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Motivation in the Workplace: Secrets for Success

Performance Management
September 16, 2021
Rad time: 10min
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What is Employee Motivation?

Employee motivation is the level of energy and commitment an employee has towards their company throughout the working day. While that sounds relatively simple, maintaining employee motivation is a challenge on its own.

Simply put, not all tasks are interesting for employees, yet they need to be completed. This is why motivation in the workplace is paramount when running a successful business. The job needs to be done, and as a business, your employees need to complete the given tasks efficiently. 

Why is Employee Motivation Important in the Workplace?

When an employee isn’t motivated to do their job, everything runs in slow motion. They spend more time completing tasks because they’re not interested in doing them. They end up surfing the web or on their phones. The lack of focus creates a domino effect as more resources are spent on completing tasks, holding the entire company back from meeting goals and targets. 

However, when there is motivation in the workplace, employees are excited and take pride in their work. They accomplish the given tasks, performing at the top of their game to give your business the results it needs to succeed.

What are the Benefits of Employee Motivation in the Workplace?

The benefits of motivation in the workplace are powerful and can improve your company immensely. Here are some of the benefits:

Increased Productivity 

If there’s motivation in the workplace, employees work more efficiently, which results in increased output. They’re able to provide for your company, giving it the support to expand. 

Lower Absenteeism

When your employees are happy with their job, they’re less likely to miss work. They’re driven to show up to work and do a good job. 

Improved Innovation

Aside from increased production, employee motivation also positively affects innovation. When employees are in a relaxed and positive mental state, they’re able to problem-solve efficiently and find creative solutions to oncoming challenges. Thus, they naturally become more innovative. 

Lower Staff Turnover

If you like your job, why would you leave it? Motivated employees are more likely to stay in their roles as they feel a part of the company and feel they can make a difference. As a result, this leads to lower staff turnover, which saves companies money on hiring and training.

Stronger Recruitment

People want to be a part of a positive and satisfying work environment. As your company’s reputation develops, you’ll be able to recruit leading talent with ease.

How to Improve Employee Motivation in the Workplace?

You see the benefits of motivation in the workplace, but how do you achieve employee motivation? Here are some helpful tips for nurturing employee mental health and wellbeing.

Understand the Needs of your Employees

How can you increase motivation in the workplace when you don’t know what your employees need to stay motivated? Before doing anything, learn what your employees want and see how you can fulfill their needs. 
An employee mental health and wellbeing tool like LUME takes a proactive step forward in understanding employees needs in real time, using the collected data to learn what impacts employee mental health and the steps needed to improve workplace environment.

Supporting Employees

Supporting employees and empowering them to support their mind is a powerful tool to keep employees motivated. This can be achieved by providing solutions to help employees overcome negative thoughts caused by anxiety, stress, and confusion. In return, supporting employee mental health and well-being improves focus and productivity in the workplace. 

Set Realistic and Clear Objectives

To help improve motivation in the workplace, you can start by simply setting realistic goals. By knowing where they are aiming for, employees see a clear path and understand what they need to do to achieve the objective. 

However, let’s not forget the target needs to be realistic. If not, employees will feel overwhelmed, which will reduce employee motivation. The best way to set targets is by involving employees in the process, creating a collaborative working environment and having their suggestions heard.

Give Team Autonomy

Allow your employees space in the workplace. No one enjoys having a manager hovering over them, watching their every step. When this happens, employees feel they're not trusted and bottlenecks are created. 
True autonomy is giving your team the ability to make decisions independently, rather than having them need your constant approval. 
While a business leader may set objectives for the team, real motivation comes from giving employees space and autonomy to take ownership and figure out how to achieve those objectives. 
While this may sound a little frightening as a leader, you can set up guidelines that the employees need to adhere to, such as budget, for example.  You can also offer them flexible working hours, opportunities to work part-time from home, or even unlimited time off. This shows that you trust your employees, which increases employee motivation.

Recognize Great Work

If your employees are doing a good job, as a leader, you need to recognize their efforts. Employees want to feel that they've been seen and leaders of the company appreciate their work. Employee praise increases self-esteem and boosts employee motivation. 

Use the Right Tools for Employee Motivation

As an employer, you don’t need to develop employee motivation strategies on your own. There are plenty of valuable resources to help you improve workplace mental health and wellbeing. Employee wellbeing platforms like LUME provide detailed data and insights into the wellbeing of the workplace, showing how to take preventative action and overcoming challenges to improve motivation in the workplace.

Offer Encouraging Benefits

Employees want to feel that their company values them, that they're more than just a number. By offering impressive employee benefits, it shows your team their worth and improves employee motivation and loyalty. When an employee feels valued, why would they look elsewhere?

Encourage Teamwork

Innovative companies work in a team environment. By allowing your employees to collaborate, different skills come together, and innovative ideas bloom. Teamwork not only helps inexperienced employees gain more knowledge, but it helps boost employee motivation. 

Improve Communication

Communication is more than just replying to emails; it's about having your employees feel seen and heard. Employers who spend time talking to their employees and building relationships on a personal level boost motivation in the workplace. 

While you should set time aside to speak with your employees, communication extends beyond that. Effective communication includes implementing the right mechanisms that supports smooth communication. 

These mechanisms include using the right communication tools, organizing collaboration points in projects, and creating transparency within your team.  Setting some time aside each day to speak with employees can also help them feel a part of the team and show you as a leader rather than just a boss. 

Provide a Career Path

No one wants to feel stuck in their job. Employees want the ability to grow and move onto the next step in their career. Ask your employees what they want from their careers and develop a way to achieve those goals. 

Growth is a motivating factor for employees, and it's important you create that opportunity for them to grow within your company. But, remember, growth doesn’t always mean gaining a new title. Sideways progression is equally as powerful as many employees enjoy their positions but want to learn new skills or deepen their understanding. 

Lead by Example

If you want to increase motivation in the workplace, you will have to lead by example. Promote your own personal growth and share your journey, showing how you overcome challenges, being open about where you have failed and what you learned from it. Developing a positive workplace culture and space doesn't start out of thin air; it starts with you, the employer.  

Picture by Jud Mackrill from Unsplash

How to Measure and Maintain Employee Motivation?

Can you measure employee motivation? While it's not the easiest metric to measure, it can be done. While most companies conduct annual surveys, that's not an efficient way to measure and maintain employee motivation. Annual surveys take time to measure, and by the time you identify the issues, your employees have been struggling with them for an entire year. 

An employee wellbeing tool like LUME uses real time data to gather and analyze accurate information on employee mental health and wellbeing. Rather than having employees feeling pressured to answer a series of mental health questions in favor of the company, a tool like LUME gathers employee insights using meaningful and unbiased methods. 

Alongside collecting real-time data, LUME’s Wellbeing Data System identifies potential issues impacting employee mental health,and provides expert recommendation so companies can take true preventative action. Helping them to improve specific aspects of their workplace environment and culture while maintaining employee motivation.

What are Motivation Theories in the Workplace?

Motivational theories are based on understanding what drives a person to work towards achieving a goal or target. As management, it’s important to understand what drives your employees. That way, you can implement the right tools to maintain employee motivation. 

While there are many motivational theories out there, we’re going to show you the most popular ones and how you can implement them in your workplace. 

1. Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory

Frederick Herzberg studied 200 accountants and engineers, finding two factors that influence employee motivation. They are:

  • Motivator factors: the opportunity to advance, recognize accomplishments - these factors increase employee motivation and satisfaction.
  • Hygiene factors: low salary, poor working conditions, and employee conflict - these factors decrease employee motivation.

How: To ensure employee satisfaction, allow the opportunity for growth and recognize their achievements. It’ll increase motivation and drive them towards their goals. Use an employee wellbeing tool to reduce and prevent hygiene factors such as employee conflict and poor communication. 

2. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

This theory believes human needs are categorized from the lowest to highest. Once a need is met, it doesn’t provide motivation. The needs from top to bottom are:

  • Self-actualisation: need to achieve everything you can.
  • Esteem needs: need to feel respected by others and self-confident.
  • Social needs: need for family, friendships, and relationships.
  • Safety needs: need for personal and financial security.
  • Physiological needs: need for basic survival, including shelter, food and water.

How: By using an employee wellbeing tool, assess your employees mental health and wellbeing, identify possible issues and where their needs are not being met, and then provide the right support.  

3. Vroom’s Expectancy Theory

This theory explains how people work effectively when they believe there is a relationship between their effort, the goals they achieve, and the outcome/reward they receive. Key characteristics of this theory include

  • Valence: the value of the reward.
  • Expectancy: the belief your effort will achieve the desired outcome.
  • Instrumentality: the belief you will receive a reward if the outcome is met.

How: Set achievable goals for your employees and provide rewards that they’re genuinely interested in. Rewards can include praise or an opportunity for growth.

Wrap Up

As a company, it's crucial you find motivation in the workplace for your employees to push the company forward. By having the right approach and using employee wellbeing tools like LUME, you'll be able to improve the mental health and wellbeing of your employees and prevent problems before they arise.

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