Why is Employee Motivation Important

Why is Employee Motivation Important?

It's no longer about paychecks and ambiences, then what's the catch? Here's why employee motivation is important in the future of work.

Kathleen O'Donnell
Kathleen O'Donnell

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 working 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? Impact of employee motivation on employee performance.

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 Employee Motivation?

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 fully motivated every single 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.

What is the Importance of Employee Motivation in an Organization?

Motivated employees are a huge 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. In fact, only two out of ten employees strongly agree their performance is managed in a way that motivates them to do outstanding work, according to Gallup. That’s a significant motivation gap. And since there are so many benefits to having highly motivated employees, that gap is a big miss.

The Benefits of Employee Motivation

How do companies benefit from having plenty of motivated employees? In several important ways.

More Innovation

Employees who truly enjoy their jobs and feel motivated to do their best are also motivated to develop new improvements and ideas frequently. Motivated employees have the energy and enthusiasm to be real innovators, on their teams, and for 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.

More Employee Engagement

Working with a whole group of demotivated employees can really 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 of a commitment to their workplace and their 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.

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.

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.

How Can You Improve Employee Motivation?

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 really looking at what drives employees to perform at their best and creating an environment where they can do so.

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 that are 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 goals 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.

Strengthen Manager Communication Skills

SHRM has found a large gap between the workplace culture employees would like and the workplace culture employees actually find themselves in. Strengthening communication between employees and their direct managers has a strong effect on how motivated employees feel - in fact, 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. Just 26% of employees strongly agree that the feedback they receive helps them to do their jobs better. If employees don’t know if they’re performing well or poorly, they won’t have the information or motivation to improve.

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 definitely 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.

Recognize and Reward Employees

A really powerful 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, you’re showing them you notice their efforts to perform well and appreciate what they do. That’s highly motivating - humans have a basic 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 it’s done in the right way. That means providing not just money but also 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 motivating to continue that behavior and reinforcing it as well. That’s powerful! And it’s easy when you have the right employee reward and recognition platform like Empuls.

Key Takeaways

Having a team full of highly-motivated employees can make a huge difference in your businss'syour 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.

If you’re looking for a complete solution to motivate and engage your employees, measure your results, and reward your top performers for doing a great job, you’ll find that all in Empuls.

Kathleen O'Donnell

Kathleen O'Donnell LinkedIn

Kathleen is a freelance writer and employee communications and culture expert, with 6+ years of experience in corporate internal communications.