Debbie Lovewell: Rethink motivation approach

Maximising employee motivation has long been a focus for many employers. But, as motivation levels remain stubbornly unchanged in some organisations, is it time for a rethink about how to achieve this?

Last month, the Global employee engagement trends report 2013, by management consultancy Hay Group, found that, in the UK, almost half (44%) of employees included in its sample do not believe their employer plays its part in motivating them. Also, 41% said conditions in their job do not allow them to work at their peak productivity level.

And these figures are despite the fact that more than three-quarters (77%) said they feel proud to work for their organisation, and 72% feel motivated to carry out more than their own job responsibilities.

So is it really a case of employers not doing enough to boost staff motivation and engagement, or is a reappraisal of the methods used required?

Speaking at Employee Benefits Live at the end of September, Simon Nash, HR director at law firm Carey Olsen, suggested there is a common misconception of motivation among employers. He believes that employees are more happy when they are productive, rather than being productive when they are happy.

So, rather than encouraging staff to work harder and set goals to aspire to future achievements, employers should work to ensure employees are fully engaged and enjoying what they are doing at any given moment.

In most cases, I doubt that overcoming this ‘motivation gap’ will involve a completely new strategy. Instead, it may be that employers need to approach the issue and what they currently offer with a fresh pair of eyes to see where there are gaps to be filled.

Debbie Lovewell
Deputy editor
Employee Benefits
Tweet: @DebbieLovewell