Motivate Employees Using Performance Appraisals

The question, “How to motivate employees wanting something you don’t have?” was asked during our recent Leaders Ought to Know® webinar, “Using Performance Appraisals to Increase Employee Engagement and Reduce Frustration.” We didn’t have time to answer during the webinar — we would like to have known more from Mike, the questioner, about his specific situation — but it’s a valid question that many managers wish they could get answered. Here are some options to consider.

First, let’s make sure we’re not assuming an employee who wants something is only interested in money.  Leaders often assume that money, an extrinsic motivator, is the only thing that employees are after.  Research simply does not back that up.  Money is at the very basic level of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs; once basic financial needs are met, workers have been found to be much more motivated by such intrinsic motivators as additional responsibility, achievement and mastery of a new and challenging skill, recognition from peers (both internal and external) and even by the satisfaction of work well done. (Watch this concept discussed in the Leaders Ought to Know® curriculum, “The Essence of Human Motivation.”)

Second, get creative.  The performance appraisal conversation is an ideal time to ask candid questions about what the employee is looking for.  We like the “Five Whys” technique.  “Why are you interested in accomplishing that?”  When the employee answers, you ask “why” again:  “And why is that really important to you?”  By the time you’ve asked “why” five times, you’ll be much closer to understanding the true motivation.  Once you understand more, you may be surprised to find several creative ways are already available within the organization to meet the employee’s need.

The day following the webinar we received a call from John in Arizona.  John explained that he had more than 40 managers and supervisors come together to participate in the webinar, “Using Performance Appraisals to Increase Employee Engagement and Reduce Frustration.” Why? He told us the group needed a practical, common sense approach to using performance appraisals that motivate employees – a critical leadership responsibility that all too often is overlooked when it comes to training.

Do you find that true? How about the team you lead – do they need some guidance on managing the performance appraisal process in a way that does more good than harm? Is your approach to performance appraisals having a less than positive impact on your employees’ motivation and engagement? Do you have similar questions to the one Mike posed?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, watch this replay of the webinar for some practical ways to motivate employees using performance appraisals along with ways to reduce the anxiety and negative results that come with one of the most frustrating tasks of leadership.

Do a good thing for yourself and your employees. Watch now: “Using Performance Appraisals to Increase Employee Engagement and Reduce Frustration.”

All the best!

Martin Ramsay & Phillip Van Hooser
Leaders Ought to Know®, A Comprehensive Leadership Development Initiative

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