Here’s the simple truth of the matter.  You can’t beat people into being productive, at least not for long.

People put their passion and energy into what they care about, not what their boss cares about.

Sounds hopeless?  Well, there’s a solution.

You help your employees to care about what you care about.

How does that work?  Well, it helps to first start with understanding what they care about.  Some are work related, like being recognized for doing great work.  Working with others who are smart but without huge egos.  Doing something that makes a difference.

Some things are personal, like having time for family and recreation.  Flexibility in work hours and location.

And there’s interesting areas of overlap, like developing influence and professional advancement.  Doing work that improves the world.

All of these are potential “hooks” to which you can help an employee to care about their work.  Show them how their work matters to the team, the company, to the world.  Help them create a career advancement path which includes excellence in the current job.  Give them an acceptable degree of flexibility in their job which motivates them and also delivers value to your organization.

This, my friends, is one of the primary jobs of management.  If you can’t do this, you don’t really care that much about employee productivity.  You’re just turning the crank.

And when you just turn the crank to apply more pressure, your employees will leave.  Physically if they can, but emotionally and mentally if they feel trapped.

Which can be even worse than having them leave.