Motivation in the workplace

Motivation is essential to daily functioning. You need the motivation to get out of bed, to go for that gym session and to actually go to work.

Motivation is essential to daily functioning. You need the motivation to get out of bed, to go for that gym session and to actually go to work. Knowing this, it’s easy to conclude that motivation is extremely important in the workplace too. But if you aren’t convinced, here's why you need to motivate your employees:

  • Motivation increases employee productivity
  • Provides employees with a sense of pride in their work
  • Decreases employee turnover rates by inspiring satisfaction among employees; and
  • Improves performance

Now that we know why we need to keep our employees motivated, let’s find out how we can best do so!

Set goals

Goal-setting gives us meaning. It gives us something to aspire to. So when it comes to motivation in the workplace, setting goals for your employees gives them a reason to work hard. In order to effectively set goals, you should establish what you want them to achieve. When doing so, be sure to outline what is expected from their role and why their role is important! Again, it gives that sense of meaning behind their job role. Don’t forget to encourage your employees to set their own goals. They shouldn’t just be in it to impress you, they should also have personal goals they want to achieve. Both your goals and their own will greatly drive motivation.

Collect feedback from your employees

You might not know how motivated your employees are (if at all) without actually asking them. It can’t hurt to ask them what’s working and what isn’t! Try introducing an employee engagement survey to find out how motivated they really are. Ask them what the highlights of their year have been, how they are feeling towards the workplace and what improvements can be made. An anonymous survey is likely going to drive the most honest feedback and will provide you with real answers. Just make sure you’re prepared for both positive and negative feedback!

Give them feedback too!

How are your employees going to know how well they are doing if you don’t tell them? This doesn’t just mean praise (which is good too) but it also means constructive criticism. It isn’t always easy to provide negative feedback, but it can be the most essential part of being a leader. Let your employees know where they can improve and then support them through it. They already know how important their role is from when you set goals with them, so they are going to know that improvement is important too. Always make sure you are inspiring them to do better, rather than criticising them for not doing what you had expected. 

Reward and recognise 

In an earlier blog, we spoke about transactional leadership and using incentives to drive motivation from employees. While it is still important to recognise that basing your leadership and motivational strategies around rewards can be problematic, rewarding employees is still helpful with inspiring motivation! That Christmas bonus at the end of the year or the promise of an extra day of paid leave can be a great motivator for short term goals (like sales goals). It’s also a great way to praise employees for doing an outstanding job. Getting even a small reward for doing something well can inspire employees to continually do better. So while incentives might not inspire motivation for very long, rewarding employees for their hard work is still a good idea every once in a while.

If monetary rewards and gifts aren't really your jam, maybe you can focus more on recognition. Same sort of area, but doesn’t inspire transactional behaviour in the same way rewards can. By praising a particular employee and noting their contributions in the next team meeting or in the company newsletter, you can really inspire that sense of pride. Then, employees are motivated to seek that same feeling of pride again. 

Motivation is everything. It keeps us moving forward every day. That’s why ensuring your employees are motivated and inspiring motivation within them is so important! So make sure you head into work every day thinking about how you can motivate your employees to be the best they can be!

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