Nearly a third of employees say they are not motivated at work

poorly motivated

The proportion of people saying they are not motivated at work rose to 29% in 2017, from 18% the previous year, according to a study by reward and recognition consultant Motivates.

The April 2018 survey of 2,000 UK employees for the report Living to work asked respondents to reveal the causes of their lack of motivation at work. A quarter of those who are poorly motivated (25%) said they have no career progression, while the same amount said senior management communicated poorly.

Almost the same percentage (24%) of respondents said their organisation does not give regular rewards or recognition, over a fifth (21%) said they do not have a good work-life balance and 18% said their work didn’t challenge them.

Bill Alexander, chairman at Motivates, said: “71% of UK employees were motivated in 2017. The figure on its own shows a positive result, yet when you reflect on the motivational statistics from 2016 the data actually shows the percentage of motivated employees has dropped by 11% in just one year.

“That’s 220 more employees in a an organisation of 2,000 who are not feeling good about their job. Now that’s a figure to worry about.”

When asked if they were more or less emotionally invested in their work compared with five years ago, nearly half (48%) said slightly or much more, almost a third (31%) felt about the same, and 17% said slightly or much less.

Asked to state the things that succeeded in motivating them at work, 21% of employees said they have a good work-life balance, 20% said they had great peers who motivate each other and 15% cited a boss who was very good at saying thank you. More than one in ten (12%) said their office environment was very motivating and the same proportion said they have a motivating manager who is very good at their job.

When asked for their most significant workplace concerns, 29% of respondents said financial security, 27% cited health and wellbeing and 26% said job security. A quarter (25%) of employees were concerned with staying challenged and motivated, while slightly fewer (24%) were worried about career progression.

Asked whether employees chose their jobs based on salaries, three times as many people (19%) disagreed or strongly disagreed with the statement in 2017 compared with 2016 (6%).

On what would motivate them more than their basic salary, 40% of respondents said a feeling of satisfaction, 39% said general work enjoyment and 34% said job security. Nearly a third (32%) cited incentives and rewards as a motivating factor beyond salary, while 27% valued working as a team.

Alexander said: “When we think of motivating our employees it’s easy to consider quick wins, like bonuses and a pay rise, to get employees feeling happy and engaged again. However, the research shows companies need to think less about money and more about personal appreciation and creating an environment that encourages happiness and wellbeing in the workplace.

“People are getting satisfaction from a good work-life balance, working with great peers and a manager who shows their appreciation with reward, recognition and a thank you.”