Motivation is the drive that someone has to complete activities and reach goals. Many external factors can influence our motivation, but it is still largely internally driven.
It is easy to think that some people lack motivation altogether, but everyone has something in their life that motivates them, certain events, activities and people will motivate people in different ways. The key is in understanding what motivates one person, may not motivate another which can make workplace motivation difficult. Ideally the work environment should not only be motivational but satisfying to be a part of, combining what ‘needs to be done’ whilst fulfilling the employee’s needs. As you can imagine all these variables mean that motivating employees can be a challenge!
Empowerment & Motivation of Employees
Employees should have a level of autonomy in decision making and control over their roles. Leaders should actively empower employees in their work and not micro manage tasks and activities. Those who have more control over their work and decision making are more likely to feel engaged with the business.
When they know what the company vision is, and there are clear targets and expectations, it is easier to motivate employees to achieve those goals. Individuals should have clear roles and responsibilities as well as their own targets. It is easy to become demotivated if we have no way of telling if we are performing well, or doing the right things.
Open and honest communication is key in all businesses. Set up regular communication channels at all levels, including daily team stand up meetings, and less frequently company wide all hands meetings. People are more productive when they feel like they know what is happening. conversely, if they feel the company is keeping them in the dark, they are uncomfortable and less likely to provide added value.
Employees at every level of the organisation should be treated with respect, and treated like adults. Create an environment where employees feel like they can raise issues and have open discussions with management. It should be an organisation free of patronisation or intimidation.
The vast majority of employees want to do the right thing and work hard for the organisation. Micro-management and a lack of trust only undermines people’s confidence or makes them frustrated and angry. Also, a lack of trust only seeks to decrease productivity and increase employee discontent.
If we have ideas or ‘initiatives’ imposed upon us, it is human nature to be resistant. Involving people in projects, problem solving and decision making, improves the quality and diversity of solutions. Being part of the process increases the likelihood that that will develop new methods.
Recognition & Motivation
If someone has done a good job, tell them so. Money only motivates people for a limited period. A simple thank you can be just as motivating for the workforce. Moreover, having diverse methods of recognising employees that are performing well will have a positive influence on morale and motivation.
Providing development and training opportunities to employees helps them to feel valued and important within the business. It is also beneficial to the company as it ensures a multi-skilled and flexible workforce.
Benefits & Rewards
Money should not be the only motivational factor, although ensuring that wages are competitive helps people to feel valued. Other benefits may be things such as holiday entitlement, flexible working or private healthcare.
Regular coaching sessions help employees to develop and improve their own problem solving skills. If employees feel like they are being developed and learning new skills they are more likely to be motivated, and also have greater commitment to the organisation.