Employee motivation is key to an organisation’s success. It’s the level of commitment, drive and energy that a company’s workers bring to the role everyday. Without it, companies experience reduced productivity, lower levels of output and it’s likely that the company will fall short of reaching important goals too.
But employee motivation doesn’t always come easily - it’s something that workplace leaders need to nurture and monitor.
What is employee motivation?
Employee motivation is the level of commitment, energy and innovation that a company's staff hold during the working day.
Maintaining and improving employee motivation can be a problem for companies, as not every task will be of interest and excitement to those who must complete it. Therefore businesses must work to find ways to keep up the motivation levels of their staff.
Why is employee motivation so important?
If you imagine an employee with low levels of motivation, they are working at a slower pace, spending more time away from their tasks and possibly occupying themselves by surfing online or spending time on their phones. But most of all, they’re largely unfocused and aren’t putting their all into their work.
This isn’t only wasting your resources but could have a knock-on effect to other employees, potentially holding back the entire company from producing work to the highest standard or meeting important targets.
On the other hand, a motivated employee is enthusiastic, driven and takes pride in their work. They accomplish tasks quickly, take action and want to do a good job, both for themselves and for the company.
Whether your company is currently at the top of their game, or on the way up, employee motivation remains at critical importance at every level. The moment employee motivation drops, revenue and company accomplishments could soon follow.
What are the benefits of employee motivation?
Higher productivity levels
If people are motivated to work faster and more efficiently, this will lead to more output. This can enable your company to do more, and even sell more.
Not only will they produce more, but motivated employees are also more likely to make the offering even better. Being highly focused on the product or service, motivated employees will see areas for improvement and will be driven to work to enhance these.
Lower levels of absenteeism
Motivated employees are happier with their working lives and have a goal that they are working towards. These employees are less likely to miss work without good reason as they feel that this could delay their progress.
Lower levels of staff turnover
Motivated employees are more likely to stay in their roles as they can see the effects of their work and feel that there is an ongoing difference that they can make in the company. This can lead to lower training and recruitment costs for the company as employee churn is reduced.
Great reputation and stronger recruitment
As we will all be familiar with, people talk about the things they enjoy, and more notably, the things they don’t. Satisfied workers spread the word and in turn, give the firm a good reputation as an employer. As a result, it becomes easier to recruit the leading talent.
How do you improve employee motivation? 9 tips for a motivated workforce
1. Lead with vision
Everyone wants to know that their efforts are driving towards something. What’s the next step? What does success look like for the company? A destination helps to motivate the journey, so make sure the vision for the company is clear.
2. Make sure everyone understands the ‘why’
Your employees will know what needs to be done, but you need to explain further; you need to communicate the ‘why’ of each task. The why is the company’s overall mission. If everyone knows how their individual actions can personally add to the overall goal of the company, it brings much-needed motivation to even the most simple task.
3. Set frequent clear targets
You obviously have big targets that you want to hit as a company, but smaller goals are the key to motivation. All goals should add to the overall target, but breaking this into more attainable chunks feels less overwhelming. If employees are frequently hitting targets, the feeling of satisfaction grows and will act as a great motivator to continue on to the next set of goals.
4. Recognise great work
Employees need to know that leaders see and appreciate their efforts. Giving well-deserved recognition increases self-esteem, enthusiasm and boosts morale. Recognition tools are a simple but great way to allow everyone in the company to celebrate the people who bring the company values to life.
5. Give your team autonomy
Time is precious. So when we don’t feel in control of our time and energy, motivation levels can really drop. Allowing for some elements of freedom in the workplace, whether that’s flexible working hours or unlimited time off, demonstrates trust from leaders to employees. This adds motivation, as the satisfaction of a job well done comes with the feeling that they were in control and did it on their terms.
6. Create a welcoming work environment
No one wants to sit in a gloomy office and desperately wait for home time every day. If workplaces create a friendly culture, with areas for rest and play, employees will look forward to coming into work. The saying ‘work hard, play hard’ is important here. As motivation and mood go hand in hand, a poor mood can affect the ability to concentrate and will lower the feeling of energy in the workplace.
7. Offer impressive benefits
Make everyone feel that they are working in the best place they can be. Offering employee benefits and perks, such as the wide range available through our Perks platform, and benefits aiming to make your people's lives better both in and outside of work, helps to boost the mood and sense of loyalty to the company.
8. Encourage teamwork
Collaboration between teams in the company allows ideas to be developed further. Working with those with different skill sets will, in turn, create more innovative results. In teams, there’s power in numbers and anyone experiencing a lack of motivation should be boosted by those around them.
9. Create a career path
No one wants to be static for long. We all want to know that we are going somewhere and focus on that next step. Ask employees what they want from their career, and lay out what they need to do to get there. Have growth conversations with team members to design a career path; this will help to create the drive to reach the next stage and feel that they have a long and productive journey ahead within the company.
Finally, how do you measure and maintain employee motivation?
It’s difficult to assign a metric to measure employee motivation. The only genuine way to measure this, is to know how employees are really feeling.
Annual surveys are too infrequent, too hard to measure and too long. By the time you ask for feedback in an annual survey, employees may have been living with those problems for up to a year and they may be having detrimental effects on the business. Instead, we recommend you look for a confidential pulse survey tool.
It'll let you conduct short, frequent surveys, and make it easier for HR to quickly gather and act on vital feedback about what makes employees tick. As a business leader or HR member, employees may find it difficult to be honest in face-to-face interviews, so confidential questions are a great way to get a full picture of the business.
The best solutions will display your results on a real-time dashboard, allowing you to quickly measure trends and identify issues before they become larger problems. This also allows you to understand what employees find motivating and what they feel may be holding them back - so you can swiftly implement a solution. You also have the ability to regularly check back with them to see if anything has improved or changed.
Showing that you care, listen and act upon the things that really matter to them, will - ultimately maintain motivation.