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The lack of employee motivation and employee engagement is one of the gravest problems businesses are facing. Sure, you cannot expect employees to be happy 24/7. Their workdays are filled with multiple peaks and valleys and that’s totally fine.

Cost of demotivation
Source: Gallup

But, what if your employees are consistently dissatisfied and unmotivated?

Well, they will soon start looking for a new job. Gallup’s research says that 73% of demotivated employees are seeking new professional challenges, compared to 37% of engaged ones. Given that, it’s not surprising that the lack of engagement costs companies up to $550 billion yearly.

What is Employee Motivation?

Employee Motivation is defined as the desire and enthusiasm that makes employees committed to their job. It is what drives them to the office daily and motivates them to put their best foot forward in all their work. Employee motivation helps uplift their morale, increases their job satisfaction, and gives a better employee experience at their job.

How to Boost Employee Motivation?

Now that we have understood what is employee motivation, let’s now take a look at a few tips on how to boost employee motivation in your workplace.

Reward your Employees’ Hard Work

Hardworking employees expect to be properly rewarded. By incentivizing good work, you’re telling your employees that you care about them and that you appreciate their dedication. Most importantly, you will boost their loyalty.

Celebrate their major professional milestones.

If one of your teams did exceptionally well last month, why not throw an office party, plan a team building event, or take everyone for a drink? Such events don’t have to be expensive, but they will mean a lot to your teams. Using an employee motivation platform, like Empuls can also help celebrate milestones easier with it’s social media like interface and peer to peer recognition and interaction capabilities.‍

Personalize rewards.

Get to know your employees. Learn about their major hobbies and preferences when choosing the right reward. For example, if one of your best employees has a sweet tooth, why not buy them a box of chocolates they love? Know what their favorite store is and buy a voucher or a gift card there. If you’re still not sure about their preferences, you can always use prepaid cards that are accepted in multiple stores. For example, your employees could use a voucher to purchase from over 5000+ experiences, 1000+ gift cards, and 10,000+ perks - meaning that they have ample options to choose from.

The way you treat your employees tells them a lot about their future at your company. After finishing an important project or a professional milestone successfully, they tend to envision themselves moving up in their career. Career advancement opportunities, as well as monetary rewards like bonuses or raises, are always a good way to increase your employees’ morale.

Increase Workplace Transparency

Trusting your employees and gaining their trust is key to your organization’s success. Precisely because of that, you need to invest in greater workplace transparency.

Start with your employee recruitment and hiring tactics. When onboarding a candidate, make sure they understand what your company stands for – what your major values, goals, and missions are. They need to know what their roles and obligations are, as well as how they, as individuals, contribute to creating a cohesive work environment.

Create thorough employee performance reports

Sweeping employee performance problems under the rug can only lead to greater problems. Yes, talking to your underperforming employees about their mistakes may upset them, but that’s the only way to help them improve their productivity.

So, set reasonable employee productivity KPIs and track their performance regularly. Based on these metrics, create comprehensive, clear, and unbiased productivity reports that will help them understand what their major productivity problems are and help them overcome them. Research shows that the highest engaged employees receive feedback from employers on a weekly basis.

Ask for employee feedback

Knowing how your employees feel about their current position, how satisfied they are, and what their major expectations and fears are - may help you a lot and that is why collecting their feedback regularly is important.

Hold regular meetings and encourage employees to ask questions and voice their ideas publicly. Nurture an open-door culture. Let your staff know that they can talk to you whenever they come up with an innovative idea or they face a problem.

Remember that many of your employees are afraid or embarrassed to state their opinions openly. In such situations, you can always turn to anonymous surveys and polls to gather honest employee feedback.

Provide Career Advancement Opportunities

Over time, your employees will gain more knowledge, experience, and courage. They will want to improve themselves both personally and professionally, expand their skill set, and take on more responsibility at work. And when that happens, you need to back their ideas up.

This is what Steve Jobs emphasized a while ago: “It doesn't make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do. We hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.”

Only 34% of your workforce is engaged. The question is - what about the remaining 66%? - Gallup

Therefore, get to know your employees. Talk to them in person to learn more about their preferences, ambitions, professional goals, and plans. Ask them whether there is anything new they would like to learn or whether there is any field of the industry they would like to specialize in. Is there any training program or course they would like to attend? Based on their answers, give them the opportunity to improve their skills and knowledge.

Over time, assign them with more challenging tasks. Encourage them to participate actively in the decision-making processes, unleash their creativity, and voice their ideas openly. Put them in charge of important projects, let them work with your major clients, and ask them to attend any industry-specific events on your behalf. This way, you will signal that you trust them and that your goal is to keep them happy.

Sure, as their obligations grow, make sure you reward your employees properly. Like I’ve mentioned above, this starts with a greater salary, public recognition, and a better position in your organization.

Encourage Greater Results through Workplace Flexibility

There is no one-size-fits-all strategy that can work for each of your employees. Each of your staff members is different – they have different needs, worries, and goals. And, your goal is to focus on building a vibrant and inclusive workplace culture that celebrates people’s differences and individualities. In other words, instead of making them adapt to your corporate values, your corporate values need to be tailored to them.

Highly engaged teams show a 21% greater profitability. - Gallup

For starters, prevent the creation of a hostile work environment by building policies against any form of bullying. Irrespective of their gender, race, age, nationality, abilities, or sexual orientation, an employee needs to be treated with respect.

Walk-in your employees’ shoes. Learn about the things that are important to them. Help them celebrate their personal milestones. To appeal to minority workers, know what their major holidays are and help them celebrate them properly. If you’re hiring people with physical disabilities, then adapt your offices to their needs so they can perform their daily tasks effortlessly. Any young parent should be allowed to work remotely when the need arises. That said, nowadays a remote job is so very popular that you can also offer all your employees that option. They could meet every week in a rented co-working space, like this one from the Executive center.

Over to You

Long-term success is a result of small wins. One of them is definitely keeping your employees engaged and helping them feel appreciated. This will help you retain top talent and create a unique corporate culture.

Just like I’ve stated above, there is no strict strategy that may work for you. Instead, you will need to get to know your employees and experiment with different intrinsic-extrinsic motivation tactics until you find the one that really resonates with your staff.

‍Implement an Employee Motivation Software

Most employees globally face the challenge of constant disengagement. So much that, a study by Gallup shows that only 15% of the global workforce is engaged. What can help improve the scenario is implementing a powerful, user-friendly, peer--to-peer interaction and recognition enabled employee motivation software, like Empuls. Giving your employees ample opportunities to collaborate, communicate and engage with one another, no matter where they are working from, can go a long way in engaging and motivating them. For instance, Empuls’ powerful recognition and rewards engine with an inbuilt global rewards catalog, combined with it’s social media like capabilities can help boost employee motivation exponentially.

Employee Motivation and Managerial Theories

“A man doesn’t live on bread alone. He needs buttering up once in a while.” – Robert Henry

Employee Motivation is one of the most crucial challenges companies face. A low level of employee motivation is certainly very unhealthy and hence, unprofitable for an organization.

According to a report by Gallup, only 13% of employees worldwide are engaged at work. There is no single approach to motivating employees.

An organization may have to resort to multiple techniques to achieve a required level of motivation. This becomes an arduous task if the organization doesn’t know where to begin.

Motivation promotes productivity in employees which further improves employee retention and hence becomes important for managers of an organization. This guide is set to equip you with complete knowledge about Employee Motivation methods and their application.

How to motivate employees?

Listed below are some of the most simple and effective ways on how to motivate employees in the workplace.

‍1. Healthy and positive work environment

‍An employee spends a major part of his day in the office and if the work environment is healthy and positive, the employee feels motivated to perform. Offering a stress-free and lively work environment can enrich the employee experience at work. Organizations can incorporate Zumba classes or hold contests for the employees to keep them engaged.

2. Peer to peer motivation

Employees should be able to fit in the culture of an organization, maintain cordial relationships with teammates, and participate in discussions. Moreover, employees are each other’s biggest motivators. It is important an individual’s colleagues appreciate his/her efforts and always motivate him/her to do better.

3. Rewards and recognition programs‍

When a reward is attached to work, motivation arises. Rewarding and recognizing employees at work not only motivates them but also makes them feel valued.

4. Monetary and non-monetary benefits

‍Appraisals and hikes are important for any employee in an organization but they are not enough. More and more employees are now preferring benefits over pay raise. Therefore, non-monetary benefits need as much importance as monetary benefits.

5. Defining employee’s purpose

‍Sometimes employees might start feeling aimless in any organization. They can start feeling clueless or unsure about their goals and objectives. So it is very important for organizations to define every employee’s purpose which can help them understand the organization’s vision and motivate them to work in that direction.

6. Start before they join

‍Organizations need to have an engaging and strategic onboarding process for employees to keep them involved even before they join. Such an onboarding process will also help in aligning the employee’s objectives with the organization’s objectives and vision. This motivates employees to work efficiently and fit in the organization as soon as they can.

8. Workplace flexibility

‍According to a report by Indeed, employees in the age bracket of 18 to 24 years value workplace flexibility as a top priority placing it above compensation and benefits. More and more organizations are now supporting the work-from-home option or even hiring remote workers. Implementing flexible workplace practices can boost employee motivation.

96% of employees believe showing empathy is an important way to advance employee retention - Forbes

9. Make effective use of social media

Social media can only help in reminding employees about the organization’s objectives but can be a medium to recognize and applaud top performers. This will motivate everyone in the organization to appear on the social media pages and hence, work even more dedicatedly.

10. Provide regular one-to-one feedback

‍Providing regular, candid, and constructive employee feedback always helps. Organizations need to have a system wherein every employee gets to know both positive and negative feedback from their seniors. This will make the employees feel valued and motivate them to work on their shortcomings.

We can sum up by saying that when employees are motivated, they feel engaged or emotionally involved in the organization. Such employees in turn add value to the organization and help in increasing productivity and hence, profits. There’s no one-size-fits-all way to motivate employees. Different employees feel emotionally connected to their organizations in different ways. It is the responsibility of the organization to look out for the most suitable means to motivate their employees because, in the end, it will lead to a win-win situation for the employees as well as the organization.

Implications of Employee Motivation

Studying employee motivation from the purview of organizational behavior sciences helps Human Resource practitioners closer to achieving motivation at their workplaces. Occupational research breaks it down to help us understand the antecedents of employee motivation in isolation.

A better understanding of the benefits of employee motivation gives way to better achievements. Let us look at what the researchers have to tell about the benefits of motivated employees.

Innumerous studies have been conducted to understand what motivates employees and the following are the most important factors that decide the employee’s motivation.‍

A feeling of Being Involved

Employee involvement or Employee participation is said to have the maximum on the employee’s motivation. Employee involvement can be created in an organization by creating an environment where employees can influence the decisions and actions that affect their jobs.  This is more of a management and leadership philosophy than a strategy and it enables people to continuously contribute to the success of the organization.

Disengaged employees cost U.S. companies up to $550 billion a year

Disengaged employees cost U.S. companies up to $550 billion a year - The Engagement Institute—a joint study by The Conference Board, Sirota-Mercer, Deloitte, ROI, The Culture Works and Consulting LLP

Methods to improve Employee Involvement:

Following are a few ways employee participation can be improved:

1. Feedback and suggestion systems.

2. Continuous improvement and Brainstorming meetings.

3. Cross-functional committees and improvement projects.

4. Periodic discussions with the supervisor.

5. Training the supervisors on methods to empower and drive participation in their teams.

6. Training the team members in team effectiveness,  communication, and problem-solving.

7. Developing robust reward and recognition systems.‍

Job Security

A guarantee of regular income is the primary motivation for employment and job security is the measure of this assurance. Job security refers to the probability of losing or keeping one’s job and a great influence on the motivation levels of an employee.

89% of workers at companies with well-being initiatives would recommend their company as a good place to work- American Psychological Association

There are several factors that affect the perceived job security of the employee and the following are the most important of them:

1. Trust

The amount of trust the employees have on the organization and their manager affect the amount of perceived Job security because trust is defined as the expectancy of banking upon something. This trust can either be relational - based on the personal connection the manager and the subordinate has - or it can be calculated - based on the abilities of the manager or the subordinate.

People at high-trust companies experience 74% less stress. - Harvard Busines Review

2. Self-efficacy

‍Self-efficacy is the way an employee judges hi/her own performance at their job roles. This perceived performability of the employee in his/her role plays an important role in job security because the probability of retaining somebody on a job increases with their performance.

3. Task-oriented leadership

‍Task-oriented leadership or goal-focused management refers to when a leader encourages task completion, increases goal clarity, constantly improves communication efficiencies, and regulates unproductive behaviors of the employees.

Almost $7 trillion are lost in the name of unproductive employees - Gallup

When employees have precise instructions on tasks and know exactly what to do, it will lead to tasks getting completed. Task-oriented leaders are thus perceived to provide better job security because this increased probability of task completion leads to safer employment.

4. Organizational Identification

‍Organizational identification happens when the employees identify with the organization, owning up the organization’s successes and failures are their own. Employees with higher organizational identification tend to feel better job security because they tend to take the responsibility of instilling job security as their own.

5. Supervisor’s help with personal problems

The ability of the supervisor to empathize and help in solving the employee’s personal problems affect employee motivation. An external determinant of employee motivation and productivity loss is their personal problems.

19% of employees view their bosses as mentors, people they can learn from and trust - Monster

When the supervisor genuinely tries to connect with the employees, in an attempt to attend to and accommodate these problems, employees are partially relieved of the tension of their out-of-work issues. This reduction in stress and anxiety will lead to reinstating the employee’s motivation.

6. Good Wages

Nominal wages for work is a physiological need for an employee. It is with these wages that all his/her basic necessities can be fulfilled. Wages can also be classified as a hygiene factor, a lack of which can cause extreme dissatisfaction. The most interesting observation around wages is that employee motivation is not directly proportional to the wage increase. In fact, there were studies that showed similar employee motivation scores across wage brackets.

7. Interesting work

‍Job enrichment is a way to make work interesting and challenging, which will lead to improving skill sets and motivation levels. This can be achieved through:

  • Ensuring that an individual's goals and how these fit into the overall corporate mission of the company are thoroughly understood by the employees.
  • Providing resources such as IT, communication tools, and training for each employee to perform well.
  • Creating peer support networks and supportive management - so as to ensure an environment of conduciveness.
  • Creating transparency and free flow of information across the organization.
  • Providing autonomy and rewarding employee initiatives.
  • Providing adequate rewards and recognition.
  • Providing opportunities for skill improvement, like fully paid training less and admission to conferences.
  • Provide job variety through job sharing and job rotation programs.

8. Tactful discipline

To tactfully discipline employees is an important factor of motivation. This can be done by:

  • Providing clear guidelines for work.
  • Planning and projecting key result areas with utmost accuracy.
  • Keeping conversations open and aim at finding the root causes of the problem.
  • Being careful of giving negative feedback - be extremely conscious of not making the process more personal in any way.
  • Always giving negative feedback in private.
  • Maintaining complete confidentiality regarding the issue and work with the employee to resolve it.
  • Constantly reassure confidence in the employee.
  • Providing multiple rounds of instructions and constructive feedback, until the issue is resolved.

9. Promotion or career development

The opportunities for promotion and career development highly affects the motivation levels of the employees. These career advancement opportunities can be an increase in salary or widening of the scope of authority, job duties, and responsibilities. It can even be a change in location or territory. These changes can be made based on proficiency, work experience, or training.

10. Good working conditions

‍Working conditions of an organization can affect the health and safety, security, and working hours of an employee.

61% of employees are burned out on the job - CareerBuilder

Employers have a general duty to ensure that the working conditions are as per statutory mandates. This includes managing the maintenance, ventilation, temperature, ambiance, workstations, facilities, and interiors of the office so as to ensure a congenial working environment. This also includes proper communication and online safety training for precautions and usage of work tools.

11. Management/Supervisor loyalty to employees

‍A major characteristic of a loyal employee-manager relationship is the trust that they mutually have. Employees trust their managers to provide them with adequate guidance and managers trust their employees to achieve their deliverables. When this trust is ardent between the employee and the manager, the employees tend to be better motivated.

12. Gratitude and Public Celebration for a job well done

The nature of thankfulness in an organizational culture is an effective motivator for the employees. If this thankfulness is expressed verbally, the motivation levels of employees have been seen to be highly affected. Additionally, if this appreciation is further publicly addressed, the impact instantly multiplies. This increased impact is generally because of the very aspect of presenting the achievement in front of many others and them in turn, appreciating the employee.

13. Monetary Incentives for a job well done

‍In addition to the verbal appreciation, if the employer can attach a monetary incentive to these jobs well done, the motivation levels further increase. Such means of monetary compensation is seemingly more efficient in motivating employees, than the same amount of increase in fixed compensation.

Employee Productivity

Several studies have proven a strong correlation between employee motivation and performance. In fact, one of the most important benefits of motivated employees is the amount of productivity enhancement it brings.  The effects of motivation on employee productivity not only are the actual quantitative and qualitative outcomes of their tasks significantly better, the employees themselves perceive their performances as good. This positive perception and conviction allow them to increasingly improve their performances further.

45% of employees complain that outdated versions of software keep them from being productive - Unisys

Employee Satisfaction

Motivated employees tend to believe that their organizations allow them to grow as an individual and enable them to effectively contribute to the organization - thus driving the effectiveness of employee initiatives. They also tend to positively perceive the organization’s environment to be cooperative, fair, and trustworthy. They feel that the organization is genuinely interested in their wellbeing and resultantly score high on employee satisfaction scores and promoter scores.

81% of employers that offer benefits agree that their company’s benefits offerings increase employee satisfaction - Aflac

Employee Organizational Citizenship Behavior

The increased employee satisfaction enables the employees to empathize with organizational goals, ethics, and moral values. This results in employees exhibiting behaviors that account for organizational citizenship behavior. These are characterized as actions and behaviors that go beyond their normal job responsibilities but benefit the team and organizational functioning and efficiency.

Want to know more about how to improve employee motivation? Do let us know.

Fall in Love with Work All Over Again: How to Rekindle the Spark in Your Employees

In times when ‘Valentine’s Day at work’ is a pretty celebrated event full of chocolates, heart-shaped candies, and red balloons, it doesn’t really bring out the fun at work element because—let’s face it—employees don’t really know how to go about it. HR professionals and CXOs keep looking for avenues to make this occasion presentable in the corporate ambiance, while it is right there in front of them.

Your employees’ jobs are nothing short of a real-life romantic relationship and just like every relationship, there’s a honeymoon period in every job. In this time, it’s all lovey-dovey, hugs and kisses, and zestful passion that keeps the spark well and truly arrives. Once that time passes by, your workforce loses its luster simply starts to go with the flow.

The question is, how to make your employees fall in love with the work all over again? Is it possible to bring back their old spark, performance, and results? Here’s how this Valentine’s Day, you can make your employees fall in love with work again.

Employee Motivation Techniques to make your workforce fall in love with work… again

Let your squadron take a step back

Employee burnout is a significant issue for organizations across the globe in recent times. In fact, the WHO calls it an occupational phenomenon that comes with a high degree of mental health risks. Many organizations openly give out sabbaticals, paid leaves, vacations, and ‘me-time to those who need it and if it’s feasible.

It doesn’t always have to be a three-month sabbatical to rekindle the spark, however. The smallest of gestures and perks can help your workforce clear their heads. Giving them a coffee-plus-bagel voucher or 8 laps on a go-kart might give them time to rejuvenate over the weekend without worrying about the money. Basically, it’s all about giving them some time to think.

It’s not about what they do—it’s about how they do it.

There are several instances at the workplace where you see the HR generalist talking it out to an employee over a cuppa— “are you happy here?” It might feel like this brings out the right answer but in reality, it doesn’t and it’s nothing more than just tough talk.

A simpler way? Don’t ask them “do you love what you do?”. Instead, ask them “do you love how you do it?”. With the emphasis being pushed on employee recognition and engagement, it’s safe to say that working professionals find their way to their dream jobs. To make your workforce fall in love with their work again, re-jig their work procedures by suggesting them a better way of doing things—even if it means shifting from MS Word to iWork.  A small, fresh outlook goes a long way.

Ask them what they want

This one’s straight from the horse’s mouth—what do your demotivated employees want? Is it a dream project that they’ve been willing to get on for a while, or just a change in role to fill their think-tank? Maybe, just maybe—a corner office?

To bring back the fire, ask your employees what they want and if possible, deliver it for the right price. He who has the biscuits gets to tell the story and you’ve got the cookie jar—before offering them what they want, set goals and objectives in sync with the big picture.

Employees do talk about unmet expectations on smoke breaks and near the cooler, but when officially asked about, they never address these issues in front of the management. Transparency is the key to a healthy relationship—be it a romantic one or a corporate one.

Spruce up the workplace

Not just the plastic wall-hangings and standees—the simplest way to give your workforce a new outlook all around is to re-jig their seating pattern. New neighboring teams and a different lighting pattern does freshen things up. Sounds unnecessary? It is if you do it too often (and also if you don’t change their chairs with the place).

A change in attitude is all that’s needed

When it comes to behavioral changes in an employee, it won’t happen in a day. But CXOs and HR professionals can persuade employees to change their attitude for the better and that should be enough to reincarnate the pleasures that a new job offers to the existing employees. Walk them through the process of envisioning happiness in their work. It’s crucial not to disrupt matters so much that it hinders their performance, for it’s the primary factor.

Employee Motivation Platform can do wonders

The right kind of motivation is such that, not only does it have a high impact, but at a low cost. Employees who don’t feel recognized in an organization start plotting for avenues beyond their current work and that’s why recognition is crucial for both the management as well as the employees.

Sometimes, a simple reward or gratification to employees for a job well done is as good as hugs and kisses. With employee engagement and recognition platforms taking it online, it’s simpler to acknowledge a peer’s efforts in front of a huge audience when done on a social media modeled platform. Recognition re-ignites the spark in employees and the objective of making your workforce “fall in love with work again” gets close to its accomplishment.

Motivate Employees through an Effective Rewards and Recognition Programs.
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Ipsa Arora

Ipsa Arora LinkedIn

Ipsa Arora is a freelance Digital Marketer and Content Creator. She is an MBA in Marketing from IMI, Delhi, and holds industry experience in Branding, Digital Marketing, and Research.