Motivating and Rewarding Employees
by Alexander Hiam
Adams, 352 pages, $17.95

A case in motivation: A mugger points a gun at your chest and tells you to hand over your wallet. You willbe highly motivated to do what the mugger says.

Threats are effective in a dark alley, writes author Hiam, but not in the workplace. They only makeemployees angry, cynical, and, in the end, demotivated.

The better solution: Create motivating opportunities. Ensure that workers are "engaged in challenging,inherently interesting work," Hiam writes. The result: workers who have the self-motivation (also known as"intrinsic" motivation) to do a better job.

Dead-End Jobs

But there's a problem. Most jobs are not the compelling, challenging jobs that create self-motivation.

So what can you, as a boss, do?

Plenty. Start by understanding what employees want from their work, including open communication and theopportunity to develop (see list below).

Give positive feedback to reinforce an employee's self-worth. Offer negative feedback in a constructive waythat encourages employees to improve their performance.

And look in the mirror. Is your management style blameless in the demotivation of your workers?

Practical Advice

Hiam emphasizes the emotional foundation of motivation: People who feel good about themselves and theirwork are highly motivated.

But don't dismiss Hiam's focus on emotion as lightweight. As shown by case studies throughout the text, theadvice here is practical and effective for all those who face the often frustrating task of inspiring highperformance.

The Ideal Job
According to Hiam, employees are motivated by bosses and jobs that meet the following criteria:
  • Open communication. Do employees have access to the information they need?
  • Security. Are employees safe from threats and risk?
  • Commitment. Are managers committed to a course of action? Workers quickly ignore flavor-of-the-monthprograms.
  • Fairness. Do employees feel that they are being treated fairly?
  • Development opportunities. Can workers achieve something meaningful in their jobs?

Copyright 1999 Executive Book Summaries