5 Factors that affect employee motivation
Often, people confuse employee motivation and engagement. The two are very different, they are not mutually exclusive and you can definitely have one without the other. Employee motivation is the level of enthusiasm an employee brings to the workplace; whereas, employee engagement is the emotional commitment the employee has to the organisation and its goals.
Motivating your employees has many benefits and does not have to be difficult or cost the earth, however it does require a balance of a few factors. Here are 5 factors we feel are key to creating motivated employees:
1. Reward and recognition
Reward and recognition come hand in hand. Recognition for good work has a limited shelf life; praise begins to lose its impact if not accompanied by reward. Exceptional work deserves reward and while recognition is sufficient in certain cases, employees begin to lose motivation if they are not rewarded for extra effort.
There are many ways to reward employees. Rewards can vary in both cost and impact and it is best to offer a portfolio of rewards, examples include once in a lifetime trips and experiences, vouchers or something as simple as an extra day off. The aim of rewarding and recognising employees is to encourage and motivate them to exceed within their roles and promote positive behaviours.
Development is very important for motivating employees; studies have shown that 20% of employees prefer career development opportunities and training to monetary reward. Development makes an employee self-dependent and allows them to contribute more effectively in the workplace, it also helps employees to enhance their input to your business.
When an organisation invests in their employees, it breeds loyalty, retention and motivation. A study in the Harvard Business Review found that employees are appreciate and value when managers take a genuine interest in their development; it demonstrates to the employee that the organisation believes in them and wants them to progress within the company. Development inspires employees to work harder so as not to let down the company that has invested in them.
A study by Gallup found that, only 2 in 10 employees strongly agree that their performance is managed in a way that motivates them to do outstanding work – this clearly displays how much a good leader motivates employees. A good leader has the knowledge of what truly inspires loyal and motivated humans to perform at a high level. It is important that a good leader has reasonable expectations, gives credit where credit is due and appreciates their staff.
4. Work life balance
Providing a good work life balance nurtures employees. Motivated employees are less likely to take sick days, leave the organisation and will be more prepared to work longer hours. Equally these same employees are more likely to ‘burn out’ and will feel less motivated if there is not a healthy work life balance. Whilst motivated employees will go above and beyond for the company, wanting to do their best, if exhaustion strikes they may start to lose the passion for their job. As an organisation, it is important to ensure that employees are working reasonable hours and are combining work with activities that promote health and wellbeing.
5. Work environment
Motivated employees thrive in a positive work environment. This refers to the physical and non-physical environment – the physical environment is the office space and surrounding areas. Employees work better in open spaces that stimulate the senses, look at Google, they are known for their extraordinary office spaces that focus on employee wellbeing – with green spaces, quiet areas, beach volleyball, to name but a few! Google spare no expense on the employee environment believing that the space you work in greatly affects employee motivation. Google’s philosophy is that “life at Google is not all work”, therefore they promote casual collusion between employees, demonstrating how collaboration promotes creativity, drives production and increases motivation.
Regarding the intangible environment, motivated employees value engagement and communication. Engagement is achieved through many different factors such as, giving regular feedback, development and daily challenges. Effective communication is created through a continuous open dialogue, dependent on trust. Honest and open communication throughout the business is the foundation of creating a workplace where all employees can thrive.
To conclude, motivated employees can aid in increasing productivity, engagement and even profit among other benefits! It is important not to take motivated employees for granted and continue to nurture them and ensure that they feel motivated and valued to do their best work for the organisation.