Think You Know How to Motivate Employees? A Must Read for Management

You’ve recently hired a new employee. Within the first few months, he approaches his job with enthusiasm, excitement and new ideas. However, after about six months, you notice his energy begins to wane. Now, instead of offering a fresh perspective and creative ideas, he muddles through the day checking off only what has to be done. Does this sound like a familiar scenario? If you have ever managed people, you have probably grappled with how to keep your team motivated past the honeymoon phase.

Often, it is not the company, the type of work or an employee’s lack of desire that dampens enthusiasm, but rather management. The Enthusiastic Employee by David Sirota and Douglas Klein will make any manager take a fresh look at how well they are meeting the needs of their employees. This book argues that almost all employees have a desire to make a positive difference.

Sirota and Klein use a massive amount of research, including nearly 200,000 write-in comments from employee surveys to better understand human motivation.

They do a great job of incorporating years of data to support their points without bogging the reader down with unnecessary statistics.

All companies want enthusiastic employees, characterized by those who take the initiative to get things done without being asked. Enthusiasm impacts business success. However, out of all the organizations the authors have surveyed since 1972, only 13.8 percent could be categorized as having “an enthusiastic workforce.” So where does a manager begin? I suggest Sirota’s and Klein’s “Three Factor Theory of Human Motivation in the Workplace.” 

This theory states there are three primary goals that all employees want regardless of their generation:

1.     Equity
To be treated fairly

2.     Achievement
To have a sense of accomplishment by doing things they take pride in and doing them well

3.     Camaraderie
To have satisfying relationships with others in the workplace

Sirota and Klein do a great job of describing what each of these mean to employees. They give tactical changes managers can make to meet these three goals today. After reading this book, you will think differently about employees’ most basic needs, such as job security and respect.

No manager wants to admit she doesn’t provide a respectful environment or is not meeting her employees’ needs in some other way. Put aside what you THINK you know about motivating employees and take a fresh look at what Sirota and Klein have to say.

The Enthusiastic Employee is easy to read and has many different entry points that don’t need to be read in order. Unless you have an entire organization that runs happily to work every day, this book will help you hone in on the areas that need improvement or just perfect things you are already doing well.


About Trisha Zimmerman

Trish Zimmerman, Senior Communications Manager, with more than 12 years experience. In addition to communicating with our employees and clients, I use surveys to gather information from our clients about their own conferencing experiences. With our their feedback, I work with our Service Quality Department to help Moderators use conferencing more effectively. To talk about your own experiences and how you can enhance your communications, please contact me at [email protected]

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