How to increase employees’ motivation?
Numbers are important in every company. It is said that whoever does not measure, does not control. Based on measurable variables, we make decisions, evaluate, and plan. Also, when working with people, we often use numerical data. Employee fluctuations, recruitment costs, training expenses, all of these are commonly used parameters.
These figures are directly or indirectly linked to finance. In addition, however, there are other metrics addressing the emotional state of employees. Why is it important to measure how satisfied people are, how motivated they are? The emotional state of employees directly affects their work performance, both at the personal and team level.
Measurement of emotions is difficult. It is difficult to select just those emotions that have a direct impact on company performance. For a set of emotions influencing a person’s work efforts, the term engagement has become usual.
An engaged person is one who shares values and goals with his/her workplace, reduces the difference between himself/herself and his/her surroundings, enjoys the satisfaction of the success of the whole of which he/she is part. An engaged person works with enthusiasm beyond his/her duties. A fully engaged person is in the flow state (Csikzentmihalyi), where he/she has the overall feeling of full engagement bringing him/her satisfaction.
The Engagement status is good for both employees and employers. For employees, it brings life satisfaction, for an employer, it brings a financial benefit. An engaged person performs better at the same costs.
It transpires that engagement cannot be achieved through external motivation factors such as financial rewards and benefits. Engagement cannot be purchased. That is good as well as bad news. Bad news, because one of the simplest incentive tools used in a business environment cannot be used to achieve the state of engagement; good news, because ways leading to improving engagement do not burden the cost element of the profit and loss statement.
So, achieving employee engagement within a company is cheap, but not easy. A disgruntled employee is not engaged. Therefore, it is necessary to cover his/her needs to such an extent that he/she is not disgruntled. However, other conditions need to be met to achieve the state of engagement.
These are conditions that are related to people’s basic psychic and social needs. To a varying extent, we all have them, and their fulfilment is a prerequisite to achieve engagement.
Sense of work
Work can be just a job; for someone, it is a mission. Such people know why and for whom they work, they know its sense and meaning. They understand how they contribute to the satisfaction of their colleagues, organizational growth, how they meet the customers’ needs, how they participate in the company development. Awareness of the sense of work motivates. People are willing to give work more than they are asked for, and they feel satisfaction.
People need a degree of freedom of decision and authority. They want to be able to do things according to themselves. Autonomy means the ability to express one’s own opinions, to be heard and respected, to be able to influence one’s surroundings. The degree of autonomy required is individual. It depends on knowledge and experience, as well as on the employee’s personality.
Learning is one of the basic skills and needs of people. Work itself provides an opportunity for professional and personal development. It depends on the amount, composition and diversity of work tasks, assigned responsibilities and quality of cooperation within a working team. A good opportunity for personal growth is a defence against burnout syndrome even with high workloads.
People want to see the results of their work. They want to know how these are evaluated by their colleagues. They need feedback. For everyone, praise is more pleasant than criticism. However, silence is worse than criticism. People need to compare and know how well they are doing in comparison with others. Feedback helps us to orientate in the environment, eliminates uncertainty and offers a sense of self-realization.
Man is a social animal and social relations are very important for him. The work environment offers an opportunity to establish social bonds and relationships. A positive emotional bond to the workplace and a team of colleagues helps one to cope with difficulties and obstacles and helps create synergies.
Fulfiling these factors is a prerequisite towards achieving the long-term state of engagement. Their fulfilment depends mainly on the company environment, but also on the values and attitudes of the employee himself/herself. In the short term, there may be situations where a worker is engaged in an environment that does not fulfil these prerequisites, or, on the other hand, remains non-engaged even if the external conditions are met.
So far, we are not able to measure the emotional state using physical quantities. However, we are able to estimate it based on attitudes to certain topics. We can ask them directly or via alternative questions. A response to the question “Are you looking for other job opportunities?” is probably related to satisfaction in the current job. An appropriately selected set of questions can map both engagement itself and the factors that determine it.
Peoplix is such a set of questions. Additionally, it maps an area of the company culture and standards of behaviour within the company, allowing comparison of what supports the engagement within the company and what reduces it. It provides a guideline to what standards, attitudes and skills are worth developing.