Improving employee motivation

Improving employee motivation is a concern for many organisations, considering employee engagement dropped in 2021 for the first time in a decade. Ensuring employees are motivated and engaged at work is crucial for individual and organisational success.

Numerous factors can affect work motivation, and these can vary for each individual. The CIPD, however, have suggested the following common factors, amongst others, that can influence employee motivation, following a meta-analysis of studies on this topic.


Work Autonomy

Work autonomy gives employees the freedom to work in a way that best suits them. Employee autonomy isn’t about working in isolation but instead allowing employees to make their own decisions on how they work with the support of management. This promotes a high-trust environment and cannot happen if leaders are prone to micromanaging.

As stated in the report, “human beings have a basic psychological need for autonomy that, when fulfilled, leads to a positive motivational state that enables professional growth and wellbeing.”


Perceived Supervisory Support

Perceived supervisory support is about whether an employee believes their manager cares about them and values their work. The perception of supervisory support relies heavily on how present a manager is for their team. Some key characteristics of strong supervisory support include reliability, freely giving praise, and providing constructive feedback. Supervisors play a crucial role in influencing the motivation of employees, creating a positive work environment that encourages employees to perform their best.


Goal Setting

Accomplishing goals that have been set out by management or the individual has a positive effect on work motivation. Achieving goals, particularly goals that are important to the employee, is rewarding and can help to boost motivation. Professional development goals, for example, can help empower employees in their roles by having the right skills and increased confidence to do their job.


Work motivation fluctuates naturally over time, so it must be taken into consideration that when some employees are feeling less motivated than usual, it may not be work-related but instead a natural loss of motivation that will soon return.

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