Employee motivation can be considered as the level of energy, commitment, persistence, and creativity that employees bring to their jobs. Whether the economy is rising or shrinking, finding ways to motivate employees has always been a management concern. Competing theories stress more on either incentives or employee involvement (empowerment). A smoothly running and motivated workforce also frees the owner from day-to-day chores for thinking of long-term development. Furthermore, a tangible and emotional reward can mean retention of the desirable employees. People thrive better in creative work environments and want to make a difference. Ideally, the work’s result itself will give them a feeling of accomplishment and inspiration—but well-structured reward and recognition programs can enhance this consequence. In general, better employee motivation leads to better engagement and hence better productivity. This is why employee motivation is one of the biggest management concerns.
Why is employee motivation important?
Research has shown over and over again that employee motivation is highly linked with employee engagement. Moreover, employee engagement almost always leads to better productivity. For this reason, it is not a surprise that organizations pay more attention and resources to employee motivation.
As a matter of fact, according to a recent survey on Employee Engagement, an alarming 70%+ of American employees aren't working to their full potential. For that reason, economic growth is slowing.
Most often then not, less engaged employees are most likely to be less emotionally connected to their companies. In addition, they often tend to work against the company’s interests.
Employee Motivation benefits
No matter how big or small an organization is, employee motivation is always one of the cherished goals for all employers. This is specifically true in the world where Millennials make the biggest part of today’s workforce. Most employers are aware of the expectations, requests, and needs of Millennials, the new workforce in most organizations.
However, employers need to learn how to adjust to it because the benefits of high employee motivation are numerous.
In comparison to unmotivated employees, motivated employees:
1. Can handle uncertainty better
Because motivated employees are much more engaged, they are also more self-confident in what they do. As a result, they know how to react in difficult situations.
2. Are better at problem-solving
Problem-solving is one of the top skills that an employer looks for in their employees. If your employees are motivated, they will work harder to solve problems and challenges.
3. Are more creative and innovative
Motivated and engaged employees come up with innovative ideas that can help optimize business performance.
4. Are proactive
Motivated employees proactively look for new solutions to overcome challenges and achieve goals. They don’t wait for feedback and often evaluate their own work.
5. Are more productive
More motivation and engagement often leads to more productivity. Therefore, companies with motivated employees are more productive than others. In fact, research on employee motivation proved that offices with engaged employees are almost 43% more productive.
6. Can understand the company’s goals better
Motivated employees understand and believe how their work contributes to the overall company success. Therefore, they always want to understand what are the company’s mission, vision, and objectives.
7. Will also work towards achieving their own goals
While understanding the company's goals, motivated employees are also excellent in understanding and achieving their own goals.
8. Work towards achieving organization’s goals
In addition to working hard to achieve their individual goals, motivated employees also work towards achieving team and company goals.
9. Are more customer-centric
Whether you are in B2B or B2C business, the motivated and engaged employees will always care about your customer satisfaction.
10. Have lower turnover rates
Fluctuation is one of the biggest workforce problems for organizations. Businesses with engaged employees have an 87% higher rate of employee retention.
11. Are more adaptable and open to changes
Agility is something every employer tries to achieve. Employees with higher motivation rates are known to be more open to change and are more prompt to an agile way of work.
12. Are better team players
Since most of the motivated employees are driven by the company's goals and objectives, they are more likely to be team players than solo players.
13. Have a good impact on the other employees as well
Disengaged employees are often to have a negative impact on others. In addition, their negativity may create an unhealthy work culture.
14. Have lower levels of absenteeism
A report on the financial cost of employee disengagement proved that businesses with low employee engagement report 62% more accidents than those with high engagement.
15. Are brand ambassadors
Motivated employees are most of the time emotionally connected to their companies. Furthermore, emotionally connected and motivated employees are 4 times more likely to become brand ambassadors. Turning your employees into brand ambassadors can help you in increasing awareness, sales and in attracting talent to your company.
Employee Motivation ideas
As today’s workforce is very different from the one that we had ten years ago, so are the motivational factors.
Every employee is different and hence not the same things motivate them. However, there are a few employee motivation ideas every employer can follow.
1. Choose the right leaders for your organization
Assigning the right people to lead employees is important for employee motivation. Good leaders have the power to highly motivate and engage their team members in the best way possible.
2. Coach your managers
Constant management and coaching are necessary to keep employee motivation at high levels. As the workforce continues to change, so do employees' characteristics and motivational factors.
3. Define specific but realistic engagement goals
Managers and leaders should be responsible for assigning precise and measurable engagement goals and objectives. Employees who have clarity of goals are more motivated to achieve them.
4. Make someone accountable
After defining goals, leaders should be held responsible. In other words, if the goals are not achieved, managers should be responsible enough to discover why the engagement levels are not satisfying. In addition, they should also define tactics and methods for improvement.
5. Improve internal communications
This is the most crucial one! Companies with poor employee communications often suffer very low levels of employee motivation and engagement. Employees who are not informed and feel left behind are way harder to motivate.
6. Value employees’ work and contribution and recognize them
Employees need to know that their work is important and valued. If they got some goals and managed to achieve them, they should understand how does that reflects on the company’s success.
7. Give a structured feedback
Positive or negative, feedback is necessary. Continuous feedback helps employees stay in the loop and understand if there are any more opportunities for improvement.
8. Recognize and reward your employees
Don’t forget to reward good work. Recognition and rewards should be a must-have in every company. However, leaders should make sure to reward the employees with something that they value.
9. Connect with your employees more often
Good leaders are able to connect with their employees on both personal and professional levels. Remember, not everything, at all times, need to be about the work.
10. Build a positive work environment
Healthy workplace environments and cultures are the ones where people feel free to talk, feel valued, trust their leaders and have good relationships with other employees. How healthy is your workplace?
11. Encourage innovation and creativity
Younger generations such as Millennials and generation-Z love to be involved in the various aspects of the business. Enable them to use their creativity and recognize their ideas and initiatives.
12. Empower your employees
Give employees the freedom to make decisions themselves. It is hard to be motivated when your entire job is about what other people tell you to do. Therefore, employee empowerment is important to improve employee motivation.
13. Implement better learning and development programs
Encouraging employee development and learning is a great way to keep your employees motivated. Track their milestones, teach them new skills, recognize their efforts and promote them to higher positions with more responsibility.
14. Address your employees' quality of life
You should care about your employees' quality of life and work-life balance. Highly motivated and engaged employees are often the ones that experience burnout sooner. Do take care of your best-performers!
15. Make sure you understand what motivates them
Not all employees are the same and not the same things motivate all. Some might prefer monetary rewards, whereas some appreciate recognition in the form of nice words or touch.
How to measure Employee Motivation?
Employee motivation is not an easy measure. However, there are these common ways companies use:
1. Performance reviews
Not only can the performance reviews help you motivate employees, but it can also be a good measure for it. Bad performance review results can be a very visible indicator of low employee motivation and engagement. Once the bad performance is identified, employers should work towards figuring out what is the cause of the low motivation levels.
2. Employee motivation and engagement surveys
Surveys are one of the most popular, yet easy, ways to measure employee motivation. However, employers should be very careful when choosing the survey questions. It is extremely important for employee engagement surveys to be anonymous in nature. In addition, it is good to use a combination of different types of questions such as open questions and scales.
3. Customer satisfaction surveys
Customer satisfaction often depends on how satisfied your employees are. Therefore, measuring customer satisfaction can help you in identifying levels of employee motivation. This is especially true when your employees are in direct contact with your customers. This technique is often used with employees in sales and customer experience success.
4. Employee Motivation Hierarchy
In order to successfully engage and motivate your employees, you really need to understand what is it that motivates or drives them. Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of needs theory is one of the most known needs theories. In this theory, motivation is the result of a person's attempt to fulfill five basic needs: physiological, safety, social, esteem and self-actualization.
These needs often exist in a hierarchical order. In other words, lower-level needs must be met before higher-level needs are met.
This theory can also be useful to help us understand employee motivation in the workplace. Applying these awesome employee motivation ideas in practise to get insights into your workplace can help companies strategize how to use monetary incentives more efficiently