Which kind of employee would you rather have on your team - one who jumps at the chance to take on new opportunities and learn new skills, or one who spends a lot of time surfing online shopping sites and does just the minimum to get by?
It’s not a tough call.
You always want the first one to work hard for your company. But what is the big difference between these two kinds of employees - the one who goes the extra mile all the time, and the one who just coasts?
The difference is employee motivation. Highly motivated employees are an incredible asset to your team and your company. But don’t just take our word for it!
Here’s a deep dive into the vital importance of employee motivation in the workplace.
What is the importance of employee motivation in an organization?
Employee motivation is the energy, commitment, and enthusiasm employees bring into the workplace every day.
Motivated employees enjoy their jobs most of the time, are excited to complete most of their tasks to the utmost of their abilities, and are looking to learn and grow in their roles.
They’re at their job for more than just a paycheck.
Of course, it’s not possible for an employee to be entirely motivated every day or in every task they must complete.
Even the most highly motivated employees will have down days, and filling out the expense or budget reports doesn’t usually give a lot of job satisfaction even though it’s a necessary task.
But on the whole, motivated employees bring energy and enthusiasm to the workplace most days. Unfortunately, most businesses struggle with how to motivate employees.
Companies need to work thoughtfully to motivate employees and keep them motivated through their careers.
Motivated employees are a tremendous asset to any business. They perform their tasks, both large and small, with the intent of doing the best job they can. They can inspire others on their teams to do the same.
And if they’re leaders and managers, they can help a whole team succeed by bringing focus and positive energy to others as well.
However, many employees are not motivated. They are bored in their jobs, dissatisfied with their manager or the workplace, or just burnt out. Managers are a big factor in employee motivation.
According to Gallup, only two out of ten employees strongly agree their performance is managed in a way that motivates them to do outstanding work.
That’s a significant motivation gap. And since there are so many benefits to having highly motivated employees, that gap is a big miss.
What are the benefits of employee motivation in the workplace?
How do companies benefit from having plenty of motivated employees?
Here are the eight important benefits of motivation in the workplace:
1. More innovation
Employees who genuinely enjoy their jobs and feel motivated to do their best are also motivated to frequently develop new improvements and ideas.
Motivated employees have the energy and enthusiasm to be real innovators on their teams and the company.
They will see possible areas for improvement and be willing to make things happen, and your business will be highly innovative as a result.
2. High employee engagement
Working with a whole group of demotivated employees can drag down even a highly-engaged employee.
But on the other hand, joining a team of motivated employees can help increase overall engagement rates and help employees have more commitment to their workplace and work.
And since engaged employees are such an asset to your business, raising overall engagement rates has many benefits. Motivation and engagement tend to go hand-in-hand.
3. More efficient employees
Employees who get more done in less time are very valuable. They can accomplish a lot in the same amount of time compared to other employees. And if their work is very high-quality, you can see big productivity gains with a motivated team of employees.
Motivated employees are efficient because they are excited to get their tasks done and do a great job.
4. Lower levels of turnover
Employees who aren’t motivated or engaged at work have higher turnover rates - especially when it comes to your top performers.
On the other hand, motivated employees see the impact their work makes for their team or their company and feel inspired to stay and continue contributing at a high level. Keeping these highly productive and energetic employees is great for your business.
5. Increases job satisfaction
Job satisfaction determines an employee’s performance to a great extent. Higher job satisfaction would also mean a lower attrition rate in an organization. Getting a handsome salary is one thing but today’s employees look for satisfaction in their careers.
Employees who feel their voice is heard are 4.6 times more empowered to perform their best work. - SalesForce
6. Boosting employee morale
Motivation and morale go hand in hand, and morale is an indicator of how happy the employees of an organization are.
Encouraging the employees to make decisions at work, making their job more meaningful, giving employees a sense of responsibility and authority, and promoting creativity are ways to boost motivation and morale.
7. Increasing productivity
A motivated employee is willing to put his best foot forward and ideate and innovate in the organization. This increases their productivity and helps the organization gain more revenues and profits.
Motivation promotes self-discipline among employees. Self-discipline helps employees accomplish much more than the discipline imposed by their seniors.
Motivated employee disciplines themself and believes that it is necessary for their interests.
How to motivate employees in the workplace?
Now that you know how critical employee motivation is to the success of your business, how can you increase motivation?
It’s possible to do with some thoughtful effort, but it’s not simple.
Increasing employee motivation means looking at what drives employees to perform at their best and creating an environment where they can do so.
1. Give employees goals they can control
Having a sense of autonomy and control contributes strongly to employee motivation. It makes sense - employees won’t feel like there’s much point to performing at their best unless they feel they have ownership over what they do and contribute.
Giving employees goals tailored to what they can contribute and measure is vital to motivating them to new heights, but it’s sadly pretty rare. Only 21% of employees strongly agree they have performance metrics within their control.
Instead of tying employee performance to very high-level goals that employees really can’t affect on an individual level, try giving them some plans for the year or quarter that they have direct control over.
That way, they know they can make a difference and see the results when they’re successful.
2. Strengthen manager communication kills
SHRM has found a large gap between the workplace culture employees would like and the workplace culture employees find themselves in.
Strengthening communication between employees and their direct managers strongly affects how motivated employees feel 95% of employees say their relationship with their manager strongly impacts how they feel about their job.
Providing actionable and direct feedback is a critical part of any manager’s job, but few managers excel at doing this.
3. Design a welcoming workplace
Even your most motivated employees won’t stay enthusiastic for long if they’re stuck working in a dismal environment where it isn’t easy to do their job well.
That can mean providing top-notch technology so employees can do their work efficiently, giving them a comfortable and enticing space to work in, and offering a full suite of benefits so they can live their best personal lives as well.
Employees' energy level is affected by their surroundings, so what kind of mood are you setting in your workplace right now? Keeping it welcoming, upbeat, and comfortable with everything they need to do their jobs well helps employees feel valued and keeps motivation levels high.
4. Recognize and reward employees
A compelling way to motivate any employee, from the new grads working entry-level positions to the highest-level leaders, is straightforward - say thank you. And don’t just say it once because it needs to be frequent and genuine for recognition and appreciation to be effective.
Recognizing employees for a job well-done means showing them you notice their efforts to perform well and appreciate what they do.
That’s highly motivating - humans have a fundamental need to be seen and appreciated. It also shows other employees what doing a good job at your company looks like, so they have an example to emulate.
Rewarding employees for doing their best can also be highly motivating when done in the right way. That means providing money and targeted rewards that employees truly value.
Employees value different things, so having various rewards available for good work is a good idea.
When you recognize and reward employees for doing their best work, you’re motivated them to continue that behavior and reinforce it as well.
Having a team full of highly-motivated employees can make a huge difference in your business's health and success.
But this isn’t a task you should leave up to chance or to your employees themselves to manage - you’re responsible for creating a workplace environment and the proper incentives to motivate your employees. It might be a bit of work, but the rewards are well worth it.