Motivation at work is an intricate thing. Subject to so many factors, it enormously alters overall productivity. A highly engaged, galvanized workforce accomplishes more and quality-wise better. This in turn brings significant benefits to a company’s bottom line.
The roots of demotivation
An employee’s motivation is a complex system with lots of variables: even a seemingly great office culture can’t guarantee it keeps staying at high levels. Upon the first signs of motivation decline, an HR team should immediately come into play. Unfortunately, many fail to react in time: according to Motivates consultancy 2018 research, the proportion of people in the UK saying they are not motivated at work is as high as 29%.
The reasons behind are numerous: no career progression, scarce communication with upper management, lack of recognition, distorted work-life balance, no challenging tasks, unfair pay, disorganization, excessively rigid work rules, undetermined career path, struggle to see personal impact, lack of learning and personal development, bad relationships with colleagues – the list goes on.
HR managers should keep that in mind: numbers are only the top of the iceberg, as employees do not view money as a sole motivation trigger. To keep their motivation high, you need to act on many fronts.
Let us introduce you to the best practices that will help you sustain the workplace motivation:
- Pay attention to your employees’ work-life balance:
All of us struggle to put in harmony jobs and personal lives. The best way to make your staff a little happier is letting them have some extra-time with their families. Based on the results, reward them with vacation days, offer flexible working hours, or introduce smart working options. If the company treasures your life balance, wouldn’t you leave no stone unturned to bring results during the working hours?
- Cut back on rules and restrictive policies:
Nobody enjoys too much stiffness at work. Impose only the minimum number of rules and policies that are necessary to protect the organization. Don’t just announce new rules – educate employees, involve them in the policy-making. In case of individual disruptive behavior, tactfully address the person through counseling, progressive discipline, and performance action plans.
- Apply an individual approach:
Needless to say, your employees are not a faceless crowd, so do your utmost to get to know them. If you work in a large corporate environment, simply remembering the names would be a big step forward: people enjoy being recognized in a vast ocean of co-workers. Discover your employees’ goals, job challenges, aspirations – and adjust your practices accordingly. Another way to go about an individual approach is praising for exemplary work. If someone is underperforming, organize a session of personal coaching or an eye-to-eye talk. As Inc. suggests, “this would demonstrate that you care about the individual behind the work as much as the work itself”.
- Always reward a good performance:
Nothing motivates more than recognition: cherish the ones going the extra mile and put in evidence their success. One way of doing so is launching reward systems (e.g., ‘employee of the month’ title). Ensure that employees are praised more than just verbally. Incentives, bonus programmes, pay raise – financial recognition is a strong motivation amplifier. Consider aligning people’s economic interests with the company’s performance, rewarding workers at all hierarchy levels.
- Offer alluring opportunities of career advancement:
Never disregard employees’ stagnation: show a sincere interest in their career progression. Propel investment in corporate learning programmes, determine how concrete employees will grow professionally. People with clear path objectives are more engaged and bring better results.
- Make your office a happier place:
It does not require huge budgets to foster employee empowerment through small office initiatives: let the workers choose decorations or themes for corporate parties. Consider organizing a game/lounge room inside the office. The latest HR trends promote employees’ informal affinity to each other: it fosters team spirit and reduces the temptation to sneak away from work with a leave of absence.
- Support employees through crisis times:
According to Harvard Business Review, one of the main drives hardwired into our brains is the so-called drive to defend. It makes employees feel demotivated and scared in times of big changes (company mergers, structural shifts). During such transitions try to underline the transparency of all processes and make sure your employees know you are on their side.
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