Talent Series: The Role of Motivation at Work

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Developers Motivation at the office Talent Series

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This is part 1 of our Talent series. In it, we focus on this essential resource for all modern businesses and take a look at it from various perspectives. The goal? To better understand talent and how it affects the workplace, how we can foster it, and how we can make the most of it.

Anyone who has ever worked steadily in any position knows about the elusive nature of motivation. There are days in which you feel like an unstoppable force, writing off items of your to-do list with a mixture of excitement and creative drive. But there are also those other days, in which we feel distracted, overwhelmed, or frustrated. 

We could just settle for the idea that motivation is a personal trait that will come and go from time to time. But doing so would be plain wrong. Though motivation is intrinsically individual, leaving it to each person’s whims and mood swings is irresponsible, to say the least. It’s true that fluctuations will exist here and there – but companies can make sure that they are doing their best, strategically speaking, to keep motivation up.

In fact, the single most important thing businesses have to keep in mind when talking about motivation is that it takes a companywide effort to keep the workforce engaged and motivated. Failing to do so most surely will hit productivity and increase employee turnover – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg! 

There are many reasons why motivation is something all business owners and leaders should be worried about. Here are some of them.

 

The Many Benefits of Employee Motivation

Businesses shouldn’t invest in motivation efforts out of fear of productivity woes. Instead, they should see motivation for what it truly is – a powerful factor in bringing out the best of all employees. It can drive and excite employees to a point where the work environment starts to flourish and feel more positive. Ultimately, it helps in engaging employees and making them feel they belong to their particular companies, increasing their commitment.

 

Here are some motivation benefits to keep in mind:

  • Improved Efficiency: providing the right environment for employees to thrive can have a dramatic impact on business profits. Businesses that engage with their employees on a deeper level can see a 21% increase in their profits.
    In other words, providing the workforce with the right tools to do their job as well as showing support and rewarding them throughout their tasks can lead to significant productivity gains. This is a result of less absenteeism and turnover, simply because employees feel respected and valued and show more passion and energy for their daily tasks.
  • Increased Talent Retention: a company that motivates its employees is investing in a satisfied workforce that will feel more engaged with the business, their tasks, and their potential outcomes. A report found out that 89% of workers at companies with well-being initiatives are more likely to recommend them as good places to work. This shows that the businesses’ investment in instilling a positive climate in their organizations can go a long way.
    That’s further confirmed by the fact that a whopping 93% of employees see empathy as crucial for talent retention. When business owners show empathy and understanding for their employees’ needs, the satisfaction with the place of work increases.
  • Ongoing Employee/Company Development: motivated workers don’t settle for what they have. Though they might feel satisfied and productive, they adopt a positive attitude that leads them to further development. That’s why employees expect businesses to invest in their development.
    Per a recent survey, 87% of the workforce expects employers to support them in balancing work and personal life. Rewards and flexible schedules are some of the measures that can provide such a sense of balance. This leads to more employees reaching for their goals and investing in their development which, in turn, brings further development for the company as a whole (since people can bring new skills and talents to the table).

 

How to Keep Employees Motivated

All of those numbers feel pretty appealing, don’t they? Of course, everyone would want employees to feel satisfied with their jobs, thus enjoying increased productivity and efficiency. However, that’s easier said than done. There are a number of things that businesses can do to motivate their employees but let’s focus on actionable tips rather than in grand abstract declarations that won’t lead to anything. 

 

Provide Clear and Regular Feedback

Adopting feedback as a regular practice throughout your company is one of the easiest ways to increase motivation. That’s because feedback opens a two-way communication channel in which employees feel seen and heard. That implies two things. First, any feedback instance allows you to provide clear expectations about what you want from your employees, as well as give you the possibility to share goals and strategic roadmaps.

Second, feedback instances can also provide employees with an opportunity to share their opinions and suggestions about their tasks. This is a crucial part of any feedback cycle, as employees that feel heard are 4.6 times more likely to perform at their peak. That’s why feedback is best if you conduct it in person and, if possible, on a personal level. 

Of course, implementing feedback will vary depending on your company’s size and activities. But feedback is an unavoidable part of a successful company, so you have to implement it in any way you can. You can do so with weekly meetings, ask managers to do them on a regular basis, or make them fit in any way you want.

 

Create a Positive Workplace Environment

Feedback isn’t nearly enough to motivate employees in their daily activities. You also have to take into account the place where they work and how it impacts them. This can cover a lot of things, from the most mundane to some big ones. For instance, you can create livelier offices with plants and make them less structured with video games. But you can also give your employees the day off in their birthdays or adapt a flexible schedule. 

Introducing some of these things might force you to take a new look at your company’s culture. Maybe you’ll have to redefine who you are in certain aspects to create that environment. Given that the younger generations (with millennials at the top) highly value certain perks, adopting a more flexible stance towards them can serve you to attract and retain talent as well as motivate it. 

Be sure that you understand what “perks” means. It’s more than just throwing a coffee machine in the break room: it implies other things that your employees might value. For instance, younger generations value team diversity and brand responsibility, especially when it comes to the commitment to the environment. You can create a positive atmosphere by showing that your company is committed to the very same values of your employees.

There’s a special challenge awaiting for companies that rely mostly on remote work when creating a positive environment. In those contexts, brands should double their efforts to offer perks that align with the workforce that’s working from home, from embracing bigger values to provide benefits (from giving them the equipment needed to work to flexible hours). 

 

Build a Training and Development Program

Investing in your employees’ development is probably the best way to show you care about them. That’s because you’d be walking the walk rather than talking the talk. Thus, you should offer training on company-related aspects and tailor the training to each specific employee, depending on their job.

Thus, you can create programs that are specific to the different areas within your companies. You can even further personalize the training sessions depending on the career paths you devise for each individual employee. Lastly, you can also push for instances where training is closer to your organization’s values and culture, which can be applied in companywide sessions.

Of course, you can always go beyond job-related training (and you should definitely do so if you have the chance). In the modern business landscape, soft skills are as important as hard skills, so you should definitely invest in training sessions for your workforce that focuses on communication, team working, problem-solving, and other valuable skills. 

The way in which you can tackle these training sessions is up to you, your needs, and your available resources. You can hire an expert to provide in-house training, subscribe to online courses already available in training platforms, attend conferences and seminars, and so on. You can even leverage the talent you already have by commissioning your experts with a training session in a key area of their expertise. Thus, you’ll be acknowledging their talent while also extending the know-how to the rest of your workforce.

 

Towards a Motivated Company

The role of motivation in the modern workplace can’t be overstated. With up to 61% of the workforce feeling burnout and given the toll our modern way of life can have, putting motivation for your employees as a strategic objective is less of an optional move and more like a necessary measure for companies that want to access talent – especially that that’s in high demand.

A business committed to motivating employees shows them how important they are for the company’s overall success. It’s what makes people feel like they contribute to whatever goals the business is achieving and gives them purpose. Motivation increases happiness, productivity, efficiency, and engagement, all signs of a healthy brand. 

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