One of the ways that we can help ourselves and others be productive is to change our environment to create incentives that reward productivity. One of the most powerful motivators for behavioral changes are social incentives. As humans are innately social creatures, much of our behavior is a result of how we want others to view us, and how we want them to feel. We can take advantage of this, both from a management, and from a self-improvement perspective. Thankfully, there is a reasonable amount of research on what motivates people, and how to create changes in behavior. Here are a few things that you can do to use social motivators to increase performance and productivity.
Create healthy competition. Competition can be a powerful positive force. This is why you see things like performance based employee rewards. Creating visible rewards for exceptional performance can be a strong motivator. However, when doing this, there is a lot of care that must be taken. Some employees respond differently to pressure than others. And you do not want to create extra stresses on employees that make them focus more on the competition than their job. If a competition takes focus away from work, then it can lead to gaming of the system. A good way to do this is to ensure that you are not micro managing or creating goals that are too numbers based.
Create an environment where employees are comfortable, but pushed. A careful balance must be maintained between an environment that is too high pressure, and one where there is no pressure. Employees that are stressed and worried will be wasting their energy on worry rather than work. Additionally, people who are stressed and worried will make more mistakes, and be more accident prone, than those who are more calm. However, there needs to be balance. When people are in a low-pressure environment, it can be easy for them to end up accomplishing very little. Stress and worry are motivators. They are designed to make us change our behavior to avoid a potentially unpleasant outcome. An example of this is that certain people are born with the inability to feel pain. While this may sound nice initially, these people often live short lives. This is because their body has no way of telling them that they are damaging it. So, try to create an environment where your employees know they will be held accountable for their work, but that things will be fair.