Recent figures from the Office of National Statistics show that UK productivity levels have fallen behind most other G7 countries. While this is muti-faceted challenge, employers can start to redress the balance by striving for happier and more motivated workforces.
Why is motivation important in the workplace?
Motivation, which Psychology Today defines as ‘the desire to act in service of a goal’, is one of the keys to employee performance and wellbeing.
By creating a motivated workforce, we can better engage people with our organisational ambitions. We can also give them a purpose that, in turn, will improve their sense that their life at work is a life worth living.
Organisations that don’t make the benefits of employee motivation a priority are at serious risk of not performing to their potential. Indeed, a survey of global workforces by Gallup recently found only 21% of employees engaged at work. Just a third thrive in their overall wellbeing.
Employers that do focus on improving workforce motivation, however, achieve much higher levels of performance. The most important benefits of having motivated employees include:
Better employee engagement
When employees have clear objectives and a desire to achieve they are more inclined feel engaged with their work, which in turn increases productivity. They also less likely to be absent from work or seek alternative opportunities. There is a clear link been employee retention and motivation.
A motivated workforce doesn’t just strive to achieve its objectives – it seeks out new ways of solving problems that drive efficiency and productivity. Motivated employees are also more likely to be team players and help colleagues to make sure the wider organisation achieves its goals
Improved quality of work
Motivated employees take pride in their work. They are ambitious. Psychology Today says that motivation is one of the keys of human behaviour, because it ‘fuels competition and sparks social connection’. Motivated employees want to be seen to be doing their best work by their peers and be recognised for it (peer-to-peer recognition).
Improved employee wellbeing
Studies have established the link between employees’ motivation and their wellbeing. In the wake of the pandemic and the cost of living crisis, establishing and strengthening that link is now more important than ever. Employees that feel happy in their work and motivated to perform well are less likely to suffer from depression or anxiety. As a consequence, they tend to more productive and efficient.
The benefits of employee motivation are clear both for employers and their people. In light of the UK’s current productivity crisis, finding every possible way to motivate employees and reward them for their efforts is a must.
How to incentivise your employees
When you create an employee motivation strategy, it should be based on a clear understanding of employee needs and an element responsiveness that will help you to improve your organisational culture.
Strategy is not everything though – you will also need to choose from a suite of tactical measures that will help you work out how to incentivise employees and make your strategy stick. This means creating an employee incentive programme that will help you to:
- Attract talent
- Retain talent
- Improve employee motivation
- Create positive organisational culture
In the current climate what employers offer to achieve these goals is evolving, driven by a range of factors that include the cost of living crisis, carbon net zero targets and the need to increase employee motivation to drive productivity
Here’s a rundown of some of the best and most popular ways to incentivise employees:
Employee savings and discount schemes
With the cost of living biting hard and many employers unable to offer significant pay rises – organisations are choosing to incentivise employees with schemes that offer discounts at hundreds of retailers and hospitality outlets. While such schemes are no substitute for a pay rise – they do demonstrate that employers and doing what they can and have their employees best interests at heart.
To drive employee motivation, employers provide recognition and reward platforms that empower managers and colleagues to provide thanks for good work and key career milestones. The rewards that employers provide via these schemes range from financial rewards to gifts – must often in the form eGift cards that employees can redeem at their own convenience
To tackle mental and physical issues and boost productivity, employers are also increasingly incentivising employees providing wellbeing benefits that include gym memberships, health screenings, dental insurance and the ability to buy and sell annual leave.