Seven reasons for employee motivation
By Rebecca Ponsonby, HR Coordinator, and Kunal Chan Mehta, Senior Lecturer and PR Officer
Employee motivation remains a complex fragmented academic and practical subject. Yet, dependably, when managers concentrate on a clear set of motivational factors, employees are likely to turn out to be more motivated.
It is worth noting that employers have a central duty for the motivation and wellbeing of their respective workforce. On balance, it is of little surprise that only when all members of the team are fully engaged and committed, that the team can function to the best of its ability.
Often the motivation centres around staff having the autonomy and having a purpose. The key to motivation can only be unlocked and serve its purpose if the employer not only acknowledges, but actually encourages the employee’s reasons for motivation. The reasons are as follows:
1. Sound leadership
Sound leadership, as an indispensable function of staff motivation, pivots around a mastery of all forms of organisational communication. When sound and strong leadership is present – or positively impacts the team – employees will feel a sense of fulfilment. When an individual staff member or team is motivated it is often the outcome of good management and leadership.
Sound leadership naturally implicates an all-encompassing and inclusive approach to managing a team. When coupled with clear communication this can encourage both confidence and focus in employees.
Leadership is not just for senior Management, with so much focus on senior staff development, many organisations forget to realise that leadership skills can be developed in all staff members at all levels. Simple methods to help inspire employees to adopt more responsibility and undertake more tasks will ensure that sound leadership exists throughout the company.
2. Feeling valued
When an employee senses that their efforts are being appreciated and recognised they will begin to show greater signs of commitment in their role. Many employees can easily feel that their work is not appreciated and that their input is not noticed.
Employees not feeling valued for their work can contribute to a higher staff turnover; and, in turn, this has financial implications for the organisation. Therefore, employee achievements should always be rewarded appropriately.
It is important to celebrate success and whilst doing so, make staff feel as though they are irreplaceable. It is therefore a basic management responsibility to ensure that all employees feel truly valued and that developmental feedback is received from managers and team colleagues alike.
Developing a strong bond with an employee will act as a greater motivator than any pay rise, bonus or staff trip – this increases the happiness of employees which can then lead to countless organisation benefits.
3. Right workload
Workload and work expectations should be kept in check by managers. It is only by providing the right level of work upon employees that they will feel focused and motivated. In turn, this will lead to better productivity. Then employees have varied workloads they will be more engaged and interested in their allocated work.
Regular consultations should be held with staff to ‘check in’ on workloads – and especially how to reduce unnecessary workloads. This can highlight workload bugs such as unproductive tasks that employees feel waste valuable time. Employees should be encouraged to work proactively and collaboratively and to pledge to find ways of supporting and sharing responsibility for work.
4. Career visioning
The most efficient employees have clear career objectives and tend to focus on a progression pathway within the place where they work. Managers can hold regular career visioning sessions to see what employees expect to do during their employment and where they wish to ‘arrive’ next. Tasks can be set to help employees keep their visions ‘visible’ and each vision point should aim to act as a morale booster for employees.
Most employees wish to feel that there is positive progression for them within their organisation, so career visioning can help them set clear goals that work toward planned outcomes. Managers can use this opportunity to map these outcomes back to organisational ones.
Creating a career vision is unpretentious and simple – but employees can be reluctant to say what they want due to fears of not achieving it. To remedy this, employers should encourage their staff to speak up and inform them of where they see themselves going in the organisation and explain how this can positively impact the respective organisation’s vision.
5. Development opportunities
Employees habitually value learning and development opportunities that help them hone in on new important knowledge and skills. When employees have regular access to training and development they will be more motivated and engaged with colleagues and workloads.
Employees who can see how their knowledge and talents have improved within the company always feel more grateful and loyal. In contrast, employee motivation levels can dwindle wherever work or the working environment lacks development opportunities.
Good leadership seeks regular team feedback, and this will help focus on areas the team feel they need more training and development.
Employers can focus on two key areas for employee development opportunities – professional growth and personal growth. In turn, coupled with career visioning, employers can keep a coordinated track of employees’ current stage of work and desired stage of work to better monitor growth and development.
Organisations that encourage healthy debate tend to also encourage healthy productivity. Establishments that keep workplace intimidation and bullying to a minimal also perform better.
Organisations where employees do not feel anxious to speak up about issues or where an anonymous employee survey is present, perform better compared with organisations that do not offer these dialogue and communication channels.
Employers should manage ongoing dialogue based debates and ensure that they are held at the right place and at the right time. For employers, most employee debates work best when there is more ‘asking’ than ‘telling’ and where dialogue is facilitated by topics aligned to organisational strategy.
7. Job security
Any lack of career vision is likely to induce feelings of anxiety and uncertainty in staff. Employees always aspire towards a sense of security and permanency in their roles. While most employees enjoy spontaneity, fun and excitement, these feelings are often found outside of the workplace rather than inside. When it comes to the workplace, employees might want to be challenged and face a series of new tasks, but ultimately want security.
When we go to work, we want to know that our jobs are safe and that we are valued by management. If you are the manager of a team of employees, it is important to understand that people want to feel safe and secure. If an individual is constantly worried and stressed about the future of their job, it is going to be very hard for them to do their best work. If you want your employees to work to the highest of their abilities, you need to communicate to them that they are valued, safe and secure, both now and in the future.
However, job security is becoming rare. In a global economy that boasts countless cheap labour alternatives, people feel like their jobs might be tenuous and unsubstantiated. Workforces worry that they could be replaced by cheaper labour from abroad, a new hire fresh out of university or even a computerised system – but it is up to the employer to soothe these worries.
When it comes to improving the financial stability, keeping your career goals on track is the most important thing you can do. Employees who settle into a long-term position are likely to achieve their career goals, and this will positively affect their personal lives and financial situations.
When staff are not constantly worrying about their jobs, they can relax and settle into doing their best work. That said, job security is best used as a motivator when people see a direct correlation between their performance and their future with the company.
With so much competition on the market, organisations cannot afford to spend heaps of money on recruitment. It can cost a lot of money to replace a new team member and most of this is spent on a lowered rate of productivity. It can take more than 6 months to get an employee trained up to standard and performing to your organisation’s standards. Imagine how much money you could lose if you need to replace 2, 3 or even more employees in one year?
When you have a team of employees who stick together for a long time, they are far more likely to work on dynamic new projects and create innovation. Lifelong friendships are formed, strong bonds and connections are created, and a keen sense of corporate culture is strengthened.
We hope LSST’s students and staff can use these reasons for employee motivation and see a positive impact on their organisation’s development and growth.
Ponsonby, R. (2018) and Mehta, K. (2018) Seven Reasons for Employee Motivation. LSST Staff Blog. [Blog] 01 March. Available at: https://www.lsst.ac/blogs/seven-reasons-for-employee-motivation/ [Accessed: Add current date]