As a manager, you have a certain amount of responsibility for the motivation and wellbeing of your workforce. For a team to function to the best of its ability, all members must be fully engaged and fully committed.

It is important to recognise that true engagement will mean different things to different people and to understand what really drives an individual’s motivation.

It is crucial to really listen and respond to your employees’ needs, to ensure high levels of engagement throughout your company. Recognising the warning signs of demotivation early and addressing them quickly, can help encourage employee contentment and talent retention.

If you fear that one of your employees may be lacking in motivation, here are a few common causes that could be at the root of the issue.

1.  Lack of flexibility

All employees have the legal right to request flexible working, whether this relates to the place of work (such as options for homeworking), type of contract, or start and finish times. However, as our Generation Fl-x study found, many members of the workforce, particularly the millennial generation, do not feel they are being given fair access to flexible working. 

In the current landscape, lack of flexibility is likely to be linked to working hours and times, or frustrations at not being able to return to the office as many continue to operate remotely. This is a challenge that is out of many employers’ control, but is important to recognise and work with your staff to reach a compromise in the at home working arrangements. 

Of course, there are also key workers and those that are unable to work from home. Click below to hear more about the challenges that employers are facing with regards to flexibility and tips on how to tackle them.


2. Short-term objectives with no career vision

In the majority of cases, money is merely one part of an employee’s motivation. Most people want to have clear career objectives in place to feel that there is progression for them within their organisation. Career visioning can be a useful process in setting clear, long-term goals for an employee so that they can proactively work towards projected outcomes.

3. Feeling under-valued

If an employee feels that their efforts are not being recognised or appreciated, they’ll soon begin to lack energy and commitment in their role. It’s important to celebrate successes and give credit where credit’s due. Try to make sure that achievements are rewarded – even if it’s just with a pat on the back.

In a remote and virtual working arrangement, these small but important recognitions can mean all the difference in how an employee is feeling in their role. 

4. No development opportunities

Regular training and development opportunities can help boost employee motivation and engagement. Most employees will value ongoing learning potential and the sense that they’re expanding and improving their skills and knowledge. If a workplace feels stagnant, non-progressive, and uninspired  your employees’ motivation levels will soon dwindle. Get regular feedback from your team to see where increased training or development opportunities would be best placed and appreciated.

The current home working arrangements present an opportunity for all businesses to introduce or revive development plans and training schedules. Download our free guide on how to develop employees in today’s landscape. 

5. Poor leadership

Effective leadership is an essential factor in the motivation of your staff. If strong leadership is lacking or is negatively affecting the outlook of the team  certain employees may start to feel demoralised.  Leaders must have a flexible, inclusive approach to managing a team and be able to communicate clearly whilst instilling confidence and focus. If a particular team or individual is lacking motivation in your business, it may be due to a lack of good management.

6. Conflict

Conflict in the workplace is hugely detrimental. Healthy debate is often productive, but it’s important to keep an eye out for any workplace intimidation or bullying. Some employees may feel worried to come forward about issues relating to a fellow colleague - which is where an anonymous employee survey may help to reveal any problem areas.

7. Unrealistic workload

It’s important to keep a check on the expectations and demands that are being placed upon your employees. If someone feels overburdened by a large, impossible workload – they can soon become disillusioned, stressed and lose motivation. Equally, if an employee has a workload that’s too light or not varied enough, they might quickly lose interest.

Read our article on the importance of good communication or browse more advice here

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