4 Elements that Drive Employee Motivation & Improve Retention

  • “Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients in turn.”
  • “Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.”

These are two quotes from a person who owns more than 400 companies and manages 50,000 plus employees. If Richard Branson is saying something, it is definitely backed up by experience. In an article 6 companies that are doing employee engagement right, Virgin holds the sixth spot and we learn that at Virgin, listening is one of the key traits of the company. The employees are valued, their opinions matter, and they’re appreciated beyond measure. As a result, content employees work with more passion and dedication for their projects.

Employee motivation is something highly neglected by modern day businesses. Companies aim to maximize sales by keeping their customers content. But, what about keeping their employees happy?  Where does that fit in?

Why is Employee motivation Absolutely Indispensable?

First, there is a lack of challenging work. When employees are not given a chance to reveal their full potential, their motivation levels plummet to the ground, and they start indulging in aimless activities to while away the time. Give your employees an opportunity to move away from their comfort zones.

“Too many work hours” is also a reason behind withdrawal from work. In a study conducted by a British Journal, it was revealed that people who work more than 55 hours a week have a 30% higher risk of stroke than those working 35 to 40 hours every week.

In the late 18th century, working 10-16 hours a day was considered productive. At that time, factories needed workers who could work round the clock, without resting. However, activist Robert Owen felt otherwise and recommended shorter working hours. In 1817, this gave birth to the slogan “Eight hours labor, eight hours recreation, eight hours rest.” A modern time study concluded that employees don’t really work 8 hours; In fact, an average employee is only productive for around 2 hours and 53 minutes.

What do the employees do for the rest of the hours?

  • Peruse the internet
  • Attend or call-up aimless meetings.
  • Do job hunting.
  • Shop online for gadgets they like.
  • Talk on the phone.
  • Be a part of gossips and distract others by doing the same.
  • Taking naps at work. (In fact naps in the afternoon are fruitful.)

Does the age-old adage ‘You sow what you put in’ ring a bell? But what if even after working for so many hours, you get to know that all your hard work went down the drain at the end of a seemingly taxing day. There was evidently no reason for all the hard work, was there? Why? Because your work is never recognized by the upper management. A Gallup survey revealed that only 1 in 3 employees consider themselves commended within a week ensuring a big achievement.

The only employees who are fully satisfied with their company, well, actually they don’t exist at all. In a report concluded by Mind the workplace released in the year 2017, a survey was conducted on 17,000 employees working across 19 various industries. 71% of them claimed that they’re disgruntled with their current jobs and looking to switch. The reason for running the gamut from low-pay scale, inflexible working hours, unstable workplace environments, energy-draining atmosphere, and no chances for personal growth.

Here are 4 elements of employee motivation that drive employee engagement:

  1. Internal: Help your employees develop their character by nurturing them from within; both on a personal and professional level. Invest in them. Assign them tasks which challenge their minds and help them grow. Empower them by allowing them a voice in important company decisions. Ask them for suggestions, ways in which the organization can improve. Discuss their reviews. Start with praise, the strong points, before addressing their weaknesses and drawbacks. Solve their problems with them and help them feel supported.

2) External: Give your employees a choice to work remotely from home at times. Make your office environment stress-free. This will allow them to work with dedication and help them preserve some of their brain energy for the task at hand and offer valuable rewards and perks for works done well. A study performed by ResearchGate concluded that external factors such as promotions, job satisfaction, and lack of attention are the highest forms of motivators or demotivators for modern-day employees. Develop strict rules on communication, so that employees don’t fall into the trap of gossips and unhealthy discussions which don’t benefit the overall goal of the company.

3) Personal: Employees are more than flesh & blood. They are humans. And they have feelings. Get to know your employees, their motivations, and their problems, and help them resolve their issues. Train your managers to become better communicators. Often times, employees are not able to convey their apprehensions and problems due to the rigidness of their character. Managers should act like parents and help employees achieve their personal and professional goals without giving them a hard time.

4) Peer: Instead of creating an environment of rivalry, try to ask people to work generously and collaborate as a team. Office politics is often one factor which drains all energy from an employee and cloys them to work in a state of flightiness. The best way to deal with office politics is to train employees to get better at networking with other people. The more contacts an employee has, the easier it will be for them to deal with the nuisance of office politics.

The final saying

A study conducted by BambooHR revealed some astonishing discoveries. Nearly 31% of employees leave their jobs during the first six months. This number runs higher for companies that pose stringent employee policies. Policies are good so long as they help a company maintain a sustainable culture and keep all employees motivated and engaged. If the company culture is tedious and monotonous and doesn’t allow many opportunities for growth, outstanding employees will consider switching.

The elements mentioned above can help managers and business owners keep all employees engaged and motivated.