Key Motivators Within the Workplace

by Bryan Hyland, Commercial Director at Morgan McKinley

Having motivators for employees is important for any sort of business at many different angles. Not only does it brand you, as an employer, as the best company to work for, but it also makes your staff motivatedpassionate and loyal to your business.

From our experience of speaking to thousands of professionals and hiring managers over the years, regardless of which industry they work in and how senior they are, there are 5 consistencies when it comes to workplace motivators. Here they are…

1. Provide Meaningful and Challenging Work

Managers must strive to provide employees with information regarding the task at hand, which gives them additional context that will allow them to complete the task to a better standard.

Challenging and new tasks are also important to keep employee engagement, productivity and motivation high. A new task can reduce the boredom and repetitiveness of the job, while a challenging task can give the employee a sense of importance that will make them feel valued within the company.

Could you encourage duties to be spread across teams? Or is there a tricky issue that could be shared with certain employees who have proved to be capable problem solvers in the past?

Our research shows that ‘not utilising skills they have trained for’ is one of the top reasons talent decide to leave organisations.

In terms of ‘meaningful work’, a large majority of employees nowadays want to work for socially and environmentally responsible organisations. They want their job to improve the world in some way and they’re often willing to take a salary reduction to get there.

2. Improve Employees’ Lives

Improving employees’ lives may seem like a big task, but if we follow the theory of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, the manager or business needs to be aware of a few simple things in their employees’ lives. These include:

  • Physiological needs – Food, water, warmth and rest
  • Safety needs – Security and safety
  • Belonging needs – Intimate relationships, family and friends
  • Self-esteem needs – Prestige and a feeling on accomplishment
  • Self-actualisation needs – Achieving full potential and extra-curricular activities

To achieve this, the manager must make time to recognise the employee as an individual for their input into the company, encourage them, and provide support. This will allow the employee to – in theory – be happy.

3. Recognition

Similar to self-esteem needs, a company should promote or give recognition to employees based on their performance. This will give the employee a sense of job security and further encourage them to strive to be the best they can be for a chance of progression or promotion within the business.

Reward and recognition are deemed as highly relevant for talent considering joining an organisation.

4. Compensation & Benefits

Compensation is always a good way to motivate an employee. However, too much or too little pay could reduce productivity. So it’s important to strike the right balance.

According to the Yerkes – Dodson Law, too little pay will lead to unhappy employees, and too much will lead to the employees being too excited about pay to work. Key performance indicators that lead to bonuses and rewards are useful to maintain motivation and productivity.

It’s best practice to be informed about industry salary benchmarks to ensure you are paying your employees correctly.

5. Culture

Culture is the key to making employees feel like they are part of a family, creating a sense of belonging to the organisation they work for. The importance of your corporate culture should never be underestimated.

Even if all of the previous 4 motivators are achieved in your workplace, it is important to remember how detrimental discouragement within a working environment can be. A culture that promotes teamwork can limit unnecessary bureaucracyover control by managers and withholding of information.

Teamwork can empower the employees to have confidence in speaking their mind and formulate fresh new ideas, as well as improve employee retention overall.

Bonus: How to Keep Remote Employees Motivated

With the drastic rise of flexible working patterns that allow employees to work remotely, there is an additional consideration for management: How to keep employees who are working away from the office motivated.

Well, there are 6 key considerations you may want to pay close attention to:

  • Increase levels of communication and use internal comms platforms
  • Set out clear expectations and give them goals
  • Encourage them to keep learning and upskilling
  • Recognise their efforts and regularly praise stand-out performers
  • Offer guidance on how best they can manage their time
  • Arrange for the more senior team members to act as mentors

From the perspective of your employees, long periods of remote working can make them feel isolated. It’s important, as mentioned above, to try and maintain communication levels and encourage your teams to continue with team building activities, albeit virtually.