Staff motivation is key and everyone has good and bad days, but when employees are deeply dissatisfied with their job, it can have long-term effects on revenues. From poor customer service to lower productivity, low motivation in your workforce will impact business performance if it’s not tackled quickly.

Worryingly, a study into employee motivation in the UK found that almost half of British workers felt neutral or negative feelings towards their job. One of the main reasons included too much pressure from employers.

Looking more closely at the results, those aged between 45 and 54 were the least motivated, while workers in the 25 to 34 age group were the most highly motivated.

However, there was real cause for concern over staff aged from 18-24, with just one in five (21%) saying that they felt motivated at work.

Another study estimated that low motivation and poor health cost the UK economy £6 billion, or the equivalent of 0.4% of GDP.

So how can you deal with the problem of unmotivated workers? The first mission is to spot motivational issues among your workforce. Here are some of the warning signs.

4 tell-tale signs your staff lack motivation

When your staff lack motivation, it may not be as obvious as employees slumped over their desk – here are some of the warning signs that your staff you may not have picked up on:

  1. Working in isolation

Unmotivated staff tend to keep themselves to themselves. You can always tell when someone is passionate about something because they tend to have an opinion about it. If an employee has taken themselves off into a corner, preferring to work as an individual rather than as a team, then it could be that they’re no longer motivated by their work.

  1. Frequent days off

It’s a sure sign that a staff member is demotivated when they start having impromptu days off work on a regular basis. An increase in sick days off work coupled with the flimsiest of excuses points to someone who is disengaged from their job and no longer feels excited about coming to work.

  1. Bad timing

Another red flag is when staff continually turn up late for work. They might also take a few extra minutes at lunchtime and maybe leave before it’s time to go home. If your employees are constantly watching the clock, they’re almost certainly demotivated about their job.

  1. Productivity drops off

One of the first things you might notice when staff are not motivated is that output falls. When staff are disengaged from their job, the quality or quantity of their work suffers. A lack of motivation can spread through a business like wildfire – if one staff member is working only at half pace and gets away with it, then other employees could start to slack off, too.

How to motivate employees

It’s said that often an employee doesn’t leave the job, they leave their manager. Employee motivation is often driven by management, so it’s important to show staff that they’re valued.

In a survey by Gallup, it was revealed that 70% of an employee’s motivation is influenced by their manager. Management can certainly kill the mood for staff – some of the biggest problems are favouritism, hiring and promoting the wrong people, and making unnecessary rules.

The key to motivating staff is to be strong, but not to rule with an iron fist or you risk losing your employees’ trust. Good communication is highly important, too – and remember that it’s a two-way street.

Of course, you can show staff that you appreciate them with a range of employee benefits, including staff bonuses and gym membership schemes.

Try to balance out benefits like these with non-monetary incentives such as respect and gratitude for the work they do – after all, your staff are some of your greatest assets.

In the staff motivation study, 82% of those who said they felt motivated at work revealed that they received some kind of recognition or reward for doing a good job. Their key motivators included:

  • Good work-life balance
  • A motivational boss who’s good at their job
  • Great peers
  • My boss says thank you for the work I do
  • A stimulating office environment

What you stand to gain from a motivated workforce

When your staff are motivated, you’ll notice the difference within the work environment. There’s a buzz about the place and it’s full of creative ideas, with staff that go the extra mile in their role. Some of the biggest rewards you stand to gain are:

  • Increased engagement
  • Better problem solving
  • Creativity
  • Greater customer satisfaction
  • Employee retention

When all’s said and done, there are lots of factors that can influence employees’ attitudes to work. You can achieve a more motivated workforce by taking a holistic view of the environment you have to offer – a conducive workplace culture is a good first step towards reinvigorating your staff.

Benefits package to attract more applicants and motivate employees

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