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Employee motivation: Ideas and benefits


By Aishwarya Sinha Ray

Employee motivation can be considered as the level of energy, commitment, persistence, and creativity that employees bring to their jobs. Whether the economy is rising or shrinking, finding ways to motivate employees has always been a management concern. Competing theories stress more on either incentives or employee involvement (empowerment). A smoothly running and motivated workforce also frees the owner from day-to-day chores for thinking of long-term development. Furthermore, a tangible and emotional reward can mean retention of the desirable employees. People thrive better in creative work environments and want to make a difference. Ideally, the work’s result itself will give them a feeling of accomplishment and inspiration—but well-structured reward and recognition programs can enhance this consequence. In general, better employee motivation leads to better engagement and hence better productivity. This is why employee motivation is one of the biggest management concerns.

Why Employee Motivation Is Important?

Research has shown over and over again that employee motivation is highly linked with employee engagement. Moreover, employee engagement almost always leads to better productivity. For this reason, it is not a surprise that organizations pay more attention and resources to employee motivation.

As a matter of fact, according to a recent survey on Employee Engagement, an alarming 70%+ of American employees aren't working to their full potential. For that reason, economic growth is slowing.

Most often then not, less engaged employees are most likely to be less emotionally connected to their companies. In addition, they often tend to work against the company’s interests.

Benefits of Highly Motivated Employee-

No matter how big or small an organization is, employee motivation is always one of the cherished goals for all employers. This is specifically true in the world where Millennials make the biggest part of today’s workforce. Most employers are aware of the expectations, requests, and needs of Millennials, the new workforce in most organizations.

However, employers need to learn how to adjust to it because the benefits of high employee motivation are numerous.

In comparison to unmotivated employees, motivated employees:

  1. Can Handle uncertainty better - Because motivated employees are much more engaged, they are also more self-confident in what they do. As a result, they know how to react in difficult situations.
  2. Are better at problem-solving - Problem-solving is one of the top skills that an employer looks for in their employees. If your employees are motivated, they will work harder to solve problems and challenges.
  3. Are more creative and innovative - Motivated and engaged employees come up with innovative ideas that can help optimize business performance.
  4. Are proactive - Motivated employees proactively look for new solutions to overcome challenges and achieve goals. They don’t wait for feedback and often evaluate their own work.
  5. Are more productive - More motivation and engagement often leads to more productivity. Therefore, companies with motivated employees are more productive than others. In fact, research on employee motivation proved that offices with engaged employees are almost 43% more productive.
  6. Can understand the company’s goals better - Motivated employees understand and believe how their work contributes to the overall company success. Therefore, they always want to understand what are the company’s mission, vision, and objectives.
  7. Will also work towards achieving their own goals - While understanding the company's goals, motivated employees are also excellent in understanding and achieving their own goals.
  8. Work towards achieving organization’s goals - In addition to working hard to achieve their individual goals, motivated employees also work towards achieving team and company goals.
  9. Are more customer-centric - Whether you are in B2B or B2C business, the motivated and engaged employees will always care about your customer satisfaction.
  10. Have lower turnover rates - Fluctuation is one of the biggest workforce problems for organizations. Businesses with engaged employees have an 87% higher rate of employee retention.
  11. Are more adaptable and open to changes - Agility is something every employer tries to achieve. Employees with higher motivation rates are known to be more open to change and are more prompt to an agile way of work.
  12. Are better team players - Since most of the motivated employees are driven by the company's goals and objectives, they are more likely to be team players than solo players.
  13. Have a good impact on the other employees as well - Disengaged employees are often to have a negative impact on others. In addition, their negativity may create an unhealthy work culture.
  14. Have lower levels of absenteeism - A report on the financial cost of employee disengagement proved that businesses with low employee engagement report 62% more accidents than those with high engagement.
  15. Are brand ambassadors - Motivated employees are most of the time emotionally connected to their companies. Furthermore, emotionally connected and motivated employees are 4 times more likely to become brand ambassadors. Turning your employees into brand ambassadors can help you in increasing awareness, sales and in attracting talent to your company.

How to Improve Employee Motivation?

As today’s workforce is very different from the one that we had ten years ago, so are the motivational factors.

Every employee is different and hence not the same things motivate them. However, there are a few employee motivation ideas every employer can follow.

1. Choose the right leaders for your organization

Assigning the right people to lead employees is important for employee motivation. Good leaders have the power to highly motivate and engage their team members in the best way possible.

2. Coach your managers

Constant management and coaching are necessary to keep employee motivation at high levels. As the workforce continues to change, so do employees' characteristics and motivational factors.

3. Define specific but realistic engagement goals

Managers and leaders should be responsible for assigning precise and measurable engagement goals and objectives. Employees who have clarity of goals are more motivated to achieve them.

4. Make someone accountable

After defining goals, leaders should be held responsible. In other words, if the goals are not achieved, managers should be responsible enough to discover why the engagement levels are not satisfying. In addition, they should also define tactics and methods for improvement.

5. Improve internal communications

This is the most crucial one! Companies with poor employee communications often suffer very low levels of employee motivation and engagement. Employees who are not informed and feel left behind are way harder to motivate.

6. Value employees’ work and contribution and recognize them

Employees need to know that their work is important and valued. If they got some goals and managed to achieve them, they should understand how does that reflects on the company’s success.

7. Give a structured feedback

Positive or negative, feedback is necessary. Continuous feedback helps employees stay in the loop and understand if there are any more opportunities for improvement.

8. Recognize and reward your employees

Don’t forget to reward good work. Recognition and rewards should be a must-have in every company. However, leaders should make sure to reward the employees with something that they value.

9. Connect with your employees more often

Good leaders are able to connect with their employees on both personal and professional levels. Remember, not everything, at all times, need to be about the work.

10. Build a positive work environment

Healthy workplace environments and cultures are the ones where people feel free to talk, feel valued, trust their leaders and have good relationships with other employees. How healthy is your workplace?

11. Encourage innovation and creativity 

Younger generations such as Millennials and generation-Z love to be involved in the various aspects of the business. Enable them to use their creativity and recognize their ideas and initiatives.

12. Empower your employees

Give employees the freedom to make decisions themselves. It is hard to be motivated when your entire job is about what other people tell you to do. Therefore, employee empowerment is important to improve employee motivation.

13. Implement better learning and development programs

Encouraging employee development and learning is a great way to keep your employees motivated. Track their milestones, teach them new skills, recognize their efforts and promote them to higher positions with more responsibility.

14. Address your employees' quality of life

You should care about your employees' quality of life and work-life balance. Highly motivated and engaged employees are often the ones that experience burnout sooner. Do take care of your best-performers!

15. Make sure you understand what motivates them

Not all employees are the same and not the same things motivate all. Some might prefer monetary rewards, whereas some appreciate recognition in the form of nice words or touch.


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Published On : Sep 29, 2020

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