Every employee has at some point in their working life experienced days in the office where they ’re just not feeling motivated. Off days happen to everyone, and while it is unrealistic to expect that workers will be at the top of their game 100 percent of the time, there are some tools HR managers can employ to prevent demotivation at work.
Motivating employees is an essential aspect of people management. When an employee feels inspired, they are far more likely to work quickly, be more productive and produce quality work. Motivated individuals are also more likely to perform better as part of a team, and are generally much more pleasant to be around, contributing to the overall harmony of the office.
Why no Motivation?
As a leader, it can be frustrating when employees lack motivation to complete the work they have been hired to do. It’s easy to respond negatively when faced with a disillusioned worker, either by reprimanding them for their disinterest or letting them go for a job poorly done. But it’s crucial for HR leaders to understand why someone felt demotivated in the first place. If your employees are experiencing constant demotivation, it is more likely something to do with the organisation rather than them as individuals.
From a psychological perspective, almost all people strive to do well at work. We’re biologically predisposed to find meaning in what we do and to feel motivated and inspired by our work; the brain creates natural impulses to learn new skills and complete meaningful tasks. When we follow these impulses, we receive a hit of dopamine, rewarding us for our behaviour and encouraging as to do more challenging work.
Getting to the cause of the problem will help you to evaluate workflows and tasks, and assess the culture of the organisation to see where to make improvements.
How to Motivate Employees
So what can HR leaders do? Make sure employees have meaningful work to complete and are presented with new challenges on a regular basis.
Although this sounds simple in theory, it is harder to implement in practice. Organisational roadblocks can make change seem like an impossible task. Harvard Business Review suggests following these three nudges to help employees feel more motivated:
Encourage employees to play to their strengths,
Create opportunities to experiment
Assist employees to personalise the purpose of the work.
There also some clear, practical steps to implement which will help foster motivation in the workplace. Below we’ve outlined five simple steps to keep members of your team motivated and eager to do their best at work.
Five effective ways to motivate your employees
1.Pay your people what they are worth
Salary and pay fairness is a significant motivating factor for workers. Paying your employees a competitive salary helps them to feel valued and eager to do an excellent job to meet the expectations set by their pay grade.
2. Offer opportunities for self-development
Offering employees the chance to learn new skills can help to boost engagement. It activates our biological drive to overcome challenges and seek rewards. Equipping employees with new skills also helps to strengthen your workforce and improve the quality of work being produced. It’s a win-win situation for all.
3. Set Clear Goals
If you want employees to do a job well, they need to have a clear sense of why they are doing what they do. One study found that 63 percent of employees reported that they wasted time at work because they weren’t aware of what job was a priority, and what wasn’t. Wasted time leads to boredom and demotivation, so it’s something we want to avoid. Make sure each employee has a clear idea of what’s expected of them and knows which tasks to prioritise.
4. Acknowledge good work and encourage experimentation
There is nothing more demotivating than for an employee’s good work to go unnoticed. When people are busy, battling budget constraints, deadlines and restrictive company policies, it can be tough to leave room for experimentation. Similarly, if leaders are very busy, they do not delegate correctly and can sometimes neglect to acknowledge when an employee has done a good job. Even worse, they fail to utilise the excellent work once it’s finished. This point links to the goal setting step above – if an employee knows which task is a priority, there is less chance of a manager ignoring that work or the work losing value.
5. Provide a pleasant working environment
Everyone wants to work in an office environment that is clean and stimulating, free of clutter and conducive to getting work done. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to make an office a more pleasant place to be – steps such as implementing a tidy desk policy, providing free fruit for workers to eat throughout the day, and encouraging employees to take a lunch break, can go a long way to increasing motivation within the workplace.
It doesn’t take much to boost employee motivation. Following these simple steps and nudges will help create a working environment which encourages self-expression, experimentation and hard work, benefiting employee and employer alike.