A work ethic is typically something ingrained within a person; however most people can be encouraged to greater performance, once the right motivating factors are found. This can be a process of trial and error because each individual may have different motivators. However, there are some basic guidelines you can follow to increase employee work ethic.
- Expect your managers to set a good example. Employees tend to mimic the behavior of authority figures. If your managers are not doing their jobs or are spending most of the day coming up with inventive ways to avoid working, chances are your employees will follow suit. Make sure your managers know exactly what is expected of them, and follow up with them regularly to make sure they are serving as role models for the rest of your employees.
- Create a public recognition system. Rewarding an employee's good work ethics can be a great motivator for other employees who may not be as productive. Employee of the month competitions and special rewards for those who do their job well may encourage those with a poor work ethic to try harder. Human beings thrive on recognition and feeling appreciated, and these are very powerful motivating factors.
- Set clear goals and milestones. In some cases, employees may feel overwhelmed with a project if they are not entirely sure how to complete it or if it looks insurmountable. Break apart projects into tasks that have clear goals. Set milestones with clear target dates so employees know exactly what you expect of them and how long they have to complete the task.
- Monitor potential troublemakers. Almost every office has at least one person who is there for the paycheck and not much else. These people can cause dissension among the ranks and bring down not only the morale of the rest of the staff, but also the productivity levels for the company. Weed through new applicants to make sure they will have job dedication. Monitor current troublemakers, set strict guidelines they must follow or encourage them to seek employment elsewhere.
- Create a monetary award system. Some employees will be motivated only by the promise of receiving a bonus or a raise if they complete certain tasks and improve their performance. While not all companies may have the resources to give large monetary awards to their employees, even simple gift card challenges and free products can encourage lackadaisical employees.