When you hire new employees, they almost always start out excited about the opportunity to work for you, and motivated to do their best work. However, that doesn’t always last. Their performance can decline over time. And there are many reasons why it can happen. So how do you find out what’s wrong and fix it? And what can you do to proactively keep employees engaged and motivated?
Here are some of the most common reasons that employees lose their motivation, and some proven ways that you can turn things around.
What makes good employees lose their motivation over time?
When an employee has the personal qualities and skills that should make them an asset to your company, why does that sometimes not turn out to be true? Over time, you may notice a lack of effort or someone who appears to be “going through the motions.” The signs might be frequent tardiness or calling out sick, making mistakes on the job, not getting along with others, failing to learn new skills, or just not seeming to care in general.
Here are some of the most common reasons employees may lose motivation and become disengaged:
- The job doesn’t live up to their expectations (which may be because you oversold it, or because their expectations were unrealistic)
- They may be distracted by personal problems or emotions
- A lack of long-term career potential at your company (room to grow)
- Inadequate training provided by your company
- Poor management decisions may be making their work unnecessarily difficult
- Conflict with coworkers
- They may feel overburdened and/or under-valued
- They lack confidence in themselves
If you have one or more employees already showing these signs, the first thing to do is have an honest conversation to find out what is bothering them. It’s best to show your desire to support the employee and avoid being negative or threatening. That way they are more likely to open up to you and give you a chance to solve the problem and get the employee back on track.
However, the best strategy is to prevent loss of motivation in the first place. Here’s a four-part plan to keep employees engaged and motivated, so they keep performing well for the long term.
How to keep employees engaged and motivated: a 4-part plan
1. Hire skilled managers.
When your company is run like a well-oiled machine, that makes everyone’s jobs easier and more enjoyable. And that eliminates many of the frustrations that lead to declines in motivation, engagement, and performance. When you hire the most skilled managers you can find, employees benefit from things like:
- Fully understanding the requirements and work environment when they get hired
- Having the tools and resources they need to do their work
- Scheduling that’s efficient yet realistic, and helps everyone meet customers’ needs
- Work assignments that are fair and take into consideration the interests and skills of your employees
2. Provide comprehensive training.
In this business, you won’t often find employees who come to you with all the knowledge and experience they need to perform well. Junior technicians will need quite a bit of technical training, and everyone needs ongoing training to keep up with new technologies and tools. Plus, every company does things a little differently, and your employees need to fully understand your policies and practices.
Also, your employees need to be trained on more than just the technical aspects of the job. For example, they need to know how to communicate effectively with customers and team members, the right way to build relationships, and how to handle conflicts. If you neglect teaching these skills, it’s very easy for employees to become frustrated by bad experiences and lose their confidence and motivation.
You can find a wealth of information about these topics here at HVACR Career Connect NY. Feel free to share our articles and videos with your employees.
3. Create career advancement paths.
Don’t assume that every employee you hire will be happy to stay in their current position indefinitely. In fact, it’s smart to begin the conversation about career advancement in your initial interview with every candidate. That may help you weed out some with unrealistic expectations. And for those you do hire, you’ll know what their long term goals are.
From the outset, create a plan to help each employee reach their goals. For example, you can assign mentors and help them learn the skills they need to advance in their careers.
From time to time, revisit the plan and assess their progress. And when you have job openings, don’t forget to consider your internal candidates, even if that means you’ll have to hire someone to replace them in their current job. That’s how you gain motivated, engaged, and loyal employees who bring long term value.
4. Build a positive work culture.
This may be the most difficult step, and yet it may also be the most important. Creating a positive workplace culture and environment helps you keep employees motivated, keep them from leaving you for a better offer, and help you hire the best people in the first place.
The goal is to create an environment where people feel supported and valued, because management treats them that way. Coworkers respect each other and generally get along. People cooperate and get work done faster and with better results. That brings happier customers who stay with you, and a prosperous company that shares their success with employees. It’s a win for everyone.
Here are a couple of articles that explain why and how to create a positive culture at your company:
Why a Positive Workplace Culture Matters in HVACR
Changing Workplace Culture: Tips to Strengthen Your HVACR Business
More advice to maximize your business success
Check out more articles and videos that can help your HVACR business succeed.
HVACR Career Connect NY was created to promote the exceptional quality-of-life benefits of a career in HVAC and Refrigeration service, and also to provide a clear path for getting started in the profession. In doing so, we serve as a resource for employers in the New York City metro area to find and hire smart and capable new technicians. We also serve as an educational resource to support business growth and to help service technicians succeed in their chosen profession.