How to Increase Motivation in the Workplace

Workplace motivation is very important. To put it another way, the less motivated your employees are, the less they will get done. Not great for business productivity.

Unmotivated employees:

  • Only do the bare minimum.
  • Struggle to overcome adversity.
  • Bring down your company culture.
  • Spread apathy across your organisation.
  • Lack interest in professional development.
  • Deliver poor customer service.

The cost of low productivity alone makes increasing the motivation of your employees well worth the time and investment for employers. If you fear that your workplace lacks in motivation, you’re not alone.

Gallup says that “workplace productivity is low—across the globe.”

In Australia and New Zealand, Gallup reports that only 14% of workers are engaged. Findings show that 71% of workers are not engaged, and another 15% are actively disengaged. That’s low for global standards, which came in at an average of 67% “not engaged” worldwide.

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Visual from State of the Global Workplace Gallup Report.

On a scale from 0 to 10, workers in Australia and New Zealand rated their overall life at 7.36. This was the highest of any region surveyed, even topping U.S./Canada at 7.14. What’s troubling about this statistic is, despite a relatively high life rating, Australia and New Zealand rank quite low when it comes to employee engagement.

The graph below shows the average life evaluations compared to the percentage of engagement among employees. (Calculated by Gallup for their 2017 Global Workplace report.)

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Visual from State of the Global Workplace Gallup Report.

📉 Learn a whole lot more in Gallup’s 2017 State of the Global Workplace report.

So, the big question becomes:

What can employers do to motivate their lacklustre workforce?

Read on to dig deeper into why it’s so important to start motivating your workforce right away, and actionable steps, that you the employer, can take to increase motivation.

WHA provide pre-employment medicals and ongoing medicals that are catered to suit the needs of your business and particular job roles. At all of our facilities, we have qualified healthcare experts, supported by an innovative IT software designed and developed by WHA, that ensure your results are produced in a timely, cost efficient manner and always available. To book a pre-employment medical, please call our Australian Customer Service team here.

Don’t Wait to Motivate

Your crusade for motivation in the workplace should be constant and consistent. Don’t play catch up and don’t wait until it’s too late.

Apathy can grow in an organisation like a virus. Experts say, and multiple studies show, that negativity in the workplace can quickly become contagious. An unmotivated employee is infectious. Not only are they less productive, but they pull down the motivation and productivity of those around them. If not with their negative attitudes, than by forcing their team members to pick up their slack.

Foster a motivational environment in your workplace to squash out any apathy before it has a chance to spread.

What Employers Can Do to Increase Motivation in the Workplace

Don’t confuse don’t wait to motivate with don’t start if you haven’t already. It’s never too late to take a more active role in employee engagement. Here are some ideas along with actionable advice for employers.

Monetary Compensation

Pay employees what they are worth. You can’t expect anyone to be motivated while being underpaid. At the very least, make sure you are hitting industry averages so your employees can see that you value their work.

Pay Scale’s Job Index allows you to view salaries by job title in Australia. You can view average salaries as well as hourly rates in AU. The resource contains salaries for hundreds of different jobs in Australia and in dozens of other countries.

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Yes, it’s been pointed out that money is nice, but it's not enough to motivate employees. In isolation, monetary compensation isn’t nearly enough to inspire continued motivation, but it shouldn’t be overlooked. Pair fair or above average compensation with other external motivators.

What Can Employers Do?

  • Regularly assess employee salaries to make sure they are equivalent to or above industry standards.
  • Be transparent with your employees about why they are being paid what they are as well as what steps they need to take to increase their salary.
  • Show a clear path for how your employees can move up within your company.
  • Offer milestone bonuses to incentivise longevity with the company.
  • Compensate your employees for costly commutes.
Break Down Workplace Goals

Break down large goals into smaller, more attainable ones.

Having big, far-reaching goals is good for your business, but it’s tough to visualise far-off or hard-to-reach goals. And day after day of not reaching your goal can wear even the most motivated person down.

By breaking up your BIG goal into several small ones, you open up a number of opportunities for your employees to feel accomplished.Making note of small accomplishments and goals met along the way can also raise the dopamine levels in their brain.

Communicate with your employees regularly about company goals and their own professional goals. What small steps can they take to help the business reach its goal and what can you do as an employer to help them reach their goals? Spread milestones out across the year so that big goals don’t feel overwhelming, and so small successes can be celebrated along the way.

What Can Employers Do?

  • Schedule regular goal assessment meetings. Make sure these meetings don’t feel like a test. You want your employees to be able to comfortably speak about the status of their goals. The outcome should be twofold: 1. What can they do to reach their goals? and 2. What can you, as the employer, do to help them reach their goals?
  • Celebrate victories. Took on a new client? Successful project completion? New hire? Great financial month? Take any or all of these as a reason (excuse) to celebrate. 🎉 Celebrations don’t need to be fancy. They can be as simple as a catered lunch, a sweet treat, or drinks after work.
  • Don’t wait until the end of the year to reward your team. Creating several small goals means you can intersperse small rewards, such as a gift card for coffee, throughout the year. Keep rewards simple, but make sure they have value to your employees.
Healthy Body, Healthy Mind

Physical wellbeing plays an important role in employee motivation.

Fitness is fundamental to preserving and supporting a person’s health as well as their emotional and physical wellbeing. Without it, our physical and mental health deteriorate. Which means that if an employee is feeling unwell in mind and body, their work and motivation are sure to suffer because of it. Exercise has a myriad of mental health benefits, thanks in part to the release of endorphins, a chemical your body releases when it is in pain (after a workout). Think of it as your body’s natural painkiller. Sometimes referred to as a “Runner’s High”, many forms of exercise can trigger this release. Regular exercise has been proven to reduce stress and anxiety, improve a person’s sleep, and boost their self-esteem.

What Can Employers Do?

  • Offer an allocated physical wellbeing budget to encourage employees to ‘cash-in’ on fitness. Let employees choose what they want to spend this on (as long as it relates to physical wellbeing in some way.) Examples: a fitness tracker, a gym membership, running shoes, sports equipment, an exercise class, etc.
  • Consider a WHA health expert to organise and manage important life-style related health assessments for employees onsite. Workplace screening initiatives are an important opportunity for reaching individuals at high-risk of illness and life-threatening issues - they could even save a life. Find out more.
  • Implement health and wellness programs that are designed to educate your employees about the importance of physical wellbeing. To enquire about our programs, please contact us.
  • Suggest standing meetings. Sitting for long hours at a time is linked to many adverse health effects including increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, and excess body fat.
  • Invest in standing desks. Standing desks can reduce back pain, lower the risk of weight gain, heart disease and diabetes, and increase productivity.
  • Encourage walking meetings to get your employees up from their desks and moving. Walking meetings can also increase creativity, inspiration, and collaboration.
  • Partner with a local gym to offer discounted rates for your employees.
  • If your business is large enough, invest in your company’s own office gym or exercise room.
Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement means rewarding good behaviour in order to encourage and strengthen that behaviour in the future. For employees, frequently letting them know they have done a good job can increase their confidence and satisfaction in their position. When your employees know they are valued, motivation follows.

What Can Employers Do?

  • When complimenting an employee, be specific and identify exactly what they did well with solid and distinct details.
  • Reward or compliment your employee immediately after they perform their task well.
  • Personalize your positive reinforcement. Keep it authentic and realistic.
  • Compliment often, but unpredictably. If your employees automatically expect you to say they’ve performed a task well, it will actually hinder their motivation.
  • Reward small improvements and good efforts.
  • Be careful not to show bias within your praise. Treat your employees equally when it comes to positive reinforcement.

💡 For more suggestions on how employers can utilise positive reinforcement with their employees, see Using Positive Reinforcement in Employee Motivation.

There’s no reason for Australia and New Zealand to remain at 14% when it comes to employee engagement. As an employer, you can help flip that number for a happier, healthier, more productive workforce.

Continue Supporting Your Workforce

Learn how you can establish a safe and healthy workforce that benefits everyone. Read our Top 10 Ways to Create a Safe and Healthy Workforce.

We provide pre-employment medicals and ongoing medicals that are catered to suit the needs of your business and particular job roles. At all of our facilities, we have qualified healthcare experts, supported by an innovative IT software designed and developed by WHA, that ensure your results are produced in a timely, cost efficient manner and always available. To book a pre-employment medical, please call our Australian Customer Service team here.