You know exactly why employee motivation matters. Productivity. Teamwork. Customer service.

But I run across a whole lot of people who don’t know how to build and nurture that innovation. They think it’s just a magic thing that some people have and some don’t.That’s why I was excited to read Why Managers Must Ask 5 Questions to Empower Employees, one of Gallup’s top 2018 reports. It’s practical and powerful.

I’ve found that “empower” can be a scary word, creating visions of people who are each running off on their own direction, doing whatever the heck “turns them on” at the expense of business results. So I don’t tend to use it as much as when I first learned about the concept thirty years ago.

No, it’s really about your people getting turned on TO deliver results. It’s motivation to do great work for you.

Here are Gallup’s five questions:

  1. What do you know you can do well but haven’t done yet?
  2. What sorts of activities do you finish and think, “I can’t wait to do that again”? Or what are you doing — inside or outside work — when you’re truly enjoying yourself?
  3. What have you done well that you didn’t need someone to explain how to do?
  4. What have other people told you you’re great at doing?
  5. What activities are you doing when you are unaware of time passing?

Notice that these questions can apply both to when people are working and when they aren’t. Why should we care about what people do on their own time?

Because it generates powerful insight, both for you and for the employee.

You may have to actually think, though. Suppose that one of your workers loves when she’s able to be out sailing. That’s probably not part of the job description, right? (If it is, I want to hear about your jobs!)

This is worth additional conversation, though. Is it about being in nature? Time with family? Using her hands? Being on a team?

Each of those might suggest particular jobs she could love, and skills that could be valuable for your business. It could give her something to work toward in her career.

That’s the kind of thing which builds dedication to your business and attachment to you as a supportive boss.

Have you had these conversations with each of your employees?