Motivating Employees in the Workplace | DCR Workforce Blog

Motivating Employees in the Workplace

I was looking at a some ecard that had a picture of a man leaning back in his chair with a mug in his hand. He is smiling straight ahead at the reader and the line above him reads, “I’ve stopped even pretending to do anything around here”. It made me laugh a little but it also made me wonder…how does someone get to a place of such laziness and lack of motivation? Maybe it’s the absence of new challenges, doing work that you don’t like or the monotony of the day-to-day routine that just wears people down.

So the bigger question is what makes employees more motivated? The answer might be a bit surprising because it’s not the traditional answer of higher compensation or better benefits. According to the Harvard Business Review’s study of employee motivation released in January 2016, the two highest factors that influence employee motivation are organizational culture and having a well-designed role.

Creating a custom-made organizational culture

It comes as no surprise that organizational culture has such a large influence on an employee’s motivation and happiness at work. Since workers spend so much time in their office, it’s only natural that it becomes like a second home. So how would an organization create a positive and productive culture? The answer lies in what the owners’ values are and finding people who share these values.

For owners who might have trouble pinpointing their values, two good questions to ask are “What’s the purpose of this company?” and “How can my company come up with new innovations?”

After determining the answer to some of these questions, organizations need to find people that believe in these values and let go of the people that don’t so they’re better able to become stronger and more unified. It may be tough to let go of certain workers but keeping them is actually more harmful to your organization in the long run.

An important note to remember is that caring for people is always a good investment. You have to be mindful to create a work environment that promotes kindness. You need to try your best to alleviate stress by taking care of one another and making sure people feel valued.

Elements of a well-designed role

Along with a united organizational culture, a motivated employee needs a job that is tailor made to fit their skills. Companies must be able to know how to draw upon an employee’s unique strengths by assigning the right tasks and workload.

According to the University of Cambridge, the elements of a well-designed role are:

  • Variety – Employees need to be challenged to avoid becoming bored with their responsibilities. Any new task should be important and a good fit to their current position.
  • Responsibility – An employee’s duties should be well defined so they know what tasks they’re answerable for and how it corresponds to an organization’s objectives.
  • Autonomy – Employees need to have the authority to make certain decisions independently. Yet this authority must be within the limits of their own job.
  • Task identity – Employees feel more fulfilled when doing work that has a beginning and an end.
  • Feedback – Information on how an employee is performing is essential in the progression of their skills. However, feedback should be constructive and helpful. Employees need an accurate guide as to where they are currently and how they can improve their performance at work.
  • Participation in decision making – Employees should be more involved in making decisions about work that is directly related to them. Providing employees with opportunities to share and implement their ideas creates a strong feeling of self-worth and comradery.
  • Recognition and support – Employees want to be recognized and praised for performing well at work. A key part in an employee’s success is to make sure their roles and their co-worker’s roles have set boundaries. This helps eliminate confusion and possible conflict and assists in forming a supportive work place.
  • Work environment – An employee’s work environment must be free of prejudice, harassment and any safety or health concerns. People need to be friendly and civil with each other.

This list of elements creates a good outline of what to consider when constructing a well-designed role. Yet, employees need to assist employers by trying to determine their own strengths so employers can place them in an ideal role.

As technology makes it easier for people to connect with each other and complete more work, our interaction with our co-workers and employers has significantly increased. Therefore, it becomes even more important to create an organization with like-minded, supportive and productive employees and well-designed roles for employees to excel in.

After all, a happy employee is a productive employee! What does your organization do to motivate you?

The content on this blog is for informational purposes only and cannot be construed as specific legal advice or as a substitute for competent legal advice. They reflect the opinions of DCR Workforce and may not reflect the opinions of any individual attorney. Do contact an attorney for advice specific to your issue or problem.
Lalita is a people/project manager with extensive experience in operations, HCM and training and development across industries like banking, education, business consulting, BPO and information technology. She believes in a dynamic approach to life and learning as change is the only constant.