In today’s constantly changing and competitive environment, it is vitally important to organisations that their employees are motivated to work hard and use their talents and abilities to make the best contribution they can to the work of the organisation.
Passive or disengaged employees are likely to do the minimum they feel is acceptable and unlikely to give employers the benefit of any discretionary efforts. They may even become toxic, acting as a negative influence on others and damaging constructive working relationships. Ultimately, failure to pay attention to levels of motivation and engagement will result in a loss of competitiveness and profits.
Maintaining motivation is particularly important and challenging during times of rapid change and uncertainty. At such times morale can sink dramatically due to the insecurity that change can bring, particularly at times of organisational restructuring or downsizing. In addition, it may be difficult to stimulate the motivation of employees if they are on short term temporary contracts. In spite of the many theories and practical examples available to draw on, motivation is still often viewed as a difficult matter to handle.
Financial rewards have often been perceived as a generic cure for low levels of motivation, but this fails to take account of the fact that different people are motivated by different things, in different ways and at different stages of their careers. Monetary rewards can work very well for tasks that are routine and measurable, but are less successful when creativity and the ability to ‘think outside the box’ are required. Indeed, at times this approach can even be counter-productive.
Motivation can be defined as an individual’s will or desire to initiate action and sustain effort. Motivation is dependent on the existence of a ‘motive’ - a reason to do something. Motivation can be seen as ‘intrinsic’ where the reason for action comes from within the individual, for example from their personal values or beliefs, or ‘extrinsic’ where it arises from external factors such as rules to be obeyed or rewards to be earned.
Motivation is sometimes also sometimes defined as the process of creating incentives and contexts that prompt individuals to action. In a workplace context, this would involve employers giving employees incentives to perform their work to the best of their ability.
Tips and Best Practices for Motivating Your Team
- Find out about motivational theory and practice
- Be aware of the importance of your role as a manager
- Think about what motivates you and others
- Find out what people want most from their jobs
- Decide on actions to improve motivation
- Demonstrate support
- Express thanks and appreciation
- Provide developmental feedback
- Remove de-motivators
- Manage change with care
For detailed explanation of each step and to find out more about motivating your team, view the guide below.
Download the guide