Motivation is a word that is thrown around a lot. Everyone wants to feel motivated to accomplish something, but not everyone is clear on this concept. What is motivation? How is it measured? And how do get someone to be motivated? These are questions that can further explore the workplace especially when it comes to employees.
As we break down everything there is to know about motivation, we will answer these questions, provide methods to assess employee motivation, and even share ways in which motivation can be increased.
What is motivation?
Motivation begets engagement. Motivation is not just the desire to do something, it is the energy that drives us to take actions and make those desires a reality. Anyone who has ever procrastinated knows that desire to get a task done is not enough. We can only say we are motivated to do something when we get out of our comfort zone and make good on completing the task in question, whether it be making that call, sending the business proposal, or writing the next chapter of that book.
At the base of it all, motivation is a purely psychological process and has several driving factors including success, money, making someone else happy, recognition and so on.
How do we asses motivation?
One of the most basic and effective ways of assessing motivation is plain and simple observation. Team leaders can be tasked with observing certain behaviours within their teams which can clue you in on their motivation levels. Here are a few behaviours that should be observed:
Punctuality: Is a team member on time for work or consistently late?
Attendance: How often does an employee skip work?
Mood: Is a team member cheerful and happy to be in the office or do they appear to be in a bad mood on most days?
Enthusiasm: Do employees get excited about new projects, do they pitch in to take up more responsibility, and do they show a desire to learn and improve?
Productivity: Is an employee meeting deadlines or missing them often? Is he/her delivering on the expected results, or too far off the mark?
As you would have gathered, employees who are cheerful in the workplace and have good track records are the ones who are motivated. Another way motivation can be measured is by creating an employee survey. Questions that can be asked include:
- Do you enjoy your job?
- What do you like about your job?
- Do you find the work you do enriching and rewarding?
- What do you not like about your job?
- Is there anything that you would like to change about your job?
While an anonymous survey would encourage employees to be more honest with their answers, it does hamper the next step. To be able to motivate your employees you need to know who is having a problem and what that problem is. Also, it would help if the organisation stresses that no one will lose their job based on their answers.
How can we motivate employees?
The real questions here are, what motivates your employees and what demotivates them? Once you have the answers it becomes a lot easier to create an atmosphere in the workplace that encourages employees to give their best.
Be a part of something bigger: Right at the onset it is important to hire candidates whose values align with that of the organisation. When employees feel like they are making a difference in the world, their motivation increases.
Have one on one sessions: Whether you have done a survey or not, you can still have one on one sessions with employees, asking what motivates and demotivates them. Accordingly, you can build more on what inspires them.
Acknowledging wins: Rewarding the accomplishments of your employees, no matter how small, will motivate them to keep winning and succeed at more challenging tasks.
Allocate work according to capabilities: Many employees are demotivated because their abilities are undervalued. On the other end of the spectrum, employees lose interest in work because they have been given too many responsibilities and feel overwhelmed. The sweet spot is to give an employee tasks that are just a little above their comfort zone. In this way they don’t feel overburdened, and at the same time are encouraged to grow.
An organisation is only as good as its employees, and when employees are motivated, they have a good work experience by delivering better on productivity. Motivation varies from one individual to another. Everybody can be motivated; you just need to know what makes them tick.