Motivation Techniques for Personnel Management
A happy company is a productive company.
It has been scientifically proved: people who are happier in their work are more productive and help to improve company results. Regardless of the size of the company, being able to motivate workers and ensuring that they feel a part of the company is more important than ever these days. A happy company is a productive company. However, in countries like Spain there is still long way to go.
Large companies of the latest generation are not alien to this reality, and, as such, have spent many years investing in staff welfare policies which have allowed them to increase the level of employee satisfaction by some 37%, having a direct impact on productivity and company performance. Obviously, Google doesn’t do anything for nothing. Its employees are happy; the company functions better. Investing in the welfare of the employees is to invest in results and productivity.
Investing in welfare is to invest in productivity
Investing in motivation is to invest in results. This is clearly shown in a study by a team of researchers from the University of Warwick (UK), led by Professor Andrew Oswald: if an employee feels satisfied, they are more involved in the company and work much better, being up to 12% more productive in the daily life.
While it is true that Spain is increasingly placing more importance on employee motivation, achieving the level of employee satisfaction and the bond that exists between the company and the worker in neighbouring countries remains a pending issue.
In fact, according the Study of Employee Welfare and Motivation in Europe (2015) carried out annually by Edenred and Ipsos, up to 4 out of every 10 Spanish workers have no wish to continue working for their present company. A fact, which, no doubt, reflects that much still needs to be done in this essential field, especially at a time when, as a result of the recent economic situation, workers have been feeling as if they were merely numbers, not people with talent, experience and skills.
What motivates employees within a company?
Motivating employees so that they feel happy in their work in order to create a good working environment favouring results is neither a Utopia nor a policy exclusive to large companies such as Google. It is a fundamental task of any business, regardless of their sector, size and staff. So, what does an employee need to feel motivated and happy within your company?
Pay is not everything
It is clear that feeling satisfied with the salary helps a lot. However, definitely and counterintuitively, the salary is much less than everything. A well-paid employee can feel extremely dissatisfied within their company and, on the other hand a not so well-paid employee may be happier and more productive thanks to a series of other incentives.
In fact, according to a survey conducted by The Association of Accounting Technicians (ATT), 8 out of 10 employees would turn down a pay rise if it meant having to change working environments to one in which they would not feel comfortable. Feeling valued at their workplace, working in a good atmosphere, not being under undue pressure and being able to reconcile work with their family life are some of the determining factors to make workers feel motivated regardless of their salary.
Valuing the work of each employee, their ability, time and effort dedicated to the company is of vital importance for the worker to feel a part of the business.
The reverse can be a source of frustration that will lead to a series of demands by the employees in order to try to compensate in some way for that non-recognition. For example, according to an experiment conducted by Dan Ariely, Professor of Psychology and Behavioural Economics and an expert on work incentives, the first reaction of a worker who feels undervalued is to ask for a pay rise. The employee will want more money to continue doing a job which has value, but no recognition.
With greater confidence; increased performance
Due reliance on the individual skills of the employees is another determining factor, as being properly engaged in a stressful situation is going to depend upon how the employee feels, according to the findings of another of Professor Dan Ariely’s experiments. If the worker feels “challenged”, they will think that they can handle the situation, but if they feel “threatened” , they will find the situation overwhelming and unable to overcome it.
Therefore, the more confident in their abilities the worker is, the more motivated they will feel and the better to confront the challenging situations which can arise on a daily basis. It is essential to identify, recognize and rely on the skills that each worker has.
The results of the work done generates higher productivity
Knowing that their work is helping the development of the company, automatically generates a feeling of satisfaction in the worker and, consequently, leads to increased performance. Knowing they are a cog in the company wheel and feeling that everybody is playing their part in the results is essential for achieving and maintaining motivation
Expectations of progress and professional development
As we have seen, pay rises and benefits related to meal and gift vouchers are not the only incentives capable of stimulating and promoting motivation within the employee. Together with other motivational factors, such as those mentioned above, recognition and confidence, they are key to enhancing professional development.
If a worker does not feel they can progress and continue to acquire new skills and responsibilities, they will not feel motivated, or will lose motivation. Making much or little effort does not matter as there is neither a goal to achieve nor any incentive. They need to know that there is a road with new goals ahead which will motivate to strive daily in order to achieve them. It is very important that the employee does not feel stagnated with no expectation of growing within the company.
Employees are people, not machines
Forming a team is not incompatible with each member feeling what they are: an individual with all the factors that they bring day to day which contribute to the results of the company, and who has specific skills and responsibilities.
The happiest and, therefore, most productive workers are those who feel they are treated as individuals and whose company cares about them as people, and not just merely machines on a production line.
Workers are people who have their own lives and situations, who become ill, get married, have children, experience problems and unforeseen events, etc. This is why it is important, within Human Resources management, to evaluate all possible situations and try to strengthen those emotional bonds that affect the worker feeling appreciated for who they are and what they bring and not just a replaceable number, since in this way they will feel much more involved and be willing to play more than just their part.
Reconciling work with family
Directly related to the previous point is the great unresolved issue in Spain of reconciling one’s working life with that of the family. The constant problems of trying to balance these important facets of the life of any worker end up resulting in high levels of dissatisfaction causing a lack of motivation.
According the abovementioned Study of Employee Welfare and Motivation in Europe (2015), over 40% of Spanish workers are very dissatisfied with the opportunities allowed them by their companies to balance their private lives with their working lives.
Spanish workers want the same conditions as their European neighbours and to be able to get out of the office to spend more time with their family. However, until that time arrives, the least they need is some small gestures from their companies towards that end.
Respect for schedules
Flexibility should never be in the hands of the Company, above all when talking about work schedules. A happy, motivated worker will always be prepared to give more and have greater flexibility with their working hours, but, as with everything, a balance must be maintained.
It is important to endeavor to respect office hours, not adding meetings at the last minute when they are not absolutely necessary. Feeling that your schedule is not respected is very wearing on the worker, and it is also necessary to take into account the emergence of the new technologies has led to “being” at work 24 hours a day. This uninterrupted communication via mobile phone, computer, tablet, etc. has made the employee feel that they can never disconnect from work. Text messages, WhatsApp communications, e-mails and other invasive forms of communication outside office hours should only be used in an emergency.
Satisfaction according to the type of enterprise
The values, trust and mission of the company must be reflected in everyday life. The clearer, more defined and consistent these points are, the greater is the employee’s motivation, according to findings highlighted in The HOW Report undertaken by the Boston Research Group and the University of Southern California.
From this, and based on the conclusions of this study, there are 3 types of company:
Blind obedience: these companies are based on an absolutely vertical structure. The boss gives the orders and the staff abide by them without being able to participate in or comment on any aspect of them.
Informed submission: this type of company also has a vertical hierarchy, but has clear rules and policies both on “punishment” and performance recognition. The worker knows what to expect and achieves without being especially motivated.
Self-management: in this type of company the employees are considered a part of the company and have the freedom and confidence to express opinions and act. The basis is the trust placed in them. Both the company and the workers are guided by common values and goals.
Self-managed enterprises are those that have the highest percentage of motivated employees. The workers are more loyal, feel more achievement, have higher performance levels, are more innovative, etc. They are more involved in the company because they feel a aprt of it and are committed to the aim of obtaining the maximum benefit.
However, the reality is that only 11% of companies are promoting these working conditions based on generating this kind of confidence in the employee. Without doubt, much still remains to be done.
The challenge of maintaining motivation
Motivation is not just to be generated through techniques and conditions that the worker can perceive as incentives within the company, but it must also be maintained, and this can be a real challenge. According to a Harvard Business School study, 85% of employees lose their motivation after 6 months and it has been shown that to achieve team motivation, it is essential the head of the company believes in the importance of its benefits.
It is the team leader’s mission to ensure that their workers do not become bored or demotivated, or feel undervalued. They should transmit the company values and ensure that the employees identify with these values; they should recognize their work, be flexible and generate confidence in each and every member of the team. Ultimately, they should ensure that the employee is happy to come to work for more than just financial reward.
Do you want to increase your company’s productivity? Motivate your staff.