By Robert Cordray

Keeping workers motivated should be a top priority for all managers. Without proper motivation, workers are likely to flatline as it relates to their productivity and ability to come up with ideas that can help the company as a whole. What can managers do to meet the needs of a 21st century employee and make sure that they give their best each day?

1. Develop Real Relationships With Workers

It’s important for managers to develop real relationships with their workers. Instead of just giving orders and sitting back while they are fulfilled, a good manager will work alongside his or her people whenever possible. A good manager will engage teammates in activities and meaningful training initiatives (perhaps some form of interactive learning or inspiring employees using gamification examples.) Also, If a worker has a question or concern, it should be addressed quickly and in a satisfactory manner.

When appropriate, it may be a good idea for managers to spend time outside of work with their employees to develop a stronger bond that can improve productivity in the workplace. Talking to a training and development specialist may make it easier for managers to determine how they can forge better bonds and use them to keep workers accountable.

2. You Have to Empathize With Your Workers

Gone are the days when the manager sat in his or her office all day while the workers got the job done. In years past, if a worker failed to meet his or her quota, he or she would be scolded or threatened with termination. However, that can create a stressful working environment that is conducive to neither the worker or the manager.

The best way to keep a worker motivated is to empathize and learn more about what the worker wants and needs out of the job. Some workers may see their current role as a stepping stone to a higher position within the company or within the industry that the company is in. Others may like their job but would appreciate if they could earn more money over time.

A good manager will motivate the ambitious worker with the opportunity to learn more or work with higher-ups to make it easier to earn a promotion in the future. Those who are interested in earning more money may be motivated by learning how to become more efficient and therefore worth more to the company.

3. Learn How to Make Even the Most Boring Tasks Exciting

There are plenty of tasks that workers do each day that they don’t like to do or simply avoid for various reasons. Although some tasks will be viewed as boring or inconsequential, they still have to be done to keep the company moving forward. The goal of the manager is to get employees to feel as if every task is worth doing and to have each task completed in a quality manner.

This can be done by spreading these tasks around to ensure that one person only has to do one or two of those tasks a week. Doing so ensures that no one gets burned out or spends too much time on work they don’t see as valuable or fulfilling. Managers may also put workers into teams tasked with handling unwanted tasks together. The first team to complete the tasks should get a bonus or a day off for their trouble.

Being a manager is a challenging task as you must do your own job while ensuring others do theirs as well. Learning what employees want from their work and working with them instead of watching them work can make it easier to motivate people to strive for more. Over time, this will keep productivity high and reduce the amount of turnover that an organization will go through.

Robert Cordray is a former business consultant and entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience and a wide variety of knowledge in multiple areas of the industry. Follow him at @RobertCordray.