What Affects Employee Motivation the Most?

Ian Edwards
November 6, 2020

It’s safe to say if no one’s motivated to do the work, nothing’s going to get done.

Motivation isn’t limited to the workplace; it drives nearly everything people do. Survival needs like food, shelter, and clothing motivate people to get a job. Good health motivates people to exercise and eat right. It’s an incredibly powerful force that’s also behind every business goal put into action. 

How to motivate a large group of people has always been a challenge for organizational leadership. While there’s no one method to achieve employee motivation, it can mean the difference between an exceptional workforce and a floundering one. Let’s take a look at the relationship between leadership and motivation and explore ways you can begin to build motivation in your employees.

What are the Factors that Motivate Employees?

Every person’s unique and what motivates one employee to do their best isn’t exactly what motivates another. Apart from salary (which is a short term motivator), there are some common motivation factors that underlie most employee motivation.

Non-financial incentives

Non financial incentives that acknowledge performance and recognize achievement are great motivators. On a wide scale, they create a positive work environment; on a more personal level, they increase morale. From a simple “thank you” to flexible working arrangements and public appreciation of a job well done, non-monetary rewards are a quick and cost-effective way to boost employee motivation.

Good working relationships 

Good working relationships with colleagues can significantly improve an employee’s mood, outlook, and work satisfaction. The human need to belong to a community is a significant driver in building loyal teams who help organizations achieve their goals. Motivation activities like brainstorming sessions, social events, and gamification allow employees to get to know and appreciate each other and drive their desire to work as a team.

Strong leadership 

Strong leadership considers transparency, group dynamics, and reward to motivate employees to do their best. When an employee feels they can trust leadership to deliver what’s best for them, they’re much more motivated to do outstanding work. Because the workplace is constantly shifting and evolving, leadership must find engaging ways to inspire maximum performance from their teams. 

When surveyed, 97 percent of employees age 45 and over said gamified activities improved their quality of work.

Clear company culture

Employees naturally align their goals with those of the organization they work for. A strong and clear mission statement gives employees an understanding of what they need to do to succeed. The main elements of company culture are the work environment, the company’s mission, value, and ethics, and its expectations. Each business creates a unique program, but at the heart of all cultures should be the goal of ensuring employees have a satisfying, enjoyable, and productive work environment.

Opportunities for personal growth

The vast majority of employees want to do a good job and realize their full potential. Personal and professional development opportunities are a major factor in employees remaining with their organization. From mentorships to on-job training, if you want to motivate employees to do their best, offering them ways to achieve personal success is a great way to do it.

A work-life balance 

A work life balance that acknowledges and supports both an employee’s personal life and their desire to perform meaningful work can be extremely helpful in boosting motivation. It builds trust and loyalty and encourages employees to make a positive impact in the world. It also makes them feel more connected to the organization’s vision, mission, and values, which gives them a stronger sense of purpose.

What Factors Make Motivating Employees Difficult?  

Employee motivation is no easy feat for any manager or organization. But since it’s one of the most important paths to reaching organizational goals, leaders must do a better job inspiring and motivating employees to stay engaged. Why? Because increased revenues don’t happen before a lot of other things do:

  • Engaged employees pay better attention to work processes, consider company strategies while they work, and are willing to go the extra mile to complete tasks.
  • An engaged workforce leads to increased customer loyalty and satisfaction through a better work environment and higher quality products and services.

What are the top factors affecting motivation that today’s managers face?

A Constantly Changing Workforce

Even organizations with excellent engagement programs and employee engagement activities used to promote motivation in the workplace can’t keep the same employees forever. People come and go, and as new employees come onboard they bring with them their own employee motivation needs. Keeping up with these changes is challenging. It takes creativity and a motivated leadership to design employee engagement activities and programs that appeal to the workforce at large while meeting individual needs and preferences.

Ninety percent of employees say they feel more productive when using gamification and nearly 70 percent of them say they’d remain at an organization for three years or more if it uses gamified activities. Organizations that use gamification in training see an increase in productivity in sixty percent of employees.

Misinterpreting Employee Motivation

Many managers design their employee motivation strategies around what they presume should work as motivators based on the current activities of employees. But if the existing company culture is not set up to increase employee engagement, these assumptions will not work. One of the best ways to find out what will make your employees feel motivated is to ask them. Surveys, one-on-one conversations, and roundtable discussions can all go a long way in discovering how a lack of motivation can be addressed.

Economic and Other Anxieties

A certain level of occasional stress on the job is to be expected, but a constant level of anxiety and fear can be demoralizing. Today, it’s the COVID-19 pandemic having an impact. Strong emotions can be triggered by worries about whether their job or even their company will still exist tomorrow. Increased stress from working remotely can lead to burnout. To help employees cope with these emotions, organizations must find ways to recognize what stress looks like and then work with employees to build resilience and manage job stress. Open communications, organizing frequent meetings, and using gamification to build collaboration and make connections can increase both happiness and productivity.

How Do You Increase Employee Motivation?

There’s no doubt “motivating employees” is easier said than done. Each employee has their unique motivational drivers but a little trial and error in employee motivation techniques can produce meaningful change and growth. Things like autonomy, flexibility, and giving individuals room to grow are powerful motivators most employees respond to.

As mentioned earlier, gamification is a motivator nearly all employees enjoy. At this year’s CII Global Knowledge Virtual Summit, one of the key takeaways was just how vital a role gamification can play in employee motivation and satisfaction. The gamification panel of experts discussed how using game elements in non-game contexts is increasingly being adopted in the workplace.

By using elements like points, challenge levels, rules, and badges, organizations can increase employee productivity, sales volumes, and customer satisfaction. Successfully designed gamification campaigns, the experts say, deliver an appreciable return on investment for the companies that use them. Why does it work so well? Humans are hardwired for play and that’s a concept that crosses all cultures, generations, and education levels.

Gamification has been found to enhance employee engagement and is seen as a valuable tool for spotting talent. What some panelists referred to as a “weapon of mass adoption,” gamification is seen as a way to enact deep transformational behavioral changes that are tangible and sustainable. The perfect blend of art and science, gamification promotes accomplishment, a sense of meaning, and job satisfaction.

Personal analytics drawn from the apps can be used to encourage employee behaviors in desired directions for permanent change. The software can also be used to promote and reward things like knowledge-sharing behaviors. Important points to keep in mind when adopting gamification into any employee motivation strategy include:

  • Not using gamification for manipulation of employees.
  • Avoiding “gamification saturation.”
  • Staying away from games that have a “winner takes all” mentality that could lower morale.
  • Keeping rewards proportionate to the effort.

The panel also pointed out that, surprisingly, gamification works well even if there are no tangible rewards offered. That’s because people receive deep satisfaction from achieving the goals and reaching the “finish line.”

How To Motivate Employees Who are Working from Home

COVID-19 has revolutionized the workforce, with more people than ever before working from home. Incentivizing remote employees takes equal measures of engagement and motivation. Though many employees say they like working from home, at least occasionally, remote work is not something most instinctively adapt to. It isn’t always easy and can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness.

These are a few of the techniques organizations are employing to make motivating employees who work from home effective.

  • Clearly communicating expectations.
  • Setting work parameters and providing consistent guidance.
  • Using surveys to gauge morale.
  • Publicly acknowledging employees for a job well done.

About BeeLiked

Organizations that take the time to build morale, boost engagement, and champion innovative thinking can set themselves up for present and future success. 

Integrating responsive, personalised and online gamified incentives such as BeeLiked’s Spin the Wheel, Cryptic Image Quiz, and Multi-Media Contests are great ways to increase employee engagement and help remote employees feel more connected. 

To learn more about how our customizable gamification solutions will empower your employees while recognizing them for the qualities, behaviors, and values you want to see in the workplace, get in touch with us today to set up a no-obligation discovery call.

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