Even though all the studies on well-being at work show the correlation between work motivation, the overall well-being of the employee, and his performance, companies are still mostly reluctant to work on the levers of work motivation at work.
But how can we get there? What drives employees to lose interest and totally demotivate their work?
And then first of all what is work motivation at work? And how do we measure it concretely?
What is work motivation?
Before looking at the most important demotivation factors for employees, and the levers available to companies, directors, and managers to boost the work motivation of their employees, we will first ask ourselves what motivation at work is.
What does that mean, exactly?
Definition of work motivation
Motivation at work is a set of personal, economic, social, and environmental factors, leading employees to fully invest in carrying out their missions and reaching their objectives.
Being motivated is having a goal, making an effort to achieve it, and persevering until that goal is achieved.
We can thus see work motivation as the desire of an employee to invest in his work and the efforts that he puts in to achieve a result.
What is the difference between work motivation and involvement?
We have just seen what motivation at work is, but how is involvement different?
An employee’s involvement is his loyalty to the company, his attachment to the company, to what it represents, and his adherence to its values.
Like motivation, involvement is an important factor in effectiveness and efficiency.
Why it is important to maintain a high level of work motivation
The success of a business is not reduced to its bottom line. To last over time, the company and its managers must be able to mobilize and involve their teams over the long term, around the company’s project.
It is only through the work motivation of employees that a company can hope to prosper and achieve excellence and performance.
The benefits of work motivation at work
A motivated and involved employee will naturally tend to invest more in his work, to provide better quality work, to be more efficient on a daily basis in his missions.
Sounds pretty logical, doesn’t it?
If I drag my feet and balk at getting down to work, it will certainly take me longer to deliver a result, which will be of lower quality than with top work motivation.
The link between motivation and performance
However, some people can perform well and achieve their goals without being motivated.
Let me explain.
In the book “The Keys to Performance”, the authors define performance as giving the best of yourself to achieve a goal or achieve a project, and to exceed the level at which you were at the beginning.
They propose the following equation to define performance:
Performance = Skills * Motivation * Determination of objectives
Thus performance results from the combination of these three factors:
- The necessary skills (interpersonal skills and know-how)
- A clearly defined SMART objective
- The work motivation needed to invest in achieving this goal
But this allows us to see that even without top work motivation, if we have good skills corresponding to an objective, and that this has been correctly defined, we can still hope to achieve a certain level of performance.
However, we will never be as efficient as if we are motivated 😉
Demotivation has a cost for the company, but it is often a hidden cost. You must understand by this that since the figure does not appear anywhere, on any invoice, it is often ignored by organizations.
However, demotivation at work generates:
- A decrease in the efficiency of demotivated employees.
- A work atmosphere, either in the teams or in the organization, is tarnished.
- A higher turnover rate for the company, and therefore the costs of recruiting and training new employees.
- More frequent work stoppages and therefore potentially cost to replace these employees.
In view of these “slight” drawbacks, it seems wise to me to do everything to maintain the motivation of its employees, right?
How to measure motivation at work?
I’ll stop you right away: no, there is no tool to implement or no formula that will certainly allow you to measure the level of motivation at work of each employee.
However, there are a few things you can do to see what your employees’ state of mind is.
Measure satisfaction through a survey
You can ask your employees via a questionnaire or a survey on the satisfaction of their work.
But I warn you, do not expect exceptional results in terms of participation, especially if the questionnaire is not anonymous.
In addition, employees will find it difficult to untie their language in writing, because:
- The writing remains, it is a trace engraved in marble.
- Despite the statements that the questionnaire is anonymous, doubts will always be in place (in fact, an employee can be identified by means other than his name or his position, for example by sending a personalized link to each employee to go to the survey).
- There will always be a reluctance to say things in an official questionnaire, lest it backfires.
- Depending on the questions, the answers may be biased. Open questions should be preferred even if it turns out to be complicated to deal with them later.
- Finally, some will even tell you what you want to hear, despite the reality: that all is well in the best of all possible worlds.
Study the absenteeism rate
Another way is to study the rate of absenteeism (sick leave) in society.
A company that has an abnormally high rate of work stoppages necessarily reflects an ambient malaise in the company. And indirectly a certain demotivation.
If this is the case, I recommend that you analyze the nature of these shutdowns, analyze the most impacted services. And try to survey employees and managers to find out more.
Analyze the turnover rate
Just like work stoppages, analyzing the turnover rate in the company and in each department is a good indicator of the health of the company and of employee motivation.
I also advise you to survey each employee leaving the company to identify why they are separating from the organization.
The answers will not always be pleasant but will be invaluable in improving working conditions.
I still see few managers and organizations doing it. Most of the time an appointment is made to settle the purely HR issues of the end of the contract, we shake hands, we wish each other good life, and Chao good evening. But by doing so, we deprive ourselves of a valuable source of feedback.
Listen to your employees and talk to them
We often seek in companies to set up gas plants to respond to a particular problem: in this case, how to measure the motivation of its employees.
There is an effective trick, which does not consume much time and at almost no cost that is too often forgotten:
The power of listening.
Yes yes, you read me correctly: get out of your office, meet your teams, ask them questions about their work, their satisfaction, their motivation, the things they like and don’t like about all.
Listen to them, without cutting them off, without trying to counter-argument, without trying to justify or mitigate anything. By doing so, your employees will share their feelings with you.
As a reminder, a feeling is something deeply subjective and personal and is not necessarily a reflection of reality. However, the feelings should not be taken lightly since it is about what your employee feels. We do not all react to the same event in the same way and what may be seen as challenging by some will be seen as a source of stress for others.
Take the pulse of your team. This is the most effective way to know the motivation rate of your employees and to know where to act afterward.
And where it’s really magic is that just listening will improve their work motivation. Simple and efficient!
All you have to do is work on the levers of motivation.
Also published on Medium.