Workplace Motivation: Whose Responsibility?

workplace motivation

According to research conducted by Forbes magazine, 48% of employees worldwide do not like their jobs.

A study by Steve Crabtree revealed that only 13% of the workforce is actively engaged in their job. That’s one out of eight employees. The majority of employees in the study—63%—reported being “not engaged,” meaning they were somewhat productive but overall lacked motivation to do their jobs fully. The remaining 24% of respondents reported being actively disengaged as analyzed by Forbes..

Lack of motivation is a real problem not just for the company but the economy at large. Some employees have silently disengaged from their jobs, some are alienated from the Company’s vision and goal.

Maintaining and improving motivation in the workplace can be a problem for many companies, as not every task will be interesting.

General Definition of Motivation

According to B.F. Skinner, “Motivation in school learning involves arousing, persisting, sustaining and directing desirable behavior.” In Oxford Language, Motivation is a reason or reasons for acting or behaving in a particular way.

What is workplace motivation?

According to an article by Vantage circle, Employee Motivation can be defined as the attitude employees have towards their work. It is the desire and energy that makes people continually interested and committed to a job. It is what drives them, pushes them, or “motivates” them to achieve or even show up at work every day. It is the level of commitment, energy, and innovation that a company’s staff holds daily.

Whose responsibility?

We must have read articles on motivation; and different theories from different authors. However, for this article, we will be critically examining the roles of employees and employers in workplace motivation.

Some of us accepted our offer letters with so many hopes and expectations looking forward to a fulfilling and rewarding career, but realities began to set in along the line that might have distracted our goals and aspirations. These realities could range from work overload, poor work culture, toxic work environment or supervisors, lack of recognition, poor pay, and lack of promotions amongst other factors. These might have left us feeling frustrated and demotivated, some of us might have even mentally resigned a long time from our jobs, but waiting for the right time to terminate the contract. Some of us might have blamed it on the company, management, or even the Covid-19 pandemic.

Your Role

The Covid-19 pandemic took a toll on so many careers; some were laid off, some had to endure salary cuts, some had to negotiate furloughs, and for those lucky enough to still have jobs, you may feel that it may not be a good time to negotiate a pay increment, as some companies are striving to survive post-covid, cost of living, etc. These factors may leave an employee feeling frustrated and demotivated at work.

Here are a few steps to help you stay motivated while building your career and making an impact in your personal life and the company’s goal at large.

  • Set SMART career goals: SMART goals bring about motivated employees because they energize behavior, give direction, provide a challenge, force you to think outside the box, and devise novel methods of performing.
  • Step out of your comfort zone: life is full of opportunities, but laying hold of them could be difficult if you do not step out of your comfort zone.  The phrase ‘comfort zone’ was coined by management thinker Judith Bardwick in her 1991 work Danger in the Comfort Zone:

“The comfort zone is a behavioral state within a person operates in an anxiety-neutral condition, using a limited set of behaviors to deliver a steady level of performance, usually without a sense of risk.”

While occupying the comfort zone, it is tempting to feel safe, in control, and that the environment is on an even keel. It is smooth sailing, leaving you with no single challenge or an experience to wake up to.

  • Build a growth mindset: A growth mindset makes you ready for challenges, and you are optimistic in the face of it. A growth mindset can never be overemphasized. You can read more on my last article

  • Be open to criticism: Take criticism as a learning opportunity that helps you become better, control your actions, and try not to take it personally.

Employer’s Role

It does not matter what type of business you are engaged in; employee motivation is important. For organizations to get the best out of their employees, they must invest and create strategies to boost and sustain the mental state of their staff from top to bottom.

No company, small or large, can win over the long run without energized employees who believe in the mission and understand how to achieve it. – Jack Welch

Here are a few steps to help employers keep employees motivated on the job.

Discover what motivates each employee: Money and material rewards do not always encourage an employee to work harder. Of course, they help, but not everyone is motivated in the same way. Some people feel their career path is more important than incentives. Managers, supervisors, and human resources must work together to find ways to bring out the best from their employees. E.g. conduct research to unlock the hidden treasure in their workers.

Work-life balance: If an organization can encourage a work-life balance system, the staff will not only be motivated to do their job, but they will also be loyal to the organization. The world is evolving greatly, employees are looking for companies that allow flexible work hours, remote work, or even shifts. Top companies like Amazon, and Google are adopting this strategy to get the best of their employees.

Have an Open-Door Policy: This is one of the best ways to motivate your staff, Open door policy must be a zone where staff and HR team or management share sensitive information without having the fear of being sacked or victimized. Organization should create a safe space for all staff to express how they are feeling either in their work or personal life. This will help build trust between the employees and management.

Create a Fun and friendly environment: Statistics show that 70% of employees who choose to see their workplace as fun are excited to come to work every day. Management or HR must create a fun environment for their staff to ease off stress. Game rooms could be considered, TGIF events, etc.

In conclusion, both employer and employee have roles to play in the concept of workplace motivation. Organizations should not ignore the importance of having motivated staff; this will not only reflect in employees’ attitudes to work but also their performance and quality of work. On the other hand, employees should take responsibility and invest in building their career goals and aspirations while aligning with the corporate goal of the business.

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