Why is Employee Motivation So Important In Crisis Situations?
No one could have predicted the way COVID-19 has changed how businesses operate and the way employees work. Employers and employees have seen dramatic changes in working patterns recently. Now, more than ever, employee motivation is key to company success.
What is Employee Motivation and Satisfaction?
Employee motivation occurs when morale is high and people enjoy their job. Whether they work on the shop floor or in an office, a motivated workforce is at the heart of a productive and profitable business. Motivated employees get things done and achieve results. They feel they belong.
In any crisis, employees can feel unsettled and demotivated. People tend not to like change and prefer familiarity at work, where they know their responsibilities and how they fit into the company structure.
COVID-19 has created a shift in thinking and ways of working. Many people now work remotely and this is becoming the ‘new normal’. Whilst some employees relish the flexibility this gives them others are finding it hard to adapt. Not having colleagues around them nor the routine of going to the workplace every day can cause stress and loneliness.
It’s up to employers to make this transition as smooth as possible to drive employee engagement. A caring company acknowledges the importance of employee satisfaction to maintain and build morale whilst riding this storm. This will also help prepare for any unforeseeable future crisis.
The Benefits of Employee Motivation
Employee motivation creates an effective workplace. In times of crisis, it’s even more important. In a survey carried out by Censuswide in the UK, over 73% of employees said they want their employers to motivate them more. So how do you do this and what are the benefits?
1. Employee Engagement
Employee engagement comes when employees reach their full potential. They feel they belong and are part of the team, whether they work in the office or remotely. The key to engaging employees is to make them feel they matter. To do this it’s important to:
- Share information (through the company intranet, emails or newsletters).
- Ensure employees understand their role, particularly if it changes due to the crisis.
- Encourage career development and training, much of which can be online.
- Acknowledge great work – say thank you and reward to boost self-esteem.
A comfortable work environment can create positivity. Office-based employees benefit from natural light, a modern desk, the latest tech tools and a relaxing area to take a break. This leads to higher and more productive output. The same applies to remote workers. People perform better when they have what they need to do the job. If a company provides employees with a laptop, mobile phone, fast internet access, an up-to-date intranet, or whatever else they need they’ll feel motivated. When things work smoothly and efficiently employees work well too.
Encouraging employees to submit ideas to help develop the company promotes motivation.
- It saves costs – why pay an external company if someone internal has the skills?
- It gives an insight into the employees’ capability and how their knowledge can be an advantage. It explores new directions to streamline ways of working, which ultimately affects the bottom line.
- It acknowledges – people feel valued when their employer listens.
- It allows the expression of ideas.
- It shows the employer listens and will try new ways of working.
Part of a company’s success is based on employee retention. Replacing staff is costly and time-consuming. Motivated staff stay. They’re loyal and want to be part of their employer’s future. This is important in a crisis when employees feel unsure about their future. They may worry about being furloughed, made redundant or having hours reduced. In times of change, employers should explain their strategies and be open and honest. When people know what’s happening they can plan. Informed employees will have much more respect for their employer which improves employee motivation.
Motivated employees are likely to be flexible if their employer is too. This could mean staying late to finish a presentation, working at a weekend or just generally helping out in a crisis. Flexibility is mutual – if the employer is happy to consider reduced hours for a working parent or carer the employee is more likely to be committed to their work. Flexible and remote working is becoming more popular and allows employees to ‘tailor’ their work to suit both them and the company.
Motivated staff can help build the company’s reputation. When employees feel happy where they work they become advocates of the company. ‘I love my job – I work at X’ is the cheapest and most powerful method of advertising. This can work to build sales of products and services. This form of motivation is beneficial for recruitment too. A company with a good reputation attracts top talent. Reputation isn’t just about impressive perks and benefits, it encompasses great culture and leadership too.
What happens when a crisis is over? Turning the challenges everybody’s faced into a positive experience can be an employee motivator. If people are motivated they’ll see things differently and use what they’ve learned from their experience. New ways of working mean employees have greater autonomy and can learn to manage their time better. If they’re working remotely and want to continue as it suits their lifestyle this is the ideal opportunity to do so. This results in staff who are motivated and dedicated to their employer.
Good managers believe in encouraging employees to better themselves and they command respect. If a manager sets an example and is a true leader and mentor the employee knows they have support. This can be highly motivating. Respect between colleagues can also be a strong motivator and encourage team members to work together effectively. When an employee knows they can discuss something with colleagues and will receive an objective opinion they’re likely to be more productive.