The key to a motivated workforce

The consistent finding is that an engaged, motivated workforce will lead to positive business outcomes such as improved work performance, productivity, boosted morale, and lower staff turnover.

Employee engagement and motivation have been fundamental points of focus for decades of Psychological and HR research. Motivation as a concept can even be traced as far back as ancient Greek philosophers theorising that people are driven to seek pleasure and avoid pain. The consistent finding is that an engaged, motivated workforce will lead to positive business outcomes such as improved work performance, productivity, boosted morale, and lower staff turnover.

This leads to the main question: What do employees want?

Mason and Dale recognise the importance of a positive working environment for both our clients and candidates. We began to compile a list of tips to build a happy workforce but realised that these all boiled down to one major theme: show that you care.

Employees will spend a significant part of their day in their working environment, so it is important to make this a welcoming and enjoyable environment. This is achieved firstly by management leading the example themselves; be friendly to your employees, treat them as the unique humans they are and strive to improve positive relations within your team.

You should also show you care not only about employees as people, but also by valuing their input. Encouraging feedback, open discussions and innovation will be great not only for employees feeling self-actualised and autonomous in their roles but could also foster new ideas that would be great for your business!

An open and honest organisational culture is ideal for developing trust in management and positive identification with the company. Businesses undergoing organisational change like a merger or re-org find that a major derailing factor is lack of trust in management, demonstrating the importance of transparency in engaging employees. This goes hand-in-hand with encouraging open and honest conversations, but this goes both ways; you can encourage the employees to speak up but you as a manager should also be honest about aspects like the conditions of the business, the market and future plans. This will lead to less anxiety and job insecurity in workers, and subsequently more engagement.

You may also want to consider changing a number of organisational policies to help employees feel recognised, and a valued member of the business.

  • Flexible working: This shows an appreciation for the employee as an individual with their own family or life commitments and could reduce turnover as employees are less likely to look elsewhere for such perks. We are in a candidate-driven market; businesses are having to up their game on the perks and flexi schemes they offer as this is becoming an essential condition for many job applicants.
  • Diversity and inclusion: Your organisation committing to reducing adverse impact on protected groups will lead to minority employees feeling less marginalised and more valued members of the organisation.
  • Pay and rewards systems: These trigger extrinsic motivation – positive behaviour driven by external rewards. Psychology has shown the importance of goal-setting for driving motivation, setting exciting and achievable goals is an excellent method of engaging employees.
  • Job design: Finally, you might even want to consider adjusting employee’s roles to make their duties less autonomous and more meaningful.

Mason and Dale are strong believers in recruitment being an ongoing process; the first step is attracting the talent, but we also continue to provide support to retain them. We are therefore happy to provide consultative advice for any of our clients who would like further evidence-based recommendations specific to their organisation for motivating their employees and improving business outcomes.

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