You can try to motivate employees with slogans and bonuses. But companies can’t achieve true excellence if their employees don’t know why they are coming to work every day.
Five ways to motivate your team to give their best at work each day
Employees are committed to companies when they believe in the organization’s mission. They also embrace projects that align with their values and perform well if they feel appreciated. These insights come from a new survey of more than 2,000 full-time workers conducted by Robert Half Management Resources, an international staffing firm headquartered in Menlo Park, California. To gauge workers’ commitment to their jobs, the survey asked respondents whether they would continue working for their current companies if they won $10 million in a lottery.
The survey found that 78 percent of employees are committed to staying with their companies–a positive sign overall. The winning-the-lottery question revealed some nuances: Older workers, for example, are more likely to stay than younger ones. While 80 percent of those 45 and older said, they would stay with their employers if they won the lottery, only 75 percent of respondents ages 30 to 44 would remain loyal. Specific industries also produced different results: A higher percentage of those employed in the public sector (83 percent) and manufacturing, industrial, and transportation (80 percent) industries said they would stay loyal if they won the lottery. Those in the health care sector had lower percentages of staying at their jobs after a big cash windfall.
An evenly positive outlook for worker commitment was found when employees were asked whether they would still work hard even if their pay was reduced by 40 percent. According to the survey, improved pay is the No. 1 reason people move or switch jobs, and about 67 percent of respondents said they would continue working hard even if their compensation were cut significantly. Thirty-nine percent of those surveyed believe that pay should be increased every year even if business conditions remain flat in the company’s industry.
“Companies take note: In a challenging economy, workers expect to be compensated for their efforts, and they are not afraid to ask for it at the bargaining table,” says Steve Dwyer, senior manager of Robert Half Management Resources. “While pay remains an important motivator in attracting and retaining employees, other factors also influence their level of commitment.”
Dwyer cites five key components that all employers should consider when trying to motivate their employees:
1. Employees are committed if they believe in a company’s mission and values. When asked about the most important factor in staying with an employer, 36 percent of respondents said it is the organization’s mission or values. Recruiting the right people for a job is essential, but Dwyer notes that training them on what they are expected to do and how they will help the business flourish must also be emphasized.
2. Employees embrace projects that align with their values and perform well when appreciated by management. When asked what would motivate them to work harder and stay with their current employers, 32 percent of respondents cited a more challenging project.
“The assignment should be based on the employee’s skills and strengths, but it also must align with his or her interests and values,” Dwyer explains. “Accomplishing something that the worker thinks is important or likes to do will lead to greater job satisfaction and a higher level of commitment.”
3. Employees feel appreciated when they receive praise for their contributions. When workers are praised by management, it tends to give them more confidence in what they do–and, thus, improves performance and productivity. Among survey respondents, 28 percent said that they work harder at their jobs when their managers appreciate them.
4. Employees feel valued when they have the opportunity to recommend new products or services that improve customer satisfaction. The ability to make recommendations is a big perk for workers, according to 27 percent of those surveyed.
“Employees want some level of control over their work–including the ability to make recommendations for how to improve service, products, and operations,” Dwyer says. “Companies that allow this perk tend to have more committed employees who are striving to achieve specific goals.”
5. Employees feel valued when they receive personal assistance from managers or are provided with career opportunities. Career development and growth are important to 25 percent of employees, according to the survey findings.
“This perk can serve as a powerful motivator for current workers because it helps them develop new skills that will improve their effectiveness or allow them to move into a higher position within the company,” Dwyer says.
While few workers are willing to stay with their employers for a paycheck alone, salary remains an important factor in attracting and retaining employees. Base pay is the No. 1 reason people move or switch jobs, according to the survey. Still, approximately 67 percent of respondents said they would continue working hard even if their compensation were cut significantly.
“Employees have high expectations when it comes to receiving compensation for their work,” Dwyer says. “It is important for companies to create a pay structure that takes into consideration both the financial and non-financial factors that motivate workers.”
How does your organization stand up in terms of motivating employees?
Do you have what it takes to hire the right people for the job, train them properly and then keep them around?
How can your company improve its recruitment, selection, and retention practices?