Motivate Your Employees by Bringing Meaning to Their Work
Employers often complain about workers who are disengaged and unmotivated. Statistics show that mover than 50% of employees suffer from low morale and underperform on the job. However, many of the employees who are engaged put in long hours and receive low pay. What is the difference? Often it is the work they do and its impact on society.
Positive Impact Positive Environment
Employees who realize that they help others with the products they create or services they provide are willing to go the extra mile. They work longer and harder than their peers do. The work is important to them and by focusing on this positive impact; employees create a positive working environment. They don’t focus on monetary elements of the job, such as salary. In fact, if the company tries to change the workers’ focus to issues such as salary employees may lose momentum.
The phrase “they don’t do it for the money” may sound cliché but it is true. Studies have shown that people who focus on innovative projects, even ones that are difficult or challenging, will perform with more energy and perform better when they focus on the impact of the project.
Bringing Meaning to Employees
How can you motivate your employees by bringing meaning to their work? Here are three action steps you can take to motivate workers in your organization.
1. Create a Community: Create a sense of community in the workplace instead of a place where people simply come every day to work for pay. Encourage employees to get to know one another, even those from different departments. Allow people to express their individuality and leverage what makes them unique to increase their performance. And allow workers to bring outside interests into the office. These are people with interests outside of work and if you treat them as individuals, solidarity will form and performance will increase.
2. Reinforce the Positive: Let employees know how your products or services benefit society. It doesn’t have to be a large impact but if you accentuate the positive workers will be able to foster a sense of purpose in routine activities.
3. Encourage Skill Development: Push employees to strive to do better. Set realistic goals and then push them forward once a department or team reaches them. As long as the goals increase slowly and realistically it will show employees, you have faith in their abilities. They will be challenged and surprised as they tackle problems and meet ever-expanding goals.
These action steps can be included in any business plan. Even a product that doesn’t seem to have any benefit may improve people’s lives. It is all a matter of perception. By taking the focus away from salary and monetary benefits, you can change the momentum of the organization. Create a mission statement and encourage workers to focus on fulfilling the goals of the mission and they won’t be discouraged or disengaged because of long hours or low pay.
Putting these action steps in motion may require management to change their mindset. Managers may need to alter their management style in order to encourage employees to be individuals. Conformity is the traditional mantra of the workplace and being innovative isn’t always encouraged. Departmental rivalries often develop and employees often look upon one another as rivals instead of teammates.
This is why fostering the idea of working toward a common good will be beneficial at all levels of the organization. By providing an opportunity for a positive impact on a social need, the company can help everyone within the organization unite for a good cause. Individual needs are set aside and everyone will work together to benefit the community, which leads to a productive and motivated workforce.