No Motivation to Work: What Companies Can Do to Boost Employee Engagement and Productivity
No motivation to work is unfortunately the reality for 80% of employees worldwide! Meaning only 20% of employees worldwide feel engaged at work, according to a Gallup survey. This points to a motivational crisis for the global workforce.
What can companies do to motivate and KEEP their employees motivated?
“Becoming is better than being.” - Carol Dweck, an American psychologist known for her work on motivation and mindset
Definition of Self-Motivation
Self-motivation is the activation of goal-pursuing behavior. Motivation is the drive that pushes people to get things accomplished.
There are two types of motivation:
- Intrinsic Motivation comes from within. One typically works towards results instead of rewards. It’s an expression of their internal desires or needs. It usually manifests as something one wants to do, not something one has to do. Like going on a tropical vacation with family.
- Extrinsic Motivation comes from outside oneself. And it involves a tangible reward, such as receiving pay and recognition for work.
“Motivation is the art of getting people to do what you want them to do because they want to do it.” - Dwight D. Eisenhower, 34th U.S. President
Lack of Self-Motivation Signs
How truly motivated are the employees? What motivates employees for the long-term? Are employees making poor decisions? Is job performance not up to snuff? Wondering why? Perhaps they are not motivated. Be aware of these possible indicators:
- Missed deadlines
- Mediocre quality work
- Poor physical health
- Displays negative feelings
- Stays within comfort zone
- Lack of contributing in meetings
- Accomplishing bare minimum
- Time spent on social media rather than work
Ways Companies Can Motivate Employees
Companies want employees who make sound decisions, perform well on the job, and add value. One of the many responsibilities of leaders is to keep employees motivated. Meaning not only to just “show up” to work but be fully present and contribute daily.
Wondering how to address employees who are not motivated? And to continue to motivate all employees? Companies don’t want to lose star employees to competitors! Here are several different ways companies can motivate employees:
#1: Have Open Conversations
Management will be in the dark about the root causes of direct report's lack of motivation, if they don't openly communicate. First, ask if the employee is unhappy. If they are, address the causes of dissatisfaction. Perhaps they are being bullied or have a seriously ill parent.
If they say they’re satisfied at work, dig deeper to find possible reasons for low motivation. First, ask questions to learn if the employee is intrinsically or extrinsically motivated. Are they driven by learning new skills or tickets to a baseball game for a project well done?
Ask what inspires them. Understand their goals, values, and priorities. Perhaps they feel bored in their current role and seek new challenges in management.
Have the employee create a to-do list with deadlines. This will help them visualize their goals. It will also give management the information they need to help lead them to their goal. Encourage positive self-talk. Stress how their work will benefit others and their company.
“Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” – Theodore Roosevelt, 26th U.S. President
Benefits of Open Conversations:
- Builds Excitement
- Creates Purpose in Work
- Incorporates Goals into Daily Work
#2: Set Realistic and Specific Goals on a Large Project
Typically, employees feel motivated when they have clear and realistic expectations. When assigning a new project, break the project into small steps, if it is a large project. Setting smaller goals makes them more attainable, and quicker and easier to accomplish. And less overwhelming. It’s exciting to meet smaller goals along the way.
Be enthusiastic about not only the first step in the process but the entire initiative. Be sure to discuss the next steps with a can-do attitude. Most employees want to know their monstrous project is realistic. And the goals are attainable.
Ever experience a manager present a major initiative in a “bored to tears” and defeated manner? Perhaps hearing even, a yawn or two! How does a team even be motivated to begin!
Benefits of Setting Realistic and Specific Goals on a Large Project:
- Increases Engagement
- Improves Job Performance
- Provides Ability to Make Better Decisions
#3: Acknowledge Successes
The simplest and quickest way to acknowledge successes is with a sincere “thank you, great job.” It sure motivates employees to continue doing a “great job.” It makes a difference knowing their hard work and dedication is valued and appreciated. Imagine a manager who never gives a word of praise to peers or their team. No “thank you, nice job.” Just delegated, delegated, delegated. Gradually, they may lose the support of their peers. Their team may perhaps either transfer to another department or leave the company.
Another way to acknowledge successes is through a Reward System. It offers motivation to extrinsic employees. Incentives like a day off work or tickets to the theatre or ballgame for a job well done go over well. Knowing what direct reports like will make it easier to create motivation. Knowing they may get tickets to a big playoff game they may even meet a deadline before the deadline! Research shows 66% of employees will stay at their company if there is a corporate incentive plan.
Bonus programs offer excitement for those responsible for meeting the company’s goals. They sure are going to do the challenging work to get that last sale, so they get their quarterly bonus. Awards, such as a first-place trophy for being #1 in sales, bring a sense of gratification. A shiny first place trophy sitting on your desk keeps you motivated to get the next one.
Make it known that HR will look internally before posting open positions on social media. Promoting from within motivates employees to go the extra mile as they know they can advance.
Benefits of Acknowledging Successes:
- Creates Personal Job Satisfaction
- Boosts Sense of Confidence
- Instills a Sense of Respect and Appreciation
#4: Supportive Company Culture
A supportive company culture is critical. What would it be like starting a new job and walking into a workspace full of unneeded computer equipment? And spending the first week “cleaning” the space? Not much of a warm welcome. Be sure every employee on every level has an uplifting workspace. No one wants to sit in an uncomfortable chair with a 20-year-old desk and poor lighting.
Hybrid/remote work opportunities can do wonders for one’s motivation level. Having these options can make employees' lives easier and less stressful. They have increased control over commute time and physical office distractions. This allows for a better balance of work-related tasks and domestic responsibilities. A Nitro study shows they are more motivated and productive.
Share the big picture and the organization’s goals, mission, and vision. Mission-driven employees are 54% more likely to stay for 5 years at a company. And 30% more likely to grow into high performers than those who are only paycheck motivated, according to Forbes. As always, managers should offer encouragement. And have a positive can-do attitude in meeting the company’s goals.
“Keep your face to the sun and you cannot see the shadows.” - Helen Keller, a blind, American author, disability rights advocate, political activist, and lecturer
Learning new skills keeps employees motivated. An ongoing learning culture will do just that. If one’s goal is to become a manager, see that they have a mentor and management training courses.
Benefits of a Supportive Company Culture:
- Motivates Will to Succeed
- Ignites an Excitement to Go to Work
- Cultivates Feelings of Happiness and Appreciation
#5: Lead by Example
A good leader sets the tone of the company. If you want to motivate employees, be friendly, open, and personable. No one wants to work for a robot.
Be available and have an open-door policy. Ask and listen. Rather than tell. Management should remember to be quiet and listen no matter how much they want to say. It’s about understanding their motivators and their dissatisfactions.
Always be fair to everyone on the team. This will instill trust on every level in the company. Delegate and trust them to accomplish the projects but be there to advise. When an employee’s motivation level is low give them a project they can succeed at. Rather than assigning a challenging task.
Managers should take responsibility for their actions. Admit mistakes and apologize. Along the same lines, if an employee makes a mistake, don't get angry. Remain calm and think of a solution. Offer constructive feedback by inspiring them to do better. Always support team members. Celebrate their success. But always privately discuss ways to improve performance.
Benefits of Leading by Example:
- Inspires to Do Better
- Builds Trust and Comradery
- Instills a Sense of Responsibility and Ownership
#6: Time Off/Leave Work at Work
Ever meet a manager who bragged that they had never taken a vacation day nor called in sick for 5 years? It’s critical to find a work-life balance. A short break during the day and leaving work at work helps the motivation level to not drop. And don’t come into work when not feeling well. It is hard to excel and be motivated.
Companies are cheated when employees do not take earned days off. These days are awarded to re-energize and motivate. Encourage your employees to take off work for their personal needs and wellbeing.
Benefits of Time Off/Leaving Work at Work:
- Provides a Change of Scenery
- Supports Relaxation and Energizes
- Resets Focus, Sparks Inspiration, Enriches Outlook
#7: Focus on Short- and Long-term Career Development
What could be a bigger motivator than taking interest in employees’ short- and long-term career path? Managers need to know their plan. Put time on their calendar now to find out.
Managers need to show they not only care but will help them meet their goals. Discuss and help them set both short- and long-term goals.
See that they have a mentor who will help lead them to accomplishing their goals. And invest in the appropriate training courses that apply to their development needs.
“You were hired because you met expectations, you will be promoted if you can exceed them.” – Saji Ijiyemi, Nigerian author of “Don't Die Sitting”
Benefits of Focusing on Short- and Long-term Career Development:
- Creates Exciting Challenges
- Enforces Value and Belonging
- Cultivates Sense of Investment in Success of Company
Enjoy the following HSI training video titled, "Taking Control of Your Career."
HSI Can Help
Refining employees’ skill sets and offering an employee training and development program are best practices for any company. Employees feel valued and appreciated. They know their company feels they are worth the time and financial investment.
HSI’s employee training and development eLearning library offers all the courses to curate a curriculum around motivation.
A manager may find it beneficial to watch training courses on:
- Decision-Making Basics: Understanding Motivation
- Leadership Fundamentals: How to Inspire as a Leader
- Analyzing Employee Performance: Motivating Won’t Do’s Using the Can Do, Will Do Grid
Employees experiencing lack of motivation may want to watch courses on:
- Using Your EAP
- Staying Positive
- Take a Deep Breath
- Cultivating Gratitude
- The Benefits of Time Off
- Maintaining Mental Health
- How to Finish What You Start
- Optimizing Work-Life Balance
- Making Your Work More Meaningful
- Emotional Intelligence: Developing Self-Motivation
Many of HSI’s clients open their HSI training library to their employees for self-directed learning. Employees can choose off-the-shelf training video courses best suited for their unique needs. Sign up for a free trial of our HSI LMS. And have access to HSI’s Business Skills library, to watch any of the courses mentioned.
Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.” - Michael Jordan, an American businessman and former professional basketball player