To try and explain why motivation is important in every journey, be it personal or professional, is a bit like trying to reinvent the wheel. It can’t be done. Motivation is such an intrinsic human characteristic that its presence is axiomatic. Motivation is the main driver of all human actions. In healthy amounts, it makes the difference between success or failure. We specified “healthy” amounts because, as the saying goes, too much of a good thing is a bad thing. Any of the extremes can be harmful – being over-motivated and lacking discipline can lead to a waste of resources, human or otherwise; being under-motivated can lead to failure or serious deficiencies.
The core of any method that aims to create motivation among employees should be understanding how they work, not just as active participants in your company’s life, but as individuals in their personal one. Identifying their inclinations, their ambitions, their mental configuration, will help you design your motivation-building methods. Simply put, learn what makes them tick and then… make them tick. It’s normal to always have the firm’s objectives in sight, but it is just as commendable to weave your employees’ mental fabric in the company’s structure.
Furthermore, as the saying goes, “if there’s a will, there’s a way”. What is left to do in order to spark that will is find out the needs and wants of those who are to assert it. What do they need in their life, be it personal or work-related, that will give them that impulse for achieving great results? What will fuel their ambition so that they will put in the effort and create something wonderful, both for them and for the company? Once you outline that, the rest of the pieces should fall into place.
2.1. 3 tips on choosing your techniques
To begin with, in general, people are scared of failure. And most often than not, it’s what’s keeping them from trying or persevering in various endeavours. To persuade people to set a certain goal and strive to reach it, you should get rid of as much as that anxiety as possible. This translates into enabling your employees to feel free to take risks without fear of consequence. And teaching them how to spot the learning occasions in every failure. In the words of Samuel Beckett: “Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”.
Secondly, whatever method of motivating your employees you choose, sprinkle it with personal development opportunities. It’s way more enticing for employees to reach for company goals if they can get something for themselves along the way as well. Plus, all that personal growth and skill acquiring will build well-trained, competent employees, whose high-quality work will benefit the business. Win-win.
We saved the best for last. Thirdly, it is of utmost importance to always recognize the accomplished results, be them huge successes or small achievements. Ensuring that your employees’ efforts are acknowledged constantly is a great way to further boost their involvement in the activities at hand. After all, who doesn’t like feeling appreciated for their hard work?
Extra tip. As often as possible, choose techniques that involve everyone, making goal setting and achieving a group effort. It fosters a better work relationship and can even kindle friendships.
2.2. Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic
When devising or choosing the routes towards motivation that will be taken inside your company, remember that each of them must have a destination. In this regard, keep in mind that that the nature of the rewards can be either intrinsic or extrinsic. In other words, what people are after can be either a sense of accomplishment (intrinsic), or a material reward, such as a bonus or a higher paycheck (extrinsic). For a genuine boost in employee motivation, it’s mandatory to cover both of these bases.
2.3. One size does not fit all
Remember that what worked on someone might not be at all fit for another. Always try to pinpoint exactly what the factor that is causing the lack of motivation is. For some, it might be the fact that they’re stuck in a routine. Doing the same things every day, over and over again, can greatly influence a person’s willingness to develop or contribute something valuable.
For others, not having a well-defined role inside the company can be confusing, and downright discouraging. Constantly being in limbo regarding one’s place, responsibility, rights or authority within a firm, can cause such distress that it ultimately leads to animosity and a complete loss of motivation.
Last, but not least, some just need an occasional nudge in the right direction, a shift in their perspective. Sometimes, looking at a problem with fresh eyes is the best approach in trying to solve it. What seemed like a total bore or a waste of time in the beginning can turn out to be challenging or fulfilling. It’s just a matter of how you look at it.
Whatever it is, dealing with employees lacking motivation should start with correctly identifying what is causing it. If that is done properly, then the solution should fit like a glove.
Keeping that perfect harmony between company and employee needs can be rather tricky sometimes. It takes great skill to not upset the balance between attending to the company’s requirements and catering to the employees’ developmental needs. This is why, when you have finally found the winning formula (or part of it, at least), it’s important to remember to share it with the others. Give a man a boost in motivation and he’ll put his best efforts in for the day, teach a man how to spark motivation in himself and in others, and you’ve got yourself a loyal partner for a lifetime.