Is Your Motivation Approach Demotivating Your Employees?


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Employees are one of the most integral parts of any organization. Having a motivated and engaged workforce is the ultimate goal for every business in order to efficiently run their business.

However, according to research by Gallup, 70% of the employees feel demotivated and disengaged at work. The matter of concern here is how prevalent is this lack of motivation, and to what extent is it impacting your employees. I am sure that you would not want to be working with a dull and demotivated workforce and have already built up strategies to energize them.

But did you ever think that these strategies can actually end-up demotivating them? Are you still wondering if this could even be possible? Let’s explore this in the blog further.

What Is Your Best Motivation Strategy?

Now let’s first discuss the most common motivational strategies that are widely utilized by many companies across the globe. One of which is the reward and recognition program. You invest your time and effort in developing an effective reward and recognition program to identify and reward the best performer for boosting their morale and inspiring them to keep improving the pace of the work.

Is Your Motivation Approach Demotivating Your Employees

Nonetheless, studies have shown that this might not always work out to create the same feeling and, in turn, result in generating adverse effects. Let me put it this way; what about the rest of the workforce who also put in a lot of effort to accomplish the goals? Yes, they will definitely be demotivated for not being acknowledged for their contribution. And how will this help you keep your employees motivated? Hence, you first eliminate the demotivating factors rather than introducing ambiguous motivational factors.

Now, this is where you need to identify the right motivating factors based on employee behavior that will support you to increase their morale.

Discovering Motivational Factors

Basically, motivational factors consist of two types as specified below:

1. Intrinsic Factors

An individual, certainly, is responsible for motivating their own self to some extent but can accelerate it further by creating an environment that allows them to grow internally and progress in their path. The intrinsic factors refer to the inherent desires of motivation and learning that the employees have without anyone influencing them.

2. Extrinsic Factors

Extrinsic factors are basically the external factors that you need to motivate your team, such as appreciations, bonuses, time offs etc. to constantly keep them energize and inspire them to perform better.

However, these factors solely depend on the individual and team characteristics that you can determine clearly based on their behavior. Once you know the traits of your employees, you can come up with an effective mixture of these factors that can help you in motivating them the right way.

Let’s Do It the Old School Way:

To ease your burden, we have compiled some remarkable theories that can be utilized to develop an effective motivation strategy through the steps specified below:

1. Eliminate the Demotivating Factors

According to Psychologist Frederick Herzberg, the first step towards motivating your employees is eliminating the demotivating factors from the work environment and then move on to create a satisfaction environment. Further, in his Motivation-Hygiene Theory, he clearly explains that employees often encounter dissatisfaction from various factors such as invasive supervision, lack of job security, organization policies etc.

You should first address and resolve these issues rather than trying to motivate them directly. Once you get rid of these dissatisfying factors, you can start building your motivation strategy, which will now be more effective.

2. Evaluate Your Assumptions

Your perception of your employees or your team greatly influences the way you manage them. For instance, do you feel that they better prefer working independently without your intrusion, or they need to be constantly supervised?

Well, before you answer that, let me tell you that these two opinions form the basis of the Theory X and Theory Y motivational concept.

According to Theory X, managers are the drivers and have authority over their team. Under this concept, managers assume that their employees need constant supervision in order to attain their goals by motivating them through extrinsic factors of motivation.

On the contrary, Theory Y states that managers consider delegating responsibility to their employees, and each employee can make a valuable contribution towards organizational growth.

In a nutshell, your perspective of motivation towards your team impacts how you approach them. Therefore, it is very significant to learn and analyze your employee behavior and identify the factors that motivate them before creating a blueprint.

3. Personalize and Redesign Your Approach

Everyone in the team is different with distinctive characteristics and preferences. Once you have a clear idea about the factors that are helpful to motivate each of your employees, you can go ahead and adopt a motivational approach to implement your strategy. Make sure that you select the right theory for the individuals based on their traits.

  • Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: It basically specifies the five levels of needs every individual employee has, right from the basic to the self-fulfillment needs, forming a hierarchy. These are depicted through a pyramid, starting with the basic needs from the bottom, which are – physiological needs, safety needs, belongingness needs, esteem needs, self-actualization needs. You can start by addressing the employee needs through each level of the pyramid to make sure that they are satisfied and motivated to reach the next level.
  • McClelland’s Human Motivation Theory: The McClelland’s Motivation Theory is slightly different from the others. This theory implies that every individual has three distinctive drivers – Achievement, Affiliation and Power, one of these being the dominant factor that influences them drastically. When you design your motivation, strategy based on the dominant factors of the individuals of your team, it is likely to be more effective.
  • Amabile and Kramer’s Progress Theory: This theory sheds light on how small wins can motivate people to progress and achieve more in the journey ahead. It suggests that you need to provide six things – clear goals and objectives, autonomy, resources, time, support, and opportunity to learn from the failure.

4. Be A Transformational Leader

Once you establish a powerful motivational strategy, the next step should be towards evaluating your leadership style. And this begins with creating an engaging environment that enables your employees to work efficiently, attain the set goals and build good relationships with the team members. Leadership skills are very significant as they derive the way you manage your employees and produce results. Make sure you spend an ample amount of time every day to develop your own skills and become a transformational leader.

Be A Transformational Leader

When you adopt the right approach to motivate your employees, there is nothing stopping you from paving your way to a well-balanced and successful future of the business.


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