When you’re struggling with motivation or morale in your organisation, you’ll find that a quick Google search introduces you to a world of tools, tricks, and solutions to motivate your employees – some cost-effective, some crazy, some expensive, and some crazy-expensive. But which ones are really worth the time and effort? Does it even pay off to invest in motivating your employees? What’s the ROI?
Let’s discover what investing in motivation does for your people and business – and how to do it the right way.
When’s the right time to motivate your crew?
It’s never not the right time to give your workforce some extra motivation. It’s certainly not something you can do just once and expect to have long-lasting effects. From personal matters to challenges on the work floor, there are many factors that affect motivation.
Don’t just start motivating your employees when your business is in trouble. This will be way harder to pull off. Preventing something from breaking is easier and cheaper than fixing it.
Motivating your workforce is not an annual event like spring-cleaning as staying on top of staff motivation can keep your employees happy, and your business healthy. Before giving you some ideas on how to set up a structured plan for motivation, let’s first look at why you should invest in these tools.
5 benefits of highly motivated employees
- It helps generate new ideas
Want to boost your organisation’s creative potential? Invest in motivation. You never know where your next big idea is going to come from, but it’s probably not going to come from an employee who is extremely unmotivated. There’s no inspiration without motivation. New ideas are rarely born out of demotivation. Passion is crucial in an innovation process: it’s about wanting to do better, and feeling at least some fire to get there. If you’re working with a ‘have-to’ attitude, you won’t look past your daily tasks. But if you come to work with a ‘what-can-we-do’ approach, you’ll find new ways to speed up tasks, improve products and help clients better.
Employees need positive emotions and feelings to be creative. Frustration and negativity simply take up more mind space than making room for new ideas. Investing in motivation can quickly turn into a positive vicious circle, if creativity is rewarded. Employees who see that their ideas are taken seriously will feel more motivated to come forward with more new ideas in the future. So, be open to listen to everyone and equip them the right tools to test their ideas.
2. It’s great for company culture
Some benefits can’t be translated into numbers, revenue or sales. But creating a work environment that people feel happy in is just as much a benefit of increased motivation as higher productivity. We spend so much of our time at work that it has a massive impact on how we feel. Investing in motivation as part of creating a better company culture will make for a happier and healthier workforce.
Moreover, employees who are aligned and connected with company goals are likely to be better advocates for the business. And a healthy company culture will not go unnoticed by people outside the business either. In companies with great culture, it is easier to work together and make the most of everyone’s talent, easier to overcome challenges with a workforce that feels connected, and there’s more willingness to embrace change.
3. It boosts productivity
Motivation and productivity are directly linked to each other. An employee who lacks motivation might get the job done, but doing just the bare minimum. Oftentimes, employees do have the knowledge or skills to work more efficiently or better but where motivation is lacking, these may not translate into their actions, and they may just stick to doing things “how they have always done it”.
When you have highly motivated employees, you’ll see a spike in efficiency and productivity. If you can’t really measure productivity in your line of work, you might simply need to get better feedback from customers. Motivated employees are more willing to dive into the available resources and use them to take your company further. Even better, they’re willing to create those resources if they don’t yet exist such as guides for onboarding new employees based on their own learnings, or comparison infographics for questions they often get from their customers. These employees are likely to show more ownership for their tasks and use available tools more efficiently. They waste less time, reach out faster to the right people to get the job done and keep your business running like a well-oiled machine.
4. Employees will provide better customer service
Have you ever spoken to a customer service representative who sounded so unmotivated in their job that you felt sorry for them? Now, what if this is the negative vibe your clients are receiving when they interact with anyone within your business? Your employees are your ambassadors. In a way, they are one of your marketing tools because how they speak about you and to your customers directly influences your brand. Employee motivation and customer satisfaction have a very close, positive relationship. If you want to make your customers happier, don’t forget to do the same for your employees.
5. It helps you attract and retain top talent
Higher motivation is directly linked to lower levels of absenteeism. If you want to keep top talent on board, invest in keeping them motivated and excited in their roles. Companies that invest in motivation have less staff turnover and therefore don’t have to spend a lot on constantly hiring new people. Instead, they can put this money into developing the skills of their current staff.
How to give your employees a real motivation boost
There are no quick fixes to magically motivate your employees. Keeping motivation high should be an ongoing process and requires time and attention. Fun activities and bonuses only boost morale for the short term. If you want to help your teams perform at their best day in and out, consider one of the solutions below.
Introduce mentorships: Sometimes we just need someone to hold us accountable. Someone who shows us the ropes and pushes us to be better. A mentor can do all that, and then some. This can be a great way to motivate those employees who deep down are ambitious enough, but don’t know what to do. A mentor gives them the possibility to brainstorm and test their ideas, learn new skills from someone who has experience and see first-hand what success can look like.
Set up structured recognition and reward programmes: Ever heard of the Expectancy Theory? This is all about motivation and how you can stimulate it, backed by psychology. If this catches your attention, and you’d like to increase productivity with, let’s say, 14%, read on. According to the Expectancy Theory, the motivation of an employee is the outcome of Valence, Expectancy, and Instrumentality.
- Valence: how badly someone wants a reward or recognition for their work.
- Expectancy: someone’s assessment of the likelihood that their effort will lead to the expected performance.
- Instrumentality: their belief that their performance will lead to reward.
If you know this, then you know how to boost motivation: play your part in making sure that instrumentality is at its highest. This means having a system in place for rewards and recognition that your employees know about — and trust.
Research shows that productivity not only goes up by 14% with these programmes, but decreases turnover by 31%. Without proper reward management, not all hard work gets celebrated equally. While some might get a mention in an important meeting, others might home with a nice bottle of wine – which is all well and good but may make people feel their work isn’t valued equally. If you attach rewards to work that helps your company reach its goals faster and better, your employees will see the benefits of going the extra mile. This will help in creating a long-term outlook and lasting motivation.
Let employees develop their own personal development plan: Want to keep things exciting for your employees and keep their creativity and knowledge up to speed? Then allow them to map out their own individual development plans and give them budget or tools to up their skills and knowledge. The trick here is to let your employees pick what they want to learn. Anything else that gets forced on them will actually demotivate them. This can also mean they show interest in skills that have otherwise little to do with their as part of their job roles. Enable them to learn this anyway: enthusiasm can be contagious and positively impact their work as well.
Get everyone together with team building: Why try to motivate your employees one by one, if you can harness the power of groups? The ways in which team building activities boost motivation is great for improving the communication between employees. You’ll be creating an environment brimming with positivity, great team spirit and clear communication. Moreover, team building can be a way to get to know about other people’s skills and talents within the business. This could lead the way to new forging new friendships and creating more efficient work.
Motivated to start motivating yet?
If you’re convinced of the benefits of increased motivation for your organisation, it’s time to take action. Talk to your employees to find out what solutions spark their interest and causes for demotivation to truly create a workplace like no other.
Author bio: Jessica Casares – Content Partnership Specialist