Employee Motivation: Facts and Myths

Most employers think that money is the only instrument used to motivate workers. This is proven by experts to be false. Here’s what motivates employees.

Employee motivation

Most companies want to believe they have much of the employee’s welfare taken care of and that they have the motivation factor sorted. But the fact is, when it comes to what employees want from their work experience – recognition, respect, trust, fair pay and a flexible schedule – many employers are clueless. There are many common misconceptions employers have about their employees. And we’d appreciate them in this article with the intention of changing the way you perceive all your employees.

In today’s cost-conscious environment of business coupled with major and minor depressions and recessions, and workers hardly getting any raise in spite of inflation, employers have to think outside the box, In order to attract, motivate and retain talent, they need to communicate non-monetary rewards such as flexible time, incentives of other forms that don’t cost the employer too much, yet mean a lot to the employee.

Related Employee Surveys

An Organizational Assessment Survey covered by groups of Human resource organisation in the United States which sought to accurately measure the overall health of an enterprise came out with an index for employee satisfaction. Results are summarized below. Though this survey was carried out in the United States, It is largely applicable to Ghanaian companies.

1. Myth: Money Is the Motivator:  Everyone goes to work to make money and having more is always nice. While money pays the bills, buys foodstuffs and more for pre-natal and ante-natal care, it doesn’t get to the core of why people go to work. There are many different reasons for working, with the most basic instinct being that it gives people a sense of fulfilment. Others are motivated by the sheer fact of helping others, accomplishing goals, or in some cases, loving what they do. “Employers believe that talented workers stick around mainly for pay and the benefits package at the company, one of the researches was quoted.” “Those same valued employees, however, report that what they want most is a boss they can trust, one who builds their self-esteem and treats them fairly.” Read more here

2. Myth: A Hands-Off Boss is ideal: Your workers want some freedom alright but they also want you to assign them. You should let them know whether they did it right or need some improvement. On the surface, the thought of a Hands off boss sounds good. The manager leaves the employee alone all day while sitting in the office until it’s time to go home. Much like directing a movie, the boss is the director of his or her employees. Failure to provide command and control at the job leaves employees feeling stranded and unproductive. And every employee satisfaction survey will tell company leaders that little or no feedback will leave workers with that underappreciated feeling.

3. Myth: Employees Just Don’t Care about the Company. They do care or some of them do care. Fact: Many employers think their staffs aren’t too concerned whether the company thrives or not, as long as they continue to receive a paycheck. In fact, it’s critical for worker morale that they feel proud of their company and of what they do. In a recent poll published in the Wall Street Journal, a news Agency in the United States, more than 70% of workers said they are personally motivated to help the company succeed and were willing to put in extra effort to make that happen. The report also said that workers remained engaged in their company’s success if the employer provides “strong leadership, advancement and development opportunities, and a sense of control over their work environment. Not all your employees are not concerned with your business progress or will give the cliché and sickening questions of “why should I kill myself for this business?  is it my father’s property”. There is a way to get employees to become passionate about the company. Read it here

4. Fact: Treat Employees Well and They Will Remain Loyal. It’s certainly easier to retain employees that are paid well, cared for, and respected for what they do. But loyal? There was a time when employees started a job and retired from the same company 30 years later with a gold watch in hand. Those days are long gone. Employees understand that mobility and versatility are important in today’s competitive environment. Employers expect employees to be enthusiastic and loyal, but when the slightest downturn hits, the first option for many employers these days is to hand out the pink slips. The message to the employee is that “you’re expendable,” which makes the notion of loyalty and commitment a pipe dream. You can also read my article on emotional intelligence of the employer. It sheds more light on winning the employee over by appealing to their emotions

5. Fact: Simple Touches Don’t Make a Difference. With personal incomes stagnant over years, creative thinking to boost employee morale has become a requirement. Some employers tend to underestimate the impact simple pleasures can have on unmotivated employees. “Employers often miss the importance of empowering front line managers and supervisors to be flexible in how they treat employees,” said Taylor a member of the research team. “Allowing an employee to leave early on occasion or to adjust the work schedule to accommodate a reliable worker sound logically, but too often are trumped by ‘company policy.’ Employers need to encourage and facilitate a strong bond between supervisors and employees and let leaders be flexibility experts, thereby contributing to worker satisfaction, productivity and retention.”

6. Fact: Immediate Boss Must Be the Problem. When workers are unhappy, company management tends to point the finger at the immediate boss. But employee satisfaction surveys continually show that large percentages of employees are positive about their immediate boss. The problem lies one step above, in middle management. Middle management is typically a dumping ground, as senior managers put the pressure on that area of the corporate structure to make tough decisions. When that happens, the immediate boss must communicate middle management’s decision to the rank-and-file. It’s a formula that constantly puts middle managers in the role as villains.

7. Fact: Work Environment is Secondary to Pay. The prevailing wisdom among many managers is that it’s not how you feel; it’s how fat your pay check is. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Employee surveys consistently show that the quality of the workplace has the most impact on the psyche. The relationships with co-workers, superiors and even the workplace surroundings are all factors that influence absenteeism, morale and, ultimately, how long they will remain on the job.

After reading this article it might turn out, that you perceived your employees wrongly. Maybe that’s the reason why you fail to understand them and what motivation lies beneath their performance. If you can make an appraisal of yourself and your management with this article and perhaps other as templates for your policy design, chances are that the relationship between you and your employees will take a turn for good.

Check out: Driving Employee engagement

Billings Tanna
Notification Bell