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Government managers must keep their workforce motivated to deliver the agency’s mission-related services with a healthy attitude.

Employer strategies

Five Ways to Keep Government Employees Engaged and Motivated

  • 5/23/2014

As government agencies continue to tighten their budgets and stretch their human resources, it is more important than ever for managers to keep their workforce motivated and deliver the agency’s mission-related services with a healthy attitude. Maintaining strong morale helps ensure that staff members look beyond the current constraints to provide the service that the public expects and deserves.

So what can you do as a manager to create or maintain a positive workplace culture that drives results?

Set a good example

During challenging times, your employees are looking to you for leadership and guidance. How you react and deal with the demands of “doing more with a lot less” will permeate the rest of your organization. Take a longer-term view of the opportunities the current environment brings, stay focused on your agency’s mission, and insist on doing the right thing. Your attitude sets a rational tone to counter the emotional reactions of your workforce.

Acknowledge and recognize progress

Renew your commitment to acknowledging performance excellence and openly recognize milestones your employees have reached toward their goals. This praise must be timely and genuine. Invest in initiatives that enhance individual productivity, and capabilities to increase their professional potential and provide more opportunities for career advancements down the road.

Find out what motivates your employees

While you want your agency to be successful, don’t forget the human elements that make up your team. Be a boss who cares about your employees. Be the career coach who takes time to mentor and help your employees build their careers. When you know your workers as individuals, you can help direct their strengths to where they are best suited, while working on areas where performance could use some improvement.

Create a supportive work environment

Treat your employees with the utmost respect, while at the same time holding them accountable for their performance. Let them take ownership of their work; give encouragement and additional guidance when they fall short of expectations. Employees will work better as a team in an environment that allows them to learn from their mistakes and from each other.

Ask for employee input

Given the tight budget constraints you’re facing, ask your employees to help you streamline processes to remove redundancy and inefficiencies. Gather their input by holding brainstorming meetings aimed at process improvement, and commit yourself to removing barriers that hinder efficient and effective job performance.

Adversity has a way of bringing out the best in people, and those who are able to work through tough times are often better prepared for the next challenge. Managers who can harness and guide this productive energy will benefit when the next crisis arises.