For more than two decades, we’ve helped companies boost employee motivation scores and reach higher KPIs. We see low employee motivation as less of a problem and more of a starting place. Motivation stems from a complex combination of external and internal influences—and that’s why, after years of developing our own solutions, we recommend a well-rounded approach.
In this guide, you’ll learn how to eliminate low employee motivation through improved compensation, refined leadership, increased opportunity, and—our specialty—high-value incentives. Let’s get into it.
MASTERING EXTRINSIC MOTIVATION IN YOUR COMPANY
Individuals are motivated to work harder and meet their performance goals when they feel valued, appreciated, and respected—and there’s no better language to speak than compensation.
First things first: if your company is currently offering salaries that are below market value, or if your benefits package pales in comparison to what’s being offered by your competitors, there’s no other explanation necessary.
That’s where your motivation issues are coming from. It’s that simple.
A competitive compensation package includes three elements—salary, core benefits, and fringe benefits—and each has an important role to play in motivating your employees toward greater success.
To stay ahead of the curve, we recommend doing a market analysis at least every six months to determine whether or not your salaries are still competitive. Strive to offer monetary compensation at the high end of national averages—or even above market value. You’ll attract better talent and your current employees will thank you with increased loyalty and productivity.
It’s worth spending time, money, and effort to optimize the core benefits and alternative compensation offered by your company. Already offering 401k plans? Consider increasing your matching amount by a percentage or two. Have a solid healthcare plan? Secure dental and vision add-ons and consider facilitating HSAs. These are benefits that make your firm a long-term destination instead of a career stepping stone.
While monetary benefits are necessary and important, non-financial rewards have a significant impact on employee motivation. In fact, controlled extrinsic motivation is the only form of motivation shown to positively impact job performance. Extras like flexible work hours, comped meals, and childcare are key. Expand your fringe benefits and watch how motivation climbs in response.
Increasing salaries and adding to your benefits package might not solve all the problems your team has with motivation—but taking these steps will ensure that, six months or a year from now, you’ve retained your best employees (which is a motivation and morale boost all on its own).
Examine and Adjust Leadership Styles
If you ever needed a reason to closely examine leadership in your organization, here’s one:
In the State of the American Manager report, Gallup estimates that 70% of the variance between employee engagement scores is due to managers.
If your employees are disengaged and falling behind in their productivity, check in with them and see if they’re feeling anger or dissatisfaction due to mismanagement. If the answer is yes, it’s time to optimize how you’re leading, training, and redirecting your managers.
Here are a few tactics to try:
- Research different leadership styles and alter your approach according to what works.
It’s never too early to take a look in the mirror and ask how your personal leadership style is impacting your managers and the company as a whole—for good or for ill. One research study showed that charismatic, relationship-oriented, and ethic-based contingent reward leadership styles, in particular, have a positive impact on motivation. If you’re not sure how to change your approach, start there.
- Adjust your balance of “hard” and “soft” enforcement tactics.
Is anybody surprised that this study found hard enforcement tactics actually lower intrinsic motivation in employees? Yet so many companies still rely on top-down communication and pugnative employee improvement plans. Instead, try opening the floor for two-way communication and empowering each individual with opportunities for self-determination.
- Move toward a system of transparent communication.
We’re always inspired by companies who maintain an open door communication policy. One firm in particular recently released all their accounting and salary info—meaning every employee, manager, and C-suite leader’s salary became common knowledge. Short of that, you can work to remove elements of gatekeeping from your company culture. In a transparent workplace, nothing is withheld from “lower level” employees—and everyone is invited to give feedback and ask questions.
TAPPING SOURCES OF INTRINSIC MOTIVATION
Create Opportunities For Growth
According to recent research, “the desire to learn, acquire new skills and continue personal development is one of the reasons millennials choose to leave their employer.”
So, a smart CEO, department head, or HR professional will endeavor to create a workplace that’s full of learning opportunities for every employee.
Growth is essential to employee satisfaction. To motivate employees to stay, help them feel like they’re part of the bigger picture and show them ways to expand within the company. This includes offering self-improvement and learning opportunities and giving employees tangible ways to make a difference. Demonstrating appreciation for their hard work and offering rewards for going above and beyond doesn’t hurt either.
If you’re not currently coaching each employee on their career trajectory, encouraging their passions, and offering training to build new skills, you’ve found a huge opportunity to motivate them in a new way. All of these actions tie into self-enhancement motivation—an important intrinsic source your employees can use to develop higher self-esteem and self-worth.
You can establish new learning opportunities by encouraging pathways toward professional development. Or, more organically, through working with your employees to set meaningful goals that spark their interests.
We recommend pursuing both avenues in tandem for a total revamp of your company’s culture of learning. Employees will appreciate opportunities to learn and expand their existing skillsets, and your company will reap the benefits of their enhanced knowledge.
Learning & Development Programs
Professional development is an obvious solution to a lack of learning opportunity in your company. On the job, this could mean:
- Evaluating job descriptions and workloads. If roles aren’t challenging enough, consider adding responsibility.
- Developing learner-centric trainings that cover upper-level concepts and cross train team members in other departments.
- Making time for team members to launch passion projects that relate to their roles.
Opportunities also exist outside your company.
You could sponsor employees to attend industry conferences, set aside time each month for continuing education courses, or offer tuition reimbursements to encourage the pursuit of higher education. Many HR platforms and Employee Assistance Programs also offer training programs for little to no cost.
Clear & Measurable Goals
Goal setting is an important practice that creates new opportunities for learning on all levels of a company.
On a company-wide level, create a clear mission statement that includes an emphasis on individual growth. Set challenging yet attainable goals for your firm as a whole. If you involve your employees in this process, it’s likely that they’ll feel more motivated to reach them.
On an individual scale, make sure each employee has a clear and attainable path toward advancement or promotion. Facilitate new goals every quarter that help individuals reach that milestone. Then let them set additional goals according to what interests them. Tracking progress will be motivating for everyone involved.
Incentivize, Recognize, and Reward
Finally, we’ll cover a proven, cost-effective method to motivate your employees from the inside out: high-quality employee incentive programs. And, unlike the strategies listed above, which could take months or years to take hold, this is an action item you can accomplish this week.
When we suggest implementing an employee rewards program, we’re not talking about tired points systems, raffles, yearly bonuses, or team retreats. Our employee rewards programs are actually proven to motivate teams toward greater success. We’ve seen incredible progress with our clients across industry lines—especially in call centers and other metric-driven environments.
When you partner with Inproma to implement a really stellar incentive program, here’s what you’ll receive:
Name Brand Recognition
Our rewards mean something. With high-value, name-brand rewards, participation spreads like social currency through your organization.
The end result of all this? With the best incentive programs on the market, your employees are motivated to reach their goals based on incentives they see others receive. They get involved because they know they’ll finally be recognized for all the hard work they do. And they receive high-value rewards that reflect how much they’re valued by your company.
If you’re looking for one change that will make the biggest difference in your employee motivation scores, this is it.
Let’s Get Started
Whether you choose to revamp your compensation, make changes in leadership, open opportunities for individual growth, or implement a killer employee rewards program, we hope you successfully increase your employee motivation and reach greater success as a company. If you need help with that last one, you know where to find us. Let’s talk.
Inproma’s custom employee incentive programs get results. From design to fulfillment, we can handle all the behind-the-scenes requirements. If your employee benefits aren’t producing the results you need, or your current incentive program isn’t getting anywhere, let’s talk.