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Do your employees love their jobs? Do they seem genuinely excited about the challenges they face each day? When they’re in the breakroom or gathering outside of work, do they talk about their jobs with passion and positivity? Do they talk about work at all?

Ideally, the answer to all the questions above should be yes. But realistically, most employers would probably report their teams sometimes love some parts of their jobs; however, not all the time, and not all the parts. So how can you motivate your employees to go a step beyond just showing up and completing their required tasks? How can you encourage them to invest their hearts in their work? Start with these ideas.

Show the way.

Before you push your employees to love their jobs, look in the mirror. Do YOU love your job? Why or why not? Look inside yourself and fix or change whatever prevents you from giving your whole heart to this company. When you’ve done that, you’ll stand as an example, like true leaders tend to do.

Refer to your company mission statement.

What does this organization stand for? How does the company work to contribute to society, fulfill a need or make the world a better place? If the answer is “It doesn’t,” then maybe you’ve found the primary reason your employees aren’t in love with their jobs. But if the company’s mission and values are right there in black and white, refer to them as you work each day to motivate your employees. Remind them everything they do helps to further those important goals and remind them again the next time they need to hear it.

Celebrate and appreciate small victories.

Each time an employee successfully helps a customer, connects with a client, makes a patient feel better, delivers a valuable service or helps a teammate, note the victory and comment on it. Don’t let it slip by. Cultivate a warm feeling in the employee’s heart that relates directly to that positive moment. Even simple comments can make a world of difference, like: “I heard you speak up in the meeting and I thought that took real courage,” or “I saw you go the extra mile to climb that shelf for a customer” or “I heard through the grapevine that you reached out to help manage Sally’s accounts while she was on leave. That’s great teamwork.”

Encourage employees to trust and like each other.

When people say they truly love their jobs, they often mean something else: they love their co-workers. So, create a conducive climate for this kind of love, a culture that fosters strong relationships instead of holding them back. Encourage trust over competition and comradery over busy silence.

For more on how to get your employees to show up with a light in their eyes and a spring in their step, turn to the Milwaukee management experts at Extension, Inc.

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