Over the last few years, I have been observing a strange trend. When employees join the organization, they are highly motivated, which is directly reflected in their productivity. However, with the passage of time, this level declines. What could be the possible reasons and what can organizations do on their part to keep employees motivated and productive?
This looks like a very general question; it is not specific to a problem that you may be facing. Several articles and books have been written on employee engagement, motivation and productivity. It indeed is very difficult to deal with this issue in a small space that is available to me, however, let me make an attempt.
When an employee joins an organization, he/she is highly motivated mainly because he/she genuinely believes that at this new place, his/her expectations are going to be met, the role is just right, he/she truly believes that this is a right career move, the organization is right, etc. However, as time passes by, the gap between the expectations and the reality starts becoming apparent to the new employee. This leads to disengagement/low motivation/low morale, etc.
I believe the organizations have to do several things to ensure people do not get disengaged or demotivated. Some top of the hat thoughts are:
• Do not oversell a job; state realities as they are and ensure expectations are set right at the very beginning. Gap between the expectations created and the reality, should be minimal.
• Ensure right person for the right role. Over qualified people get frustrated quickly, similarly people who do not have the right skills and capabilities also get frustrated due to their inability to perform.
• To begin with, a robust induction program and orientation plan to help the employee settle on the role is a must.
• For people to be engaged, you need to provide role clarity, well-defined mutually agreed objectives and a supportive boss who ensures ongoing coaching, timely feedback and resource mobilization.
• A well-trained team of competent colleagues, supportive work culture, opportunities to learn and grow, fun at workplace, supportive colleagues, open lines of communication, performance centric culture, and other hygiene factors lead to motivation and engagement.
• Good leadership, which deals with employees reasonably and fairly, also goes a long way in building motivation.
• Alignment of values and objectives is a must.
• Participative work culture, wherein employee suggestions and voice are heard, is also crucial, since it ensures people are able to realize their potential. An inclusive environment that respects everyone and encourages effective involvement and participation go a long way in building motivation.
• Existence of fair rewards and recognition programs is another enabler for motivation and engagement. Remember, one size does not fit all. You need to segment the workforce and evolve programs which suit the diversity.
You will appreciate a lot is written on this subject and a lot more needs to be researched on this topic. The above list is just a tip of the iceberg; however, it may provide some pointers to the answers that you may be looking for.
Vivek is a Senior HR professional with over 35 years of experience, ranging several leadership positions, in India and abroad. He leads his consulting practice since 2003 and presently works as a Strategic HR Advisor to Reliance Industries, and is also an independent Director on the Board of Motilal Oswal Financial Services Ltd. Prior to this, he was based at Singapore for several years where he was Director HR - Operations at Hewlett Packard for the Asia Pacific Region. Allow Vivek to clear your career and professional dilemmas by writing to us at firstname.lastname@example.org