How to recognise motivation?

Most businesses want to hire motivated employees. We recognise motivated employees very quickly. How? Measuring motivation is very simple. Just watch what the employee does when the boss is not there.

• Do they work conscientiously? • Do they slack off?

A motivated employee will work conscientiously whether there is a boss watching them or not. They will also look for better ways of working;
they will look for work when their task is over. They’ll help out
others without being asked.

All these behaviours demonstrate motivation and increase the reputation of the individual.

As a new starter your motivation levels should be high. You will want to do a good job, and usually the only thing that holds you back is lacking the necessary training to do complex jobs and your (natural) shyness at being in a workplace that you are not familiar with.

This is where good communication skills come in.

Eight things that show you are motivated

The boss can’t tell if you are motivated by your facial expression. So don’t hide your motivation. Use words and actions to show that you have motivation.
Eight things that motivated new starters do:

1. Always on time. That doesn’t mean if a task is scheduled for 9am they are there at 9am. It means that they are there before 9am – and ready to start work. They have whatever is required for the job. Pen, pencil, hammer, overalls, boots, laptop, clipboard, calculator. What does this show? It shows that they are keen, but more than that they have thought about what is going to be done, and prepared themselves to start work at the set time, not be arriving and then starting to think about starting work.

2. Ask for clarification. Even if they think they know what the boss has said, they always make sure that what they understood he said, is correct. They listen carefully and try and pick up what are the important aspects of the job. If they are being asked to stack boxes for example, they ask if it is only these boxes that require stacking, or does the boss want the whole area cleaned up? If so, they then ask if you should tidy up the wider area when you are finished, or just report back to the boss.

A simple “yes sir” and “no sir” to job instructions should always be AVOIDED by the motivated employee.

Active listening. Feed back to the boss what you have heard by way of instructions, so there can be no confusion about what you are being asked to do. By feeding back his instructions, you are getting a better understanding about the critical parts of the job.

Is it important to stack the boxes in a particular order? How will the boxes be used? Maybe you should place them in a particular pattern? Even the simplest of jobs will require some clarification and by seeking clarification you will learn more about the job and find ways to apply your motivated actions.

3. Motivated people always look for something to do. They are always busy. They ask their co-workers and bosses if there is something that they can do to help. They become known as the person who can be relied on. This comes with responsibility, so that if a motivated person finds that they have too much on, and can’t help then what do they say? “Sorry I’m busy?” No. They would say, “I can’t do that right now, can I come back to you in an hour?”

4. Make suggestions. They are not just about doing things faster or longer. They are motivated to do things smarter.

When you are a new starter no one seriously thinks you have the answers. That’s OK, because that usually means it’s OK for you to make a few dumb suggestions. It doesn’t really matter whether your co-workers take up your suggestions, what is important is that your co-workers hear your voice saying “Would it make sense to do it this way?” That’s building your reputation as a motivated worker.

5. Learn by doing the jobs that no one else wants. In any work situation there are always jobs that people tend to avoid. A motivated person sees this as an opportunity. I remember when I worked on shift at a power station and at the end of every month our shift always seemed to be left with the jobs to test the protection equipment that the other shifts “never got around to”. Partly this was because any mistake on the protection equipment, and you would probably black out a major city. So leaving these jobs used to annoy some of the team, but the boss pulled us aside and said, ”Look guys, this is a real opportunity for us to do these jobs well. We’ll become better at plant operations because we’ll understand the equipment better.” Sure enough in a few years my co-workers were all getting promotions because they were recognised as motivated - and they understood the equipment better than other shifts.

6. Are usually optimistic. They don’t dwell on negative things. If they reach a stumbling block, they get over it, or move around it. So as a new starter if you find for example that your special work uniform is not ready on your first day, you ask if you can wear something else that will allow you to work. You don’t see problems as an opportunity to slack off.

7. Are motivated for themselves. As a new starter you have a lot to take in. But don’t forget about looking after yourself. See the section on self-improvement for some ideas on how to make yourself more valuable.

8. Set goals. Experts suggest that for every 10 short-term goal have one long term.

As a motivated new starter your short-term goals will mostly be about learning the ropes, getting the accreditation to do more tasks, increasing your rewards, adding to your reputation etc. Your long-term

goal may be a promotion in a year. Whatever.

Always try and make your goals SMART. (Simple, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time dependant)


Warning to motivated new starters

There is a trap for motivated new employees. Every day new starters are injured, sometimes seriously at work. Sometimes the cause of the injury can be traced to them trying to do too much, or working in an unsafe way in order to get the job done.

Good bosses will always tell you that safety comes before production – and they will mean it. If someone is injured at work it affects the reputation of that company and can have serious repercussions. There are regularly stories in the news of new starters who injure themselves by attempting jobs they are not trained for.

Workplace Health and Safety is covered in Part 4. Always make sure that the work you are doing is safe. Don’t take risks with your health and safety because of your motivation.