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As GM cuts labor costs, can it still motivate employees?

Posted by Anh Mai on Nov 7, 2011 11:14:00 AM

general motors motivationWays of motivating employeeswithout money

After his first year as CEO of General Motors Co., Dan Akerson sat down with reporters last week to discuss the direction the company is taking. At the end of September, GM signed a four-year agreement with the United Auto Workers union which is aimed to create more jobs, specifically tier-two factory workers.

With the struggling economic environment, GM has been under a microscope with skeptics and critics saying the company will not (and should not) survive. Akerson is taking on those critics with a competitive global strategy and cost lowering initiative. According to his recent interview and article from USA Today and Detroit Free Press, “GM is wearing its game face.”

To stay competitive, GM plans to increase the number of lower-paid workers, while progressively buying out senior employees and skilled trades. While addressing the issue of lowering labor costs, Akerson stated: “We need to recognize that our employees have a right to a certain set of expectations and we will be competitive over time.”

With increasing the number of lower-paid workers, a big challenge that comes up is motivating employees without money. Many organizations are faced with this issue, so at Profiles International, we conducted a survey to address how companies are motivating employees in ways other than through payroll. The study involved over 300 participants from small, medium and large organizations from various industries. And we found some interesting statistics and best practices when dealing with employee motivation.

Perhaps the most important factors to motivating employees are respect and company pride.

Respecting employees is essential. From our survey, over 80% of respondents felt that their company treats them with individual respect. So it’s important to know and acknowledge your employees and their personal career goals. Get to know them and create a positive environment where they want to come to work! Another respectful way to motivate employees is publically recognizing their achievements and significant performances. We found that about 70% of participants said they had been recognized for their contributions when things went well. Whether it’s announcing what a great job they did at a meeting or nominating them for employee of the month, respectful encouragement means a lot to employees and is a great way motivate them without cash.  

Company pride leads to high employee motivation. An overwhelming 92% of survey respondents said they were proud to work for their company and over 70% said they would recommend their company to others as a good place to work. The statistics speak for themselves. It’s important for employees to believe in the organization’s goals so they can contribute effectively.

And with the significant progress GM has made in the last year, it looks like Dan Akerson knows how important employee respect and company pride are. He’s only been with GM for one year but has great faith and pride in the organization, saying: “I think this company means so much to the city, this state and to this nation. I couldn't be prouder of the progress we've made.”

Source: Profiles International 

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Topics: Workplace Management, Training and Development in Business, Employee Retention, Big Brand Lessons

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