Employee motivation — definition, advantages, and measures
Published November 19, 2021

Employee motivation — definition, advantages, and measures

Why is motivating employees so important? 

The Economic Psychology Society has evaluated studies that show that motivating employees has a variety of effects, on the one hand on the performance and health of the individual, but also on the entire company. 

Motivated employees 

  • produce a higher work output,
  • are more innovative,
  • have fewer accidents and
  • are sick less often.

Company with motivated employees, 

  • have less fluctuation,
  • are more productive and profitable,
  • are more competitive and
  • can look forward to higher customer satisfaction.

The latest Gallup Engagement Index 2020 also shows why motivating employees is so important: “5.7 million employees have resigned. The economic costs due to internal resignation amount to between 96.1 and 113.9 billion euros”. It is therefore worth taking a closer look at the topic of motivating employees and developing strategies to increase employee motivation.

How is motivating employees defined? 

There are many everyday uses of the terms “motivation” and “motivating employees.” It is not uncommon to simply equate a lack of performance with a lack of motivation. But this falls far short of the mark. Stangl, the encyclopedia for psychology and education, defines motivation as follows:There are many everyday language uses of the terms “motivation” and “employee motivation”. It is not uncommon to simply equate a lack of performance with a lack of motivation. But this falls far too short. Stangl, the encyclopedia for psychology and education, defines motivation as follows:

Definition of motivation

Motivation refers to processes in which certain motives are activated and converted into actions. This gives behaviour a direction towards a goal, a level of intensity and a sequence of events. A person’s motivation to pursue a particular goal depends on situational incentives, personal preferences, and their interaction. (Stangl, 2021) .

In concrete terms, this means for motivating employees: in addition to personal preferences, it is incentives that the employer can specifically and actively set in order to increase the motivation of employees. The Gabler Wirtschaftslexikon therefore also describes motivating employees as an “exertion of influence by the manager or the company on the employee to persuade him to maintain, develop or (fundamentally) change his performance behaviour and/or performance results.” A distinction is made between two fundamentally different types of motivation:

Intrinsic employee motivation

An intrinsically motivated employee draws from an inner motivation. He or she is driven, for example, by the enjoyment of the task, a sense of satisfaction due to the meaningfulness of the work, or the pleasure of his or her own further development as a result of the task. 

Extrinsic employee motivation

Extrinsically motivated employees either strive for a reward or make an effort to avert a disadvantage. Thus, fear of being fired can lead to increased performance just as much as praise and recognition or the prospect of a raise. Whereby the strategy of avoiding negative consequences never has as long-lasting a motivating effect as the prospect of positive incentives.Extrinsic motivators either seek a reward or strive to avert a disadvantage. Fear of dismissal can therefore lead to an increase in performance just as much as praise and recognition or the prospect of a pay rise. However, the strategy of avoiding negative consequences never has as long-lasting a motivating effect as the prospect of positive incentives.

Young employee in a nice office environment

5 effective measures for motivating employees

Positive incentives that come from the outside are obvious as important motivating factors. But intrinsic motivation of employees can also be influenced by the manager. Here you will find tips on both forms of motivation. Even if you already know one or the other measure, are you actually already implementing it as consistently as possible? Perhaps the list of effective measures will also help you to implement existing good intentions for motivating employees:Positive incentives that come from outside are obvious as important motivational factors. However, the intrinsic motivation of employees can also be influenced by the manager. Here you will find tips on both forms of motivation. Even if you already know one or the other measure, do you actually implement it as consistently as possible? Perhaps the list of effective measures will also help you to implement existing good intentions for employee motivation:

  1.  Motivating employees through meaningful incentives

It doesn’t always have to be the salary increase. Incentives that cost little or nothing can also increase your employees’ motivation. Free drinks, a weekly shared breakfast or a lovingly arranged fruit basket in the meeting room – all of these express appreciation that motivates. The motivation lies less in a free apple than in the gesture that conveys: “I want you to feel good.” Those who feel they are perceived as a person and know that the service they provide is considered an important contribution feel more closely connected to the company. And that, in turn, leads to high and long-lasting motivation. 

TIP: Check every incentive for added value that promotes health and/or image.

  1. Motivating employees through open and transparent communication

Open communication at eye level not only expresses appreciation, it also promotes understanding. If you put yourself in the other person’s shoes, you choose the right time to talk and express yourself in a way that the other person can understand. This reduces misunderstandings, which can be frustrating and, in the worst case, very expensive in the work process. Those who are regularly informed feel taken seriously, valued and don’t do work for free – all of which increases motivation. The Gallup Engagement Index of 2019 has collected concrete figures on this. Emotional commitment to the company increases if employees have had a feedback meeting in the last 12 months.

TIP: Schedule regular employee reviews as early as the beginning of 2022. Increase not only the number but also the quality of appraisal interviews to identify individual performance potential.

  1. Motivating employees through advancement

The Gallup Engagement Index 2020 states: managers unfortunately forget the strengths of their employees* in the pandemic. According to the study, 30 percent of employees do not find that their strengths and positive qualities are in focus. That means there’s still a lot of untapped potential here in terms of motivating employees. Those who promote the strengths of their team can draw on more expertise. And additionally promotes motivation. And this is twofold: on the one hand, employees feel more emotionally committed who feel supported (28 percent vs. 12 percent) when it comes to making better use of digital technologies, for example. And secondly, they enjoy their work more. After all, those who know and can do more are more successful, which makes work more fun.

TIP: Set further training impulses yourself. Use employee appraisals to make your training program more efficient (see point 3). 4.

  1. Ensure a good working atmosphere

If you feel good at work, you can devote your energy to your work. For most employees, the working atmosphere determines whether they feel connected to the company. Very practical things can contribute to this, such as a comfortable office chair, but also appreciative communication, a corporate philosophy that actively prevents bullying, or regular team-building measures. What makes your team feel good? Just ask, see also point 2 “open communication”.

TIP: A simple measure to make your employees feel good at their workplace is to give them the freedom to design their own workplace.

Employees measure their e times during running exercises
  1. Motivation employees through health promotion at the workplace

Physical well-being is the basis for being motivated to do one’s work every day. Modern occupational health management (OHM) has several positive effects. It not only promotes health, but also loyalty to the company. Occupational health management is therefore also an important factor in motivating employees. Occupational health management measures can be discounts at a gym, but also joint activities or sporting friendly competitions. 

Are you interested in modern digital occupational health management? Are you looking for a simple solution to offer incentives to your employees? Would you like to do more for team building? Are you looking for ways to increase employee loyalty?

We would be happy to inform you about the various possibilities of the Changers CO2 fit app. The platform for your corporate health management that combines climate protection and health promotion and motivates your employees in a fun way.

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