Motivated employees are 20-25% more productive. They are happier, stay with the company longer, and are far more likely to report “excellent” performance. When leaders encourage employee engagement and coach individual growth, employees are excited to come to work. Galvanized employees invest in what they produce. They connect to the impact of their contributions and feel inspired to further organizational success.
The question is, how do you encourage and motivate a workforce in a fast-moving environment? As roles change and your company grows, it’s easy for individual contributors to fall through the cracks. Employees often grow disengaged, disinterested, and eventually unhappy.
In this article, we will look at what it means to be motivated, and how to implement employee motivation strategies with proven results. We’ll cover:
- What it means to be motivated for today’s employees.
- Six types of motives and the three that actually drive performance.
- Key changes you can make that influence why someone works their hardest.
- How to Jumpstart employees who have plateaued and are no longer motivated.
What Does It Mean to Be Motivated?
Humans are inherently curious. We want to engage with the environment around us. Dan Cable describes the Seeking System as a part of the brain that drives us to take on new challenges and learn new skills. When we succeed in stretching ourselves, the brain rewards us with a release of dopamine.
All workers want to stretch themselves, but for a long time organizations were structured from the top down. Few if any impactful decisions were made on the front line, leaving most employees to grind away as they became increasingly unmotivated. That’s changing as employers better understand what motivates employees to work harder and stay on board longer. Organizations that encourage new learning opportunities, design engaging work environments, and actively spark creativity build a competitive advantage.
According to a PricewaterhouseCoopers survey, 52% of millennials cite career progression as a top priority. In a Manpower study, 93% actively seek out ongoing skills development as part of their jobs.
Workers want to feel motivated, but they can’t muster up the motivation alone. It takes a coordinated effort from leadership to provide an engaging, growth-oriented environment to fully activate individuals across all levels of the organization.
Determine Success Motivation With These 6 Factors
The reason someone works for your organization has a direct impact on their performance. Their inherent motivations influence how hard they push themselves. Lindsay McGregor and Neel Doshi, authors of Primed to Perform, describe six motives that directly correlate to performance.
Three have a positive effect: play, purpose, and potential.
Three do not: emotional pressure, economic pressure, and inertia.
Psychology Today surveyed a large sample of workers across different disciplines and found that motivating factors such as money and benefits were significantly less important to employees than:
- Peer motivation
- Impact on society
- Encouragement from management
- Opportunities to grow at work
By getting to the root of why someone works, companies can make subtle changes to provide more positive reinforcements. Let’s discuss a few key motivational improvements you can begin to implement now.
Decreasing the Pressure to Perform
Pressure breeds in an environment defined by deadlines, launch dates, and fiscal performance reports. As a leader, you can make an impact by simply shifting the organizational mindset away from an unhealthy fixation on performance metrics.
Eliminate singling out individual negative performance in team meetings. Instead, focus on inspiring your employees to perform at their best. You can do this by showing them why their efforts matter and guiding them through difficult decisions.
Encourage New Ideas
Your employees are a potential gold mine of new ideas, but in many organizations, leadership exists in a vacuum. Decisions are made in a board room without front line input, leaving 9-5 staff unsure why they do what they do. Implement a system that encourages idea-sharing and experimentation.
Providing Learning and Coaching Opportunities
Create in-office opportunities to learn. The same task performed over and over again, can be soul-crushing. To make work engaging, you should:
- Implement employee rotations and leadership coaching to expose your staff to new skills and processes.
- Encourage your top performers to share their experiences in the form of presentations.
- Identify and showcase your employees’ strengths, strategies and positive results.
- Break down silos and make organizational knowledge more accessible to everyone.
Every employee is motivated by something. The question becomes, how healthy is that motivation? You have the power to strengthen and improve individual motivation through inspiring organizational leadership.
Reinvigorate an Employee’s Dying Motivation
What about individual employees? Key contributors who have plateaued and are approaching burnout? There are additional tactics you can implement specifically for those who seem to lack motivation.
In these instances, the employee likely needs a new challenge or a significant change. As a leader, it is your role to determine which is needed and how to provide it.
- Stretch Assignments – This is a new responsibility tangential to their current job duties that forces them to go beyond their current domains of expertise. Common stretch assignments include public speaking, coaching and leadership opportunities, and ownership of documentation or high-level reporting.
- Taking a New Direction – Sometimes an employee reaches the pinnacle of what they can accomplish in their current role. Look for new roles they can take on that match their potential. Assign a new project that requires a completely different approach to their expertise. In some cases, this may involve encouraging and motivating a rockstar employee to explore new opportunities.
Creating an Environment of Continuous Motivation
Too many organizations rely on motivational band-aids. End of year bonuses. Team building activities and parties. These are all good things. They can positively impact morale and help build a more cohesive culture, but they can’t substitute the feeling of wonder and accomplishment your employees need to feel motivated.
To build an environment that engages and motivates every employee, leadership must remain engaged. They must solicit feedback, have routine conversations with employees, and facilitate growth opportunities. This requires them to be attuned in a way that can be difficult in traditional organizational settings.
Learn what it takes to support and engage your employees. To encourage them to try new things and take ownership over their work. With Torch coaching, you can gain access to key insights about yourself and how effective you are as a motivator. Request a demo to learn more and get started today.