Forty percent of workers have reported feeling unmotivated in the job over the past 12 months, according to a survey conducted by CareerBuilder.com. Based on the survey, working more hours per week and managers putting more work demands on workers are only part of the problem. Thirty-eight percent think promotions are based on office politics instead of qualifications and work performance, while 28 percent of respondents do not believe their job makes a material contribution to the company’s mission.
What Effects Do Unmotivated Employees Have on Employers?
The financial effects of apathetic employees can be costly. There are direct costs through lost productivity and indirect costs through decreased and unfulfilled customer needs. Based on a study by Gallup, unengaged workers reduce U.S. economic output by as much as $370 billion annually. Seventy percent of motivated employees report a comprehensive understanding of how to fulfill customer needs, while 17 percent of unmotivated workers can report the same.
How Can Employers Motivate Employees?
- Communicate Clearly and Openly
It doesn’t matter if a company is making its highest profits ever or if it’s just able to pay its bills, if the management effectively communicates with its staff, they are more willing to work for the company’s success. When employees understand the business’ decisions and its ultimate goal, anxiety over change is reduced and energy will be channeled to contribute to the company’s success.
Explaining the restructuring process and how the company plans to go about it is an example of how management can communicate openly with workers. If employees are transferred from the customer service department to the sales department, workers might suffer anxiety because they fear layoffs could be approaching. However, a company might just be temporarily reallocating existing resources to gain additional clients in the interim, eventually returning staff to the customer service department. Without an explanation, workers might experience unnecessary anxiety because they perceive the move as a threat to their future at the company.
- Train, Train and Train
Training might be necessary to reduce anxiety for customer service staff transferred to the sales department. While customer service staff might naturally be people persons, this doesn’t mean they understand or know how to sell the company’s product. Management might consider using self-paced, independent computer training models, internal mock sales calls or job shadowing with seasoned sales staff as methods to train. Employees armed with knowledge will feel confident and motivated to perform their job because they know their employer is contributing to their success.
- Provide Mentors
Mentoring an employee provides him or her with many one-on-one benefits that group or self-instruction do not. Some employees learn better working through problems with a mentor because they can ask a more experienced worker to provide tips and insight. Tips can be customized based on the employee’s learning styles (listening, written or spoken instruction). Employee strengths and weaknesses can be identified and addressed more rapidly by having the employee perform their new tasks under supervision of the mentor. This quickly identifies what they excel at and what they need to work on. For example, customer service reps training for sales can see what software they need help with and what to emphasize in a sales pitch.
What Are the Results of Having Motivated Employees?
Harris Interactive conducted a survey of 2,044 workers and found that 53 percent of motivated employees are likely to work longer for an appreciative boss. The study also determined that 81 percent of respondents work harder when their work was recognized by their immediate supervisor. Motivated employees are an integral part of an organization’s profitability.