A study into Motivation and Engagement – Why we really do the things we do… 

This White Paper begins by considering that much reserach has been carried out into why some organisations excel at employee engagement and that the value of having an engaged workforce is well established: staff turnover is lower, motivation and performance is higher and business results (including financial) typically out-perform the market average.  It has also been demonstrated that ensuring employee engagement is a key leadership responsibility.

The introduction also reviews the fact that over the last 4-5 years partly (but not exclusively) driven by the global economic crisis, evidence shows that employee engagement has suffered .

Employee engagment is important, not least because of the link to motivation:  Motivated staff work more effeciently; work is done faster, with greater levels of collaboration, creativity and commitment all of which has a positive impact on the bottom line.

As the author, Chris Burton, states:

“the relationship between engagement and motivation is a two way street; improve one and you also improve the other. So the key to understanding how to benefit from improved levels of engagement is firstly to understand what motivates us – why do we really do the things we do..?  To understand what really motivates us we need to strip away all the factors which might merely influence us; in other words, we need to identify what lies at the very heart of our motivation to do something”

In order to identify true motivation, Chris states that true motivation is only tested when ‘the going gete tough’ and when the there is personal risk.  As such he chose to conduct interviews with groups of people who regularly have their motivation tested under extreme circumstances – doing something when it’s really tough with the risk of personal loss – The British Army (serving and ex-serving officers and soldiers).

The results were clear:  when people are required to perform at their very best, collaborate effectively, follow instructions but still show initiative and stick with it no matter how hard it gets, it all comes down to three simple factors:

  1. Having trust in those around them;
  2. How they feel about the job they do; having a strong sense of pride and purpose;
  3. How they feel about the people they work with.

To read the White Paper in full, please download the PDF file HERE

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