The definitions of productivity and employee motivation have changed a lot over the last several decades. It is no longer measured by the number of physical things you can produce, but by the number of great ideas you can generate. Investing in employees today has more to do with innovation and creativity and less with more palpable, physical metrics. Yet, things are not looking good for employee motivation.
And as the definition of productivity changes, so do the methods which employers use to motivate their staff. Right now, the general consensus on the matter is that workers need to feel engaged in everyday work life in order to be productive. A recent Gallup poll shows that an alarming 83 percent of workers feel disengaged at work.
What does this mean? It means that a majority of workers in America are dissatisfied and unmotivated.
A recent TINYpulse report gives even more insight into the matter. According to it, only half of the employees are satisfied with their direct superiors, 66 percent do not believe that they have many opportunities for advanced in their current work situations and nearly two-thirds of workers believe that their workplaces lack a strong company culture. That means low employee motivation.
But the most interesting and surprising revelation of this report is probably the following: When it comes to employee motivation, money is not the most important factor. In fact, it was located seventh on the list of things employees believe motivates them to be more productive at work.
What can you do, then, as an employer to motivate your staff? To start, let’s take a look at some of the things that you may be doing wrong. Here’s why your employees might be feeling unmotivated in the office.
They Haven’t Formed Any Good Relationships At Work
According to the aforementioned report, the number one motivation for employees to go the extra mile and make a difference is peer motivation. Camaraderie is incredibly important to today’s workforce.
Having close friendships in the office boosts employee motivation significantly. That’s why having a good company culture cannot be stressed enough. By defining your company culture and then altering the hiring process to not just hire the most qualified people, but the most qualified people who fit your company culture, you are helping to foster better workplace relationships.
People who are like-minded are more likely to get along at work. Having an atmosphere of closeness among workers, in turn, increases employee motivation, employee satisfaction, improves cooperation and increases productivity.
In the end, it’s common sense. Would you look forward to going to work if your office was full of people you cannot identify with or would you be more excited about work if you were working with friends?
They Aren’t Being Rewarded for Good Work
Another thing that the TINYpulse report showed was that only 21 percent of employees feel as if they are truly valued by their companies. This commonly happens when there is a corporate disconnect between effort and rewards.
Of course, incentives like higher wages and promotions for people who perform above and beyond what is expected of them should always be part of your company culture, but that’s not all this is about. Simply celebrating a work victory every now and then within the team can do a lot when it comes to boosting morale and increasing team motivation.
People like to see that their efforts are being appreciated. Celebrating a win with a pizza party or a night at the bar not only shows them that you appreciate what they are doing, it also helps build that camaraderie that employees desire. It also increases the number of motivated employees.
Millennials especially place a premium on feeling valued and appreciated at work. If your company is not recognizing the hard work and success of your team on a regular basis, you aren’t nurturing growth or motivation.
On the list of things that employees most value about a company’s culture that TINYpulse put together, feeling recognized and encouraged was number three.
The main theme here is that employers today are dealing with a completely different breed of workers but are failing to change their company culture accordingly to suit the needs of this new workforce. All of your best and most talented employees want to feel as if you trust them.
You hired them because they have the skills and experience that you need for that particular job. So why are you constantly telling them what to do and holding their hands? Micromanaging can absolutely kill motivation, especially in young workers. Good employees want to have the freedom to try their own ideas and to bring their own innovations into your company in order to take what you do to a higher level.
They want to be able to do this without feeling as if someone is hovering over them at all times and reining them in. Workers today don’t want a supervisor, they want a mentor. Lead by example and collaborate with your team, giving your brightest employees the opportunity to run with projects if they believe that they are capable of doing so.
Micromanaging will ultimately stifle their creativity, kill their desire to work for you and create unmotivated employees.
They Aren’t Being Given Interesting Tasks
Number four on TINYpulse’s list of major motivators states that 10 percent of employees today “want to have an impact.” More workers than ever want to have a sense of purpose in their careers. It’s not just about getting a paycheck as much as it used to be. Young workers want to have a mission and to be able to see that they are doing something that is making some kind of a difference.
If they are feeling bored and doing the same exact, thankless tasks every day at work, their motivation will suffer. In order to keep them motivated, you are going to have to give them a better variety of tasks and again, the best way to do that is by giving them a certain amount of freedom when it comes to their daily work assignments.
Allowing them to innovate and explore on their own instead of assigning them to the same, boring tasks day in and day out will motivate and re-energize your staff.
They Aren’t Being Asked for Feedback
Another way that employers can show that they value their staff is by valuing their opinions. Not asking your employees for their feedback, or even worse, ignoring their feedback, can be incredibly discouraging.
Getting regular feedback from your people is actually a win-win situation for everyone involved. They feel valued as an integral part of your team and you are probably going to end up with some innovative ideas. You’d be surprised how many of the best ideas have come from the employees and not necessarily just from the people at the top of the organization.
Your employees know your company inside and out, which means that they can surely offer an excellent perspective on your business and the type of insight that you can’t get from anywhere outside of your organization. Take advantage of that.
Employers need to realize that keeping their staff motivated is what will give them the edge on their competition. By creating a company culture that is nurturing and stimulating, you are getting the most out of your staff.
Your employees are your single most important source of growth potential and innovation. Being able to get the best out of them is not only worth the effort, it’s something you need proactively work on achieving in order to retain your most talented employees.