The Slice

How Employee Motivation Affects Productivity in The Workplace

April 7, 2022

There are literally hundreds of different factors that can influence productivity in the workplace. One thing that can take a real toll on workplace productivity is a lack of employee motivation. When your employees don't feel driven to contribute their absolute best, your company's productivity will take a hit. How exactly does employee motivation impact productivity in the workplace, though? What can you do to motivate your team and, in turn, increase productivity?

There are literally hundreds of different factors that can influence productivity in the workplace. Studies have found that productivity can be negatively impacted by everything from a work environment that's too cold to an unideal office layout or too much job-related stress.

While some obstacles to maximizing productivity are fairly easy fixes (for example, maybe you should turn your thermostat up a few degrees), others are less straightforward.

One thing that can take a real toll on workplace productivity is a lack of employee motivation. When your employees don't feel driven to contribute their absolute best, your company's productivity will take a hit.

How exactly does employee motivation impact productivity in the workplace, though? What can you do to motivate your team and, in turn, increase productivity?

What Is Employee Motivation, Exactly?

A primary management concern for businesses of all sizes is how to boost the level of commitment, creativity, and energy that employees bring to the table. The quality of having workers excited to help your brand reach its goals is known as employee motivation. There are many competing theories about how best to cultivate this positive quality in the workplace.

How motivated your employees are can result from a complex brew of ingredients, including things like benefits and perks, workplace culture, how empowered employees feel, and whether or not workers have the opportunity to work their way up in the business. In addition, determining the best strategies for boosting employee motivation can be complicated because different workers might feel motivated by different incentives or potentials in their job.

Though defining and achieving employee motivation can feel quite elusive, it's a quality of the workplace that is very apparent when it's present. When employees are motivated, you'll find that your company's culture is healthier, your workers are more engaged, and your business is ultimately more successful.

Let's break down all of the ways that increased employee motivation can affect productivity in your workplace.

How Can Employee Motivation Impact Productivity in Your Workplace?

When you focus on boosting employee motivation, the positive effects can have a ripple effect through your organization. It doesn't just help boost productivity, but it can also help to strengthen company culture, allow you to build a strong team of top-tier employees, and improve your brand image.

Motivation Increases Productivity

One of the most straightforward ways that employee motivation affects productivity is that there is essentially a direct correlation between the two factors. The more motivated your employees, the more productive they are. Of course, the opposite is also true: the less motivated your employees are, the less work will get done.

While this might seem obvious, you'd be surprised how easily this simple fact can get lost in the complexity of managing a team. Taking time away from "productive" work to create scenarios that increase overall motivation can seem like a significant cost. Still, it will ultimately offer a much greater ROI than trying to drive your team forward despite their clear lack of engagement and motivation.

If you think of an example outside of the workplace, the correlation between motivation and productivity seems like a no-brainer.

Let's say that you are excited to have a group of friends over for dinner, but you want to clean your house first. You are motivated by the fact that you're having people over, and you want them to see your house at its best, and you'll likely find that your cleaning session is more efficient, more enjoyable, and, yes, more productive.

On the flip side, what if you feel like you should clean your house, but you don't have any motivating factor driving you forward? Then, when it comes time to pick up that broom, you're probably dragging your feet -- if you don't put off cleaning your house to another day entirely.

The same is true in the workplace. If employees don't have a why that is driving them, there's no real fuel pushing the machine forward. However, if they have tangible reasons that putting their all into their work is something they want to do, you'll find that increasing productivity in your workplace doesn't have to feel like pulling teeth.

Motivation Reduces Absenteeism

When you have motivated employees, they aren't looking for excuses to slip out of work for the day. Whether you manage a traditional office space or have a remote team sprinkled around the world, motivated employees are inspired employees.

On the other hand, when your employees lack the drive to show up to work, it can negatively affect the rest of the workplace. When people are frequently calling out sick, it doesn't just mean that less work is getting done (though it certainly means that, too.)

It also means that the morale and productivity of the entire team can be dragged down, as frequently absent team members can make other workers feel as though it's not worth putting in any more than the minimum amount of effort. When you have employees who seem always to have an excuse for why they can't show up, it can put a dark cloud over the morale of the whole organization.

Motivation Boosts Retention Rates

When you help cultivate a culture where your workers are motivated, it doesn't just mean that they'll call out sick less often. It also means that they will happily stay with your company for longer.

Every business owner and manager knows that it's a lot more expensive to hire a new employee than keep an existing worker. However, when you have a consistent team of engaged and inspired employees, you can put your energy towards success and growth rather than constantly needing to funnel resources towards finding and training new hires.

Beyond expenses, though, having a team of people interested in helping a company grow in the long term is a truly invaluable feature. When some of your best workers are happy, motivated, and engaged, it encourages new hires to picture themselves growing and thriving with the company for years to come.

Motivation Helps You Recruit Strong Employees

Having genuinely motivated employees doesn't just help you keep the workers you have, but it also allows you to recruit the best of the best in your industry. Top-tier employees have their pick of the litter when they're selecting a new workplace, and they will more than likely take the company culture into account when making this decision.

Recruiting strong employees is a gift that keeps on giving. Not only does it improve your brand's productivity and culture, but it also helps to attract more high-quality talent. Over time, you've created a team of happy, motivated, and engaged workers that aren't particularly incentivized to look for work elsewhere.

Motivation Cultivates an Environment of Innovation

Chances are, you aren't interested in your business staying stagnant for the foreseeable future. Growth and innovation are huge parts of any company, no matter what industry you're in. When your employees feel driven to help the brand succeed, they are much more likely to develop creative and innovative ideas that can help the company thrive.

Employees that don't feel supported or appreciated are much less likely to want to challenge themselves or give back any more than they have to. If you have unmotivated employees, there's a good chance your office is filled with people who are doing the bare minimum while frequently glancing up at the clock. These aren't prime candidates for innovators, and you shouldn't expect them to be.

One noticeable trend in how employee motivation boosts productivity is that there is a rippling effect throughout your team and even throughout your organization. Though your company is made up of individuals, it functions as an organism. As a result, even small changes made at the individual level can create massive changes at the company-wide level.

For example, if you work to motivate your employees, you might notice that a few of your strongest workers begin bringing forward innovative ideas. Over time, though, this will influence other team members, who see that their coworkers are being rewarded for their creative thinking. Before you know it, you've created a culture of highly engaged workers working to better your company.

Motivation Improves Your Brand Image

Lastly, employee motivation is also directly related to your brand image. When job seekers see that you have a culture of workers that are happy to go to work and genuinely driven to be productive, they'll want to be a part of it. However, it's not just among the pool of potential employees where your reputation will improve. When your employees are motivated to produce their best work as efficiently as possible, it will likely improve your image among existing and future customers alike.

What Are the Best Ways to Keep Your Employees Motivated?

There is a long list of tactics you can employ to boost (and maintain) employee motivation. Of course, offering appealing perks and benefits as a part of the job goes a long way, but those aren't the only things that motivate individual team members. Let's take a look at some of the best ways to create a motivated team of workers who each does their part in the success and growth of your company.

Provide the Opportunity to Do Meaningful Work

It's hard to feel motivated when the work you're doing seems pointless. For this reason, managers can work to provide the opportunity for their team to engage in work they find legitimately meaningful.

Recognize Great Work

It's pretty hard to feel motivated when it seems like all of the work you do gets dumped into a black hole. When your hard work is frequently recognized, it can be a significant motivating factor that keeps you engaged, productive, and efficient.

While you certainly can reward your employees with bonuses and other monetary incentives, that's not your only option. Gestures of appreciation can go a long way, even if it's as simple as a team pizza party to celebrate a job well done or a much-deserved day off.

Create Opportunities for Social Interaction

If your team of workers only knows each other in the office context (or, increasingly commonly, the virtual office,) you'll likely find that your company culture falls flat. By creating opportunities for social interaction that don't revolve around work, you can cultivate a positive, friendly, and welcoming culture. When your workers like the people they work with, you'll find that employee motivation increases.

Encourage Regular Breaks

Sometimes motivation issues can result from the need to step away for a few minutes. When your team focuses on their work nonstop, it reduces their productivity. Instead, encourage your workers to take frequent short breaks to get some fresh air, look at something other than a screen, and move around.

Don't Just Explain the "What" But Also the "Why"

In a business context, it's easy to simply tell your workers what they need to do without mentioning why it matters. However, understanding the purpose behind their work can be a big motivating factor for your employees. When they have a sense of how what they do contributes to the organization's larger goals, you might find that they are much more engaged and productive.

Create and Delegate Clear Goals

Sometimes a lack of motivation can come from having a blurry picture of the playing field. By outlining clear goals and delegating specific tasks to help reach those goals, you'll likely find that your employees are much more engaged.

Create a Feedback Structure That Goes Both Ways

Giving employees feedback can also help to boost motivation. Communication is key in all businesses, but it's particularly important when your team is remote. You'll find that giving frequent feedback helps your employees realize that the work they are doing matters, which can motivate them.

At the same time, though, it's essential to be receptive to feedback on top of handing it out. When your workers feel like they can be honest in their feedback, it helps them see that their opinion and their voices matter.

Support Employee Wellbeing

In many workplaces, the culture encourages people to "power through" even when they aren't feeling their best. However, this can actually be incredibly detrimental to overall productivity and can create an unhealthy, competitive company culture.

When you support employee wellbeing, you recognize that your team isn't just a bunch of worker drones. To stay balanced, it's vital that they stay on top of their physical, mental, and emotional health. So whether you offer Friday yoga classes, a generous time-off policy, or the option for flexible schedules, you'll find that your employees feel appreciated and productivity increases.

Boosting Employee Motivation Is Essential for a Productive Workplace

As you can see, there are many good reasons to prioritize employee motivation in your workplace. Not only can it help to increase productivity overall, but it can be an important ingredient in helping your company thrive and grow.

Ensuring that your employees are motivated is important in any company, but it's particularly essential to manage a remote team. There are many benefits to having a work-from-home structure, but it definitely requires additional work regarding employee motivation and engagement. By understanding the relationship between employee motivation and productivity and employing some of these employee motivation strategies, you can ensure that your workers wake up excited and driven to do their best work.

Is it time to celebrate with your team and reward them for all their hard work? If so, a pizza party might be just what the doctor ordered.

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