Derived from the Latin word for movement 'movere', motivation relates to the factors that generate certain behaviour, channels this behaviour, and sustains it in order to achieve a certain goal. It is often seen as a construct that is assumed to be a process that cannot be localised; something that is intangible, invisible and hard to measure.
Employee motivation is often defined as the level of energy, commitment, persistence and creativity that a company's workers bring to their jobs. This directly implies that higher employee motivation leads to better engagement and productivity. Unsurprisingly, employee motivation has become one of the top priorities for most businesses.
Employee motivation happens to be a precarious aspect at the workplace, driving performance of the department and the company alike. A company requires to make employee motivation a regular routine, ensuring a positive work atmosphere, complemented with better results. A high level of motivation leads to a demonstrably lower level of absence, and instigates interest in the day-to-day tasks.
In order to motivate employees optimally, an organisation needs to identify the needs of their employees, which includes the following -
- Certainty: Everyone wants a degree of certainty in their lives. For example, employees want to be certain that their salary will be paid every month, so that they can pay the rent, fulfil their daily needs, etc.;
- Uncertainty/variety: Although this contradicts the previous need, if everything in life was certain, if everything was known in advance, life would become boring. In order to keep monotony and boredom at bay while creating excitement, it is crucial to have a certain degree of positive uncertainty or a variety;
- Be of Significance: Employees want to feel that they are needed and lead a meaningful life, that is, lead a life that matters;
- Solidarity: Everyone wants to belong somewhere, everyone wants to care for someone or be cared for, everyone needs friends/family, and everyone needs contact with others. This also applies at work.
- Growth: Employees want to grow. Growth can be essential for motivation. This growth in employees may range from mental, to emotional and financial.
- Make a contribution: Employees want to contribute to the greater whole. If your organisation fulfils a socially relevant role, this will contribute to your organisation's success. This need can, just like growth, be an important key on a personal level to leading a satisfying life.
Employee motivation is highly important for every company due to the benefits that it brings to the company. These benefits include –
- Increased employee commitment - When employees are motivated to work, they will generally put their best effort in the tasks that are assigned to them;
- Improved employee satisfaction - Employee satisfaction is important for every company because this can lead towards a positive growth for the company;
- Ongoing employee development - Motivation can facilitate a worker reaching his/her personal goals, and can facilitate the self-development of an individual. Once that worker meets certain initial goals, they realise the clear link between effort and results, which will further motivate them to continue at a high level.
- Improved employee efficiency - An employee’s efficiency level is not only based on their abilities or qualifications. For the company to get the very best results. An employee needs to have a good balance between the ability to perform the task given and willingness to want to perform the task. This balance can lead to an increase of productivity and an improvement in efficiency.
In order to increase employee motivation, some of the immediate actionable tips include:
One of the easiest ways to increase employee motivation is by having positive communication at the workplace. Rather than relying only on emails, the management can talk to their employees in person and even on a personal level, by setting aside some time each day to talk with employees or join them during coffee breaks. This makes the employees feel as though one is a part of the team; a leader instead of just the boss. Team communications are deemed to be valuable;
Employees see the company that they are working in, to succeed. Many have excellent ideas, ranging from money saving to operational improvements. Management must make an effort to take some time to ask and listen to suggestions. Nothing is more worthwhile than feeling valued.
Value individual contributions
Management should ensure their employees on how their individual efforts and contribution plays a pivotal role in the company’s overall goals and direction. Employees will take pride and be engaged in their work if they are aware how their efforts create an impact on the organisation; regardless of how big or small their contributions are.
Rewarding the employees with gifts every single time they do a good job at a task is not always required. At times, a simple “Thank You” or “Great job” will suffice, acknowledging effort, building loyalty and encouraging people to work even harder.
It is extremely significant to encourage open communication, feedback, and discussion about any matter of importance to an employee, a leader must have an open door policy. Employees can take their workplace concerns, questions, or suggestions outside their own chain of command without worrying. In addition to this, employee engagement initiatives to bring about camaraderie and unity in the workplace.
Due to the current pandemic there was a major alteration in the working environment for people across the globe and industries, who had to adapt to an extremely remote working format, leading to an increasing change in the pattern of communication on a daily basis. This shift resulted in the adoption of newer techniques, in order to implement employee engagement initiatives by way of motivation. During these tough times, it is just to say that employee motivation and satisfaction is an organisation's road to success and would require resilience and unity as the key elements, in order to move forward.