Part One of a Two-Part Series Motivating and Training Your Employees

Trust, knowledge and technical training help to motivate employees and guarantee your shop's success.

To remain a viable business in today's changing world of manufacturing, we all face a challenge to reduce cost, which is only achieved by becoming more efficient. We need to understand our business process so we can reduce waste and manufacture more products faster. The vital fact is that in spite of the technology, we all rely on productive, trained and empowered employees to guarantee our business success. A skilled, knowledgeable and flexible workforce is the key to prospering in a global economy. Employees need to be motivated and management's role is to help create an environment that enhances this. Companies are implementing new ideas to help employees make the most of training. To do this, your organization's training focus should be on the development of your two most important assets: your employees and the business process.

 

Motivation Philosophies

First, we need to define the criteria needed for successful organizations to motivate employees. When any organization looks at the basics, they usually will find one common driving principle that begins this process.

All successful organizations must begin with a desire to help someone be the best they can be...always remember this a destination that will never be reached because it is a continual journey.

To help this desire become reality, the company must continually look for all feasible opportunities to be effective and efficient in training endeavors. This will help employees realize what they can do to reach their full potential within their chosen profession. Once an organization establishes this principle, they will need to demonstrate it with values within the organization that support this cause.

 

Defining What Values It Takes to Motivate

We all know that to be motivated, we need a purpose—an inward desire to achieve something. That desire is driven by the commitments we make. There is one important thing that must be in place for any method to work: trust. Trust is gained by proving you have the employees' best interest at hand. If trust is missing, the organization will never get a true commitment from employees. If commitment is missing, you will never establish a compelling reason to do anything. All organizations today are faced with the same responsibility: to gain the trust of employees so that the commitments promised to our shareholders and customers are matched.

 

Unlimited Knowledge Is Unlimited Power

Knowledge helps employees show that they care and have confidence in what they are doing without being micromanaged. It provides them with assurance that the boss is paying attention to them when they speak because they have information that has an effect on decisions. If employees show the right objective in their use of knowledge power, they will become a desired managerial candidate within the organization.

Creating the right environment will only encourage empowerment for the employee; however, the ultimate power lies in more than just providing an opportunity. In all organizations it will lie with individual employees. They must carry out the initiative to empower themselves and take action on opportunities for technical training. If they want the training, the only thing a successful organization can do is encourage them to take it while providing the opportunity.

 

Start at the Top

The first order of business in establishing a successful training program is to develop leadership. Leaders need to be focused on gaining the trust of employees, while simultaneously creating the right environment. If a leader generates trust, passion and a positive force, he or she will automatically give the organization a chance to do well; if he or she generates distrust, gloom and negativity, the organization is set up to fail.

Leaders produce the environment that directly affects employees' abilities and desires to produce at their highest potential. Studies suggest that the work environment—how people feel about working at an organization—can contribute to at least 20 to 30 percent of business performance. So if environment drives business performance, what drives environment? Further studies show that approximately 50 to 70 percent of how employees feel about their organization's environment can be traced to the attitude of one person: the leader. If a leader uses his or her positive influence to create an environment for training he or she has an automatic 10 to 20 percent advantage over negative leaders. While training leaders is considered nontechnical, it is essential in the implementation of technical training programs.

 

Things All Leaders Need to Know

"True leadership is the first influence; secondly, true position as a leader is given as a reward by the team for good leadership; and lastly, without a team, you don't need a leader. It is the leader's job to bring and keep the team together."

All leadership principles must be in that order, if you use your position to force your employees, you will fail. While leaders are a vital part of the organization, they rely on the team to perform the goals of the organization. Leaders have a tremendous responsibility to make sure they know where they are leading the team. The key is to take advantage of all resources in planning before acting. It is up to the leadership of the organization to plan and prepare for problems that can come up in establishing the training goals. By asking for input from the team, the leader/teacher becomes engaged in continuous, interactive teaching and learning. Asking for team input helps build flexible, dynamic organizational structures that work with, instead of against, other team members, sharing success and learning from setbacks. It also gains the trust and loyalty of team members while helping to maximize the training systems' performance. Once the team gives the leader trust, they can all benefit in the success by letting him or her lead the team and help employees understand and accomplish the organizational mission.

 

Leadership Tools for Monitoring the Business

There are a few important tools the leader uses after the goals have been set in order to monitor the business success. For example, financial reports monitor business profits. These reports quickly let you know how the organization is performing, but they also fail to tell you why or what you should do about measuring the performance of the employee.

The most often overlooked and most useful tool for monitoring the business is the employee performance appraisal. This provides accountability to the employee and gives the leader valuable information on where the employee wants and needs to grow in terms of becoming a better employee. When used properly, it is the best training identification tool available. In good performance appraisal forms, there is usually a section that asks employees what their goals are and what type of training they would like. Remember, the key principle of the organization starts with a desire to help everyone be the best they can be. So if that question is not on the performance appraisal, it is essential to add. This information tells the leader what the employees' goals are and tells him or her how employees perceive the organizational environment. Listening to employees' input can provide a wealth of information about the real state of affairs of the company. Taking the time to prepare a sincere performance appraisal will generate the trust that leaders need from the team, which leads to the commitment they need to accomplish the organizational goals.

 

One Final Tip

When the correct intent is missing it causes a lot of confusion as to why motivating employees fails. No matter how you look at it, life is about intent, which is difficult to convey because it must be shown. It only comes about through continual practice. If your employees perceive that your ultimate intent is to help them, they will recognize it and your organization will have lasting success. Remember that having the driving principle ingrained in the organization as your intent is the reason organizations are successful in motivating its employees. Once you establish this then the How becomes a matter of choice that can be flexible enough to fit any organizational need.

Related Content

Part Two of a Two-Part Series Defining and Developing a Training System that Works

To build an effective training system shops must take into consideration management and employees' technical skills.