Employee motivation is a crucial aspect of any working organisation. When looked after it can lead to increased productivity, better company performance and higher retention levels, if ignored on the other hand it can lead to a toxic and negative work culture, cause work activity to decline and even see your best employees walking out of the door. If employee motivation is already a priority in your company and you regularly conduct engagement surveys, then you are already ahead of the pack! If this isn’t true for you however don’t panic, there is always time to turn this around and make changes to tackle any issues that are killing employee motivation in your company! We’ve picked out ten of the biggest issues you might need to target.

10 employee motivation killers:

Unrealistic targets / workloads

If you give your employees targets that are impossible to hit or expect them to be able to manage the workload of more than one person alone it is going to land you in trouble. This is a fast track to making employees feel stressed, burnt-out and dissatisfied in their job! Targets can be a fantastic way to encourage and motivate employees, especially when there is a potential reward attached, but if you set the bar too high you run the risk of employees not bothering to try or feeling annoyed when they miss out. Take a look at your current employees and if necessary, look at reviewing targets and even making necessary hires to share unrealistic workloads.

Management not leading by example

There will always be a difference between employees and senior management, but one of the worst employee motivation killers is when management are deemed to “get away” with behaviour that their employees aren’t. For example, if you have a strict policy of marking employees down as late no matter what the circumstances, then allowing managers to waltz in 30 minutes late with no consequences can start to annoy your employees. Basically you want your management to set a strong example to employees and not exploit their position in a way that it would disgruntle others.

Lack of trust affecting employee motivation

Employees being able to trust their managers / employers is a huge driver for employee motivation. According to research, high-trust organisations return three times the total return to shareholders than organisations with low trust, which is probably because a culture of trust creates more job satisfaction and therefore impacts on productivity and job performance too. If you want to increase trust between your company and your employees we suggest allowing for more open lines of communication, regular employee feedback and keeping employees up to date with what is happening with the business.

Not feeding back to your employees

In a lot of organisations employees will fulfil their job responsibilities and designated workload without any real feedback from the company / management. If an employee is under-performing then sure they will be pulled up and even disciplined to force improvement, but often the employees that get the job done (albeit not by doing anything phenomenally special) don’t hear a peep from their managers! Sometimes a little bit of acknowledgment / encouragement can work wonders for getting employees motivated, and it can be as little as a “thank you” or a “well done”!

Lack of progression hindering employee motivation

Employee motivation doesn’t just refer to the here and now, but also how motivated they feel for their future career with you too. If an employee feels like they have hit the ceiling with opportunities in your company (e.g. only way to progress is if their manager leaves, or historically your company has not paid salaries above what the employee is currently earning) then it can cause employees to either coast along in their current role or look outside of your organisation for a new role. Progression opportunities can be anything from increasing an employee’s responsibilities, job title and benefits package, so if you have the capacity to offer employees a route to progression inside your organisation then be clear about what this is as it can help to motivate your employees.

Not challenging their skills

Whether you are looking at your entry level customer service employees or senior software developers there is one common occurrence that can affect employee motivation: failing to challenge them in their job role. Without some level of challenge, employees can begin to coast along and disengage from their job, meaning they aren’t really motivated to push themselves harder as they have no need to. Regular employee reviews will help you keep on top of how challenged your employees feel, and if you do pinpoint employees that could do with more of a push then why not look at ways to improve this? You could give them the opportunity to develop skills through training and accreditations, give them a project outside of their usual remit or even set them a goal or reward-based target!

Monotonous work

Worse than having a lack of challenge within an employee’s job role is probably when the job in question is so monotonous and boring that all the excitement for work has disappeared. Of course some job roles are deemed to be more exciting than others, but with most positions there will be a way to mix up the day-to-day so that employees don’t feel stagnant in their role.

Lack of flexibility

The standard 9-5 workday is slowly becoming a thing of the past as more companies move towards offering flexible working options for their employees. This can be anything from choosing their own start / finish time, working more hours a day for an extra day off a week, job sharing and even working from home. A flexible approach to work has a positive impact on your employees’ work-life balance, which regularly scores top of “the most desired company benefit” in employee surveys.

Unnecessary rules and policies

Company rules are essential to maintain process and order within a company, but in many companies, there are certain rules / policies that are a little over the top and unnecessary. It could be an overly strict dress code, not allowing employees to check their personal phones whatsoever, banning use of social media in the office (even on breaks), penalties for being a minute back from your lunch break… you get the picture! You want to allow some freedom within the workplace!

No team bonding or workplace fun

All work and no play is a recipe for poor employee motivation! Working for an organisation should be about more than just clocking in and out of the office and completing your daily tasks, it’s about belonging and embedding yourself into the company’s culture. Getting on with the people you work with can increase job satisfaction, so regular team building, and social events can really help to improve this. Fun rewards can be a big motivator for your employees, it can be as simple as a free beer on a Friday even!

So there you have it, 10 things that could be killing employee motivation at your company right now! If you are concerned about yours then an employee engagement survey could help you understand how to improve – get in touch to find out about the options at JobHoller at 01244 567 967 / info@jobholler.com.

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