Most managers understand that a motivated workforce is critical for the performance of their departments. However, judging by recent research, very few companies currently have an employee population that feels great about their jobs and are driven to achieve results for their employers.
Right Management, who conducted an employment satisfaction survey in mid-2012, reported that only 19% of respondents reported that they are satisfied with their jobs, while a staggering two-thirds admitted that they are not happy with their current employment. This followed from a comprehensive Mercer survey, conducted in 2011, which found that between 28% and 56% of employees across 17 U.S. locations wanted to leave their jobs.
Clearly then, there has been a morale problem within the U.S. workforce for some time, and perhaps it goes without saying that this lacking motivation creates some serious issues for organizations’ success. With continuing economic turbulence creating an environment where employees feel trapped in less- than-ideal positions, it can be easy for professional managers to feel powerless to effect change.
However, if you are managing a department struggling with issues related to motivation, there may be some effective strategies you can employ. You will want to do what you can to help direct reports feel good about working for the department and, thus, put greater effort toward their work.
Before looking at some motivation strategies let’s take a look at what you stand to gain by focusing on your employees’ morale. If you would like a deeper dive into topics such as these, you might consider an online course in organizational behavior, which is designed to help you develop employee motivation and strengthen your team.
Benefits of a motivated employee population
So, everyone knows that motivation is important, but if you are looking to build the motivation of a workforce, it’s important to understand in some greater depth the potential outcomes of this and the kinds of goals you will be after. With that in mind, here are some of the advantages an organization will experience with a motivated workforce:
Innovation and efficiency: Often, the first item to be mentioned, when it comes to employee motivation, is productivity. However, this is not simply a question of employees putting their noses to the grindstone and churning out a product. In an economy that increasingly specializes in creative work, it’s important for professionals to innovate in order to deliver quality output. And in order for them to achieve this, they have to be driven. Those who are driven to perform will look for better ways to produce quality work in the most efficient way possible.
For more on how to strengthen innovation, you may be interested in an online course in understanding the innovation process.
Turnover reduction: Another major issue that can come up with lack of motivation is a high rate of turnover. Not only is this costly due to the repeated cost of onboarding, but, over time, it can also lead to an inability to recruit and retain top talent. Those who actively pursue new opportunities can often be team members with high potential for contribution and innovation, while those who stay in place may be settling for their circumstances.
Poor teamwork: We often think of lacking motivation as being a problem that is limited to individuals, but it can often accumulate across a team, and dissatisfaction will have something of a domino effect. Also, as lacking motivation becomes a norm, its effects can take hold of more and more team members.
What can be done to increase motivation
If the potential problems that arise from poor motivation are a cause for concern, you can take heart in the fact that there are ways to combat the issue. One resource to consider is an online course that specifically teaches some strategies for keeping a team motivated. It can certainly be worthwhile to your career and your team’s success to gain a comprehensive understanding of the proven approaches.
To get a start, you might consider these concepts and tactics in motivation building:
It isn’t about money: An employee’s salary is the most fundamental incentive for remaining in a position, and lack of a sufficient compensation can be a serious demotivator. However, on the other side of the coin, money is not a powerful factor in driving an individual to contribute quality work. Too often, motivation strategies rest on the assumption that money will be the impetus for action.
People want to contribute to their full potential: An individual’s feeling that they are not being sufficiently called on to employ their skills is often problematic. Employees want to feel that they have the ability to apply their unique strengths to a project.
Stress has a bell-curve: Managing responsibilities and workload for a team can be tricky, as there is often a sweet-spot in terms of stress. If an employee has too little to manage, this can sap motivation as much as an employee who is overly tasked and, thus, considerably stressed.
It helps to feel like part of a team: As the workplace becomes increasingly virtual, where co-workers on the same projects can be hundreds or even thousands of miles apart, it takes some forethought on the part of the manager to retain some of the coherence of a team that is in the same location. With some creativity and forethought, it is certainly possible to manage a tight virtual team, and you can learn some principles to help you do this in a course on influencing and motivating virtual teams.
Within an economic environment that appears to be contributing to demotivation in workforces, there is still hope for organizational leadership. It is still within a manager’s control to positively influence teams and create a workplace that is productive, innovative, and satisfying to team members. If you can find a strategy that works for you and take steps to enact it, you may find that top talent will be knocking down your doors for the opportunity to work on your team.