  • Consider, for example, time with family, recognition, a job well done, service, learning, etc.
  • Moving physical location of office/cube
  • New job title

Establish goals that are SMART:


Clearly convey how employee results contribute to organizational results. Employees want to know that what they are doing does make a difference. This realization often requires clear communication about organizational goals, employee progress toward those goals and celebration when the goals are met.

When employees have done a good job, particularly when they’ve succeeded in a challenging assignment, nearly all want to be recognized for doing so. When this doesn’t occur, the result often is de-motivating (a “what’s the use, nobody cares” attitude). But when honestly and genuinely offered by supervisors and other management, praise and recognition can be one of the greatest motivators.

Have Fun
The reality is that too few people are having fun at work. And there is plenty of evidence that suggests employees who have fun at work make more money for their employers, miss less work, are more creative, and are ultimately have increased job satisfaction.



  1. Hi! Michelle,

    The statement you made about being motivated at work or having fun at work it is a true statement. Your statement “Enployees who have fun at work tend to make more money and they miss less or their attendance is good. I was one of those person although, I don’t consider myself as an employee due to I partner with the employer where I am recruited. I am one of the perfect attendance person and a 5 STARS winner in my career lifetime. As a Christian Professional, I really enjoyed what I do as an Assistant Controller/Financial Assistant/Staff Accountant. I wear all three hats and sometimes even more. Now the LORD is directing me to a highter commitment. I am actively searching for a position due to the company I was with suffer with the economy and they had a tremendous downsizing. I am out here networking for Contract or Contract to Hire or Direct Hire positions. I need to know if you can assist me or help network or place me into an Organization or Company. I prefer contract to hire work since it is faster and does not required the interview process. Michelle do you know anyone who is looking for an Assistant Controller/Financial Assistant/Staff Accountant or even Assistant Management role, if you do, please call me @ 972-965-5211. I have never had to work so hard in searching for a position in my life, but now it is very challenging and I really need some assistance with networking and or placement.. I hope to hear from you soon. Have a Great day and God Bless You!………….Amara

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