7 Key Factors to Promote Motivation in the Workplace

CoachHub · 23 November 2021 · 10 min read

Motivation in the workplace among employees is currently at the heart of human resource management.

And for good reason, lack of engagement at work results in poor performance of a company as well as increases the rates of turnover and absenteeism. It is estimated that a third of employees would seriously consider leaving a company in the near future due to lack of motivation.

It is, therefore, important to motivate employees every day. Here are the 7 key motivational factors at work!

Why maintain a high level of motivation in the workplace?

The success of a business is not only measured by its bottom line. It also depends on the human resources, the happiness and well-being of employees. Employee motivation has several advantages for a company. First is the investment, which improves performance of work. An employee who is motivated is an all-time efficient worker for whom achieving company goals is very easy.

Thus, performance would result from the additional professional skills, motivation at work, and clear operational goals. Meaning, motivation and performance go hand in hand.

Not to forget that demotivation is costly. Apart from the declining productivity, the phenomenon is associated with high turnover rates and absenteeism, which involve replacement charge and costs of hiring and training new employees.

On the other hand, a high level of motivation ensures great performance and a good working environment, which results in reduced expenses. Motivated employees always give the best of them, the overall benefit will be for the company. So how can you keep your employees motivated?

Difference between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation

There are two common types of motivation in the workplace today:

Intrinsic motivation: the action is motivated by the interest and pleasure that an individual feels in taking the action, without expecting any external reward. This could be the case in a stimulating working environment. An intrinsic motivation would involve an employee helping others in order to complete tasks or ensuring that company goals are achieved, just to feel organized and helpful.

Extrinsic motivation: This involves action guided by external elements such as reward or recognition by the company.

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The 7 motivational factors at work

1. Accountability and autonomy at work

Accountability, autonomy, and the power of empowerment at work are fundamental drivers of employee motivation, satisfaction, and overall workplace well-being. Empowerment signifies trust from the organization to the employee, cascading into autonomy, where employees are given the freedom to determine the most appropriate ways to achieve clear, precise objectives set by their managers. This environment fosters a workplace where managers define the “what,” “when,” and “why,” but entrust employees with the “how.”

Numerous studies have highlighted the positive impacts of workplace autonomy, including heightened job satisfaction, motivation, happiness, and creativity. When employees are empowered, they show a higher willingness to perform tasks, contributing to optimal productivity. This empowerment extends beyond task completion, enhancing psychological health, responsibility fulfillment, and secure work relationships.

Empowerment also means allowing employees to have a say in their daily workflow, a stark contrast to micromanagement. Empowered employees have some control over their tasks and the methods they employ, and when feasible, the location of their work. This level of flexibility not only boosts motivation but also engagement, a vital indicator of company success. For instance, the ADP Global Study of Engagement revealed a higher engagement rate among virtual team members compared to their office-bound counterparts (29% vs. 18%).

Participating in decision-making is also a crucial aspect of empowerment. The American Psychological Association’s 2021 Work and Well-Being Survey found that nearly half of the employees felt stressed at work due to their exclusion from decision-making processes, particularly when those decisions directly affected them. This stress can significantly diminish motivation.

It’s important to remember that employees are hired for their skills and experience. If a manager’s role becomes predominantly directive, constantly instructing rather than coaching or engaging with their team through thoughtful questions and active listening, it can undermine the sense of empowerment necessary for maintaining high levels of motivation.

2. Recognition and valuation of the work provided

Recognizing and valuing employee contributions is more than just a kind gesture; it’s a strategic imperative. The motivation derived from recognition extends beyond mere acknowledgment. It includes assigning tasks that match an employee’s aptitudes, appreciating their investment in projects, and often, tangible rewards such as salary increments and bonuses. Yet, a startling revelation by Gallup shows that only one in three employees feels adequately recognized for their efforts. This lack of recognition can lead to feelings of neglect and drive employees to seek opportunities elsewhere.

The power of recognition in the workplace is multifaceted. It not only motivates individuals but also cultivates a sense of achievement and value, enhancing overall workplace wellness. Recognition is closely tied to employee engagement, fostering loyalty and productivity, which in turn boosts employee retention. Furthermore, acknowledging individual achievements sets a precedent within the organization, reinforcing a culture of hard work and success.

But what truly fuels passion in work? The answer lies in fostering competence and rewarding it appropriately. People inherently seek growth and progress towards meaningful goals. Competence, therefore, is about dynamism and continual improvement. This is where appreciation, positive feedback, and praise come into play, acting as catalysts for personal and professional growth. Opportunities to utilize one’s strengths, as highlighted in the ADP study, significantly enhance engagement. Public acknowledgments and celebrating team successes also play a crucial role in boosting morale and motivation.

However, it’s important to approach constructive criticism with care. Unless it comes from a trusted source, it can be misconstrued as negative feedback. Encouragement should be empathetic, positive, and aligned with helping individuals progress towards their goals. Aligning employee goals with organizational objectives creates a win-win scenario, fostering both personal and company success.

Lastly, opportunities for growth and advancement are critical. The APA Work and Well-Being Survey identified lack of growth opportunities, alongside low salaries and long hours, as a primary source of workplace stress. With a significant portion of the workforce feeling burnt out and considering leaving their jobs, it’s crucial for companies to take note and act. By valuing and recognizing their employees’ contributions, organizations not only enhance their workforce’s motivation and satisfaction but also pave the way for sustained success and development.

3. Pleasant working conditions

The significance of pleasant working conditions and the power of strong connections cannot be overstated. With employees spending approximately 35 hours a week at work, not including commutes, a staggering 79% of them place a higher value on their quality of life at work than on their compensation. This underscores the necessity for organizations to foster environments that promote good understanding and cohesion among colleagues.

A cohesive workplace is characterized by transparency, effective conflict management, equal treatment, a culture of collective intelligence, and regular training sessions. Such an environment not only facilitates professional growth but also significantly boosts motivation. To make the workplace more engaging, managers can implement simple but effective changes like natural lighting, plants, and artwork, as well as providing amenities like coffee, tea, and snacks. These efforts can significantly reduce stress and enhance the overall work experience. A poor working environment, on the other hand, can demoralize employees and lead to a lack of motivation, underscoring the critical role managers play in creating a positive workplace atmosphere.

Beyond physical comforts, the essence of motivation often lies in the sense of purpose derived from strong connections at work. The intrinsic human desire to connect and help others means that when employees feel connected to their colleagues and their team, their work gains greater significance. Understanding the positive impact of one’s actions on others can propel employees to perform at their highest levels. This is where teamwork, collaboration, cooperation, and innovation thrive.

Supporting this, Cigna’s 2020 Loneliness and the Workplace report revealed that poor coworker relationships contribute to higher levels of loneliness, with lonely workers contemplating quitting twice as often as their connected counterparts. Additionally, lonely employees often feel their work is substandard, and many feel abandoned by coworkers under pressure. However, it’s heartening to note that the majority of American workers are content with their work relationships and the camaraderie they experience. Over half even report having a best friend at work. To truly feel that your work matters, it’s essential to understand and appreciate its impact on others, fostering a sense of shared purpose and connection.

In summary, creating a pleasant and cohesive work environment, coupled with fostering strong interpersonal connections, is crucial for maintaining high levels of motivation and job satisfaction. This approach not only benefits individual employees but also contributes to the overall success and productivity of the organization.

motivation at work

4. Good work/personal life balance

Unlike their elders, Millennials and Gen Z are particularly sensitive to the issue of work-life balance. If 93% of employees are concerned about this balance, they are also nearly 64% more likely to consider that their management is not doing enough to help them reconcile work and personal life.

How can this fragile balance be ensured in practice? By establishing teleworking or “One Thing” type operations, such as finishing an hour earlier a few days in the week, having an artistic hobby or attending personal development workshops.

Employees who have work-life balance experience a lot of benefits. First, they are able to enjoy their private lives. If employees feel overwhelmed, they would suffer from burn-out which may result in poor performance. Thus, getting a balance between the two spheres of life brings employee happiness and well-being. For the company, the balance will lead to better performance. When employees feel well-rested and healthy, they will do their best to produce satisfactory results.

5. Motivating remuneration policy

Although pay is no longer the main source of motivation at work, it is still important. The remuneration for motivated and invested employees must therefore be fair. In line with the skills and investment of the employee, the position held and length of service. Also important is fairness and equal pay with peers of equal skills, seniority and positions.

Compensation packages can have a great impact on the level of employee engagement. With high compensation, employees are able to possess a sense of satisfaction, and in return, incentivize them to be better performers. Common areas of motivation include retention, job satisfaction, work productivity, and prospective recruitment.

6. Development of professional skills

42% of millennials affirm they’re ready to leave a company if they don’t learn fast enough. Therefore, the implementation of a professional skills development plan is essential to motivate talent. Indeed, a company with real development opportunities is a motivating company for its employees. And for good reason, centering the corporate culture on a process of continuous learning and development of the skills of each employee creates a positive climate and a constructive working atmosphere. In other words, by investing in skills development, you increase the motivation of your employees. Not only do you consider and value them, but you also provide them with development prospects.

7. Benevolent and participative management

It is inconceivable for a manager to stay in his ivory tower. And for good reason, an available manager is a great source of additional motivation. The manager must therefore be present in the field to support employees in their daily tasks, motivate their employees and identify points of tension. Sharing ideas with employees will not only uplift the company’s efforts to achieve goals, but also increase talent base.

In addition, a local manager must listen to his teams in order to create links. This requires active and attentive listening to needs and areas of professional motivation, but also to the difficulties encountered. This listening also implies good internal communication for a better management of feedback afterwards. Mastering verbal and non-verbal communication, but above all non-violent communication, is therefore essential.

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Professional coaching to maintain a high level of motivation in the workplace

As showcased in the above content, different motivational factors and employee involvement are linked directly to the management style adopted by a company. Be it valuing of the work done, accountability, cohesion among team members, or proximity management, the manager remains the key determinant of motivation. However, not all managers have the experience or adequate training to take up the role of improving motivation at work.

Fortunately, managers have the opportunity to improve their skills. This is why CoachHub offers its professional coaching solutions to management teams so as to unleash the individual potential of every employee. Through a personalized coaching program, our experts can make sure that employees develop the interpersonal and managerial skills needed to become better managers. Thanks to the persistent relationship created by the coach and the result orientation, your company will be able to witness profess and behavioral changes quite quickly.

Request a demo now to learn more about the CoachHub digital coaching platform.

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CoachHub is a leading global talent development platform that enables organizations to create personalized, measurable and scalable coaching programs for their entire workforce, regardless of department and seniority level. By doing so, organizations are able to reap a multitude of benefits, including increased employee engagement, higher levels of productivity, improved job performance and increased retention. CoachHub’s global pool of coaches is comprised of over 3,500 certified business coaches in 90 countries across six continents with coaching sessions available in over 80 languages. Serving more than 1,000 clients worldwide, CoachHub’s innovative coaching programs are based on proprietary scientific research and development from its Innovation Lab. CoachHub is backed by leading tech investors, including Sofina, SoftBank Vision Fund 2, Molten Ventures, Speedinvest, HV Capital, Partech and Silicon Valley Bank/SVB Capital. CoachHub is committed to creating a greener future.

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