Motivation is what drives high levels of productivity and keeps the wheels of creativity and novelty running. With the right kind of motivation, there is almost nothing that we cannot achieve. But with the lack of motivation, even the simplest of tasks can seem like a burden.
Why motivation at work?
The mundaneness of everyday work life has been time and again of accused stealing our creative and enthusiastic spirit. Doing the same thing every day, without challenges or growth in offices can lead to a steady decline in motivation levels, day after day. The reason why this happens so very often is that employees stop identifying opportunities for personal growth or excitement in the things they are asked to do. And when your workforce is demotivated at a collective level, it is a dangerous sign.
Workplace motivation is crucial because collective goals and rewards are what makes the entire journey truly exciting. But is it not always easy for leaders to achieve this. The purpose of doing business, in general, is to exercise thoughtfulness and bring skills together to be able to solve problems. It is about ideating, creating and distributing products and services that make lives easier for someone else. How much value is placed on this proposition will define the motivation levels of your teams.
Just hiring the best of talent isn’t enough. You need to keep them motivated on a constant basis so that they do not feel drained out or worse, purposeless. This is especially true in today’s day and age where a large number of young population in the workforce are looking for purpose over security.
Here are a few ways in which you can keep your workforce motivated.
Take a personal interest in employee well being
Employee motivation will not work if leaders of an organization just hand over the responsibility to the HR team or just give a nod stating approval for the new employee engagement budget. Till the time they do not take a personal interest at the strategy level, it is more or less futile. This is because successful employee engagement initiatives are not done just for numbers, but it is a commitment.
Happy employees are productive. To create a workforce filled with happy employees requires a deep analysis of the current state. What employees are going through, the generic trends, the problems, and the gaps – all need to be analyzed first hand. And all this needs to come from the employee, not from just external source. And leaders have to be involved and committed to first understand the core issues hampering motivation levels, and accordingly, take suggestions for improving the same. It is the responsibility of leaders to constantly take stock of what life is like for their talent on every rung of the ladder.
Offer psychological safety
There cannot be any happier with mental security. Employee motivation levels are most likely to plummet when they cannot make their voices heard or when they do not feel safe to discuss their issues with their bosses or peers. Psychological safety refers to a state where people can honestly raise issues when they have any and do not feel threatened, intimidated or embarrassed to do so.
Leaders will also play the main role here by encouraging and setting the ground for a transparent workplace. Leaders must demonstrate time and again, be it in meetings, emails or everyday interactions, that they are open to feedback and welcome a culture of open communication. And they should not just say it, but also practice it through an example so that employees get convinced. The communication needs to be sparked by humility and focus on the collaborative aspect of doing business, where there is no room for the unhealthy exercise of power.
There is nothing more powerful than empowerment. As a leader, when you show faith and trust in your employees, lead by example and encourage them to do their best, they will not falter. Employees should be given the freedom to pursue their goals and meet shared expectations in their own way and within reasonable guidelines. In order to be able to do this successfully, employees should also be given access to resources and guides that might help them.
Leaders have to really work towards making their talent believe in themselves. They need to be treated as their own CEO and given the kind of respect that is essential to stay motivated to do good work. Trust is a two-way street and if it is not genuine, it will not work. Treat your employees with the kind of respect and attention that will enable them to stay motivated strongly and foster thoughtfulness. Instead of telling them what to do or how to do it, be open to learning from them or listening to what they have to suggest.
The bottom line is to be available for your employees. Show up when they need you, act when there is an issue. Ensuring employee motivation does not always mean investing in expensive software and spending a lot of money and time. What it truly means is to be available and aware of what your employees are feeling. Sometimes even a small gesture can go a long way.