I need to motivate my staff. Their engagement level seems to have fallen to the way side along with their productivity level. What advice do you have?

Did you know that companies with engaged staff have higher profit? Unfortunately, approximately 70% of the workforce is actively disengaged. Supervisors have the greatest influence over their employees engagement level. The best way to motivate your staff is to focus on their strengths, not their weaknesses. Too often, we focus on the negative yet no matter how much you hammer your employees, their weakness will not magically turn into strengths overnight. Training and development may help. Coaching may help. Or perhaps you simply are expecting a magician to appear instead of realizing that the skill you need must be found somewhere else. Work with your employees to determine their strengths and clarify their roles around their strengths. Then empower them to take ownership of their role. Guess what comes with empowerment? Accountability! 

Accountability is not micro management. It is being clear with expectations and deadlines, setting check in and follow up procedures, offering assistance and being clear with consequences of not meeting deadlines including failing to satisfy the vendor or patient. A lack of patient satisfaction can lead to revenue loss which can lead to job loss. But on the other hand, does meeting deadlines and achieving excellence in customer or patient satisfaction lead to revenue increase for the employee? Find a way to reward them (it is not always money).

The best supervisors know their people well. They know them as human beings who have lives outside of work. They understand their individual needs and traits, personal motivations, career goals and their strengths and weaknesses. Take note that engaging your employees takes time.
Listening is important. Asking for their opinions and actually implementing some ideas is vital. An engaged employee needs to feel that their opinion and experience is valued. Continuous feedback is necessary as the once a year performance review is no longer effective and has not been for a while. 

So take this opportunity to schedule a 30 minute coffee session with each of your employees to really get to know them. Then schedule a follow up meeting to discuss performance: your performance (what can I do better?) and theirs (what are your challenges?). You may be surprised what you will learn. Good luck!

Read the monthly column Dear HR Lady in the Orlando Medical News for more HR advice.