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Are You Making Sure Your Employees Are Motivated? Lack of motivation among the workforce will cost your company, research suggests

By Vaibhav Joshi

You're reading Entrepreneur Asia Pacific, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

We all know it can be hard to find the motivation within you to spend all day sat in front of a computer doing the same things again and again. Whether it's uncooperative co-workers, a bad boss, poor working conditions or just a heavy, boring workload, there are a lot of factors that can rob you of your motivation to come to work every day ready to perform. A recent study from global employee engagement company Reward Gateway seeks to understand the employee's perspective on the matter of motivation, and what their employers can do to help the situation.

The Worrying Situation

In their study, the researchers asked 5,812 employees across the U.K., U.S., and Australia how they felt about their current job. Their questions included some about why they were doing it, how they felt about their boss, and whether they felt sufficiently motivated to come to work every day.

Worryingly, the researchers found that seven in every 10 employees felt that their employees should do more to motivate them. Over half (54 per cent) of the American employees surveyed admitted that their job just "paid the bills' while a mere 13 per cent agreed that they had an inspirational boss. Only 23 per cent of the employees surveyed felt that they were excited and challenged by their job.

Causes And Effects Of Demotivation

Based on their findings, the researchers came up with a list of reasons that might cause a lack of motivation. Lack of recognition for their work turned out to be the most common factor among American workers, with 69 per cent citing this reason. Feeling invisible or undervalued at the workplace was second on the list with a 43 per cent vote, with having a bad boss or manager rounding off the top three with a 42 per cent vote.

The alarming effects a lack of motivation can have on American employees were also listed out by the researchers. The most common effect was a decline in mood, with 62 per cent employees admitting to this. 46 per cent reported a drop in productivity while 45 per cent even revealed a negative impact on their mental health. Even the quality of work suffered, with 37 per cent admitting to not performing to the best of their abilities while 29 per cent reported that their diet suffered as a result.

These findings back up the results of a previous study carried out by researchers at Penn State University. Published in Journals of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences in May 2018, the study suggests that simply believing that your day is going to be stressful when you wake up is enough to make you less productive regardless of how the day actually turns out. "Humans can think about and anticipate things before they happen, which can help us prepare for and even prevent certain events," said co-author Jinshil Hyun in a university release. "But this study suggests that this ability can also be harmful to your daily memory function, independent of whether the stressful events actually happen or not."

How Can You Keep Your Employees Motivated?

The Reward Gateway study also looked into what a company can do to ensure that its employees remain motivated. They found that 45 per cent of the participants credited a good working relationship with their team members as the reason for staying motivated, which was the most popular reason. Talking about areas that need immediate attention, 41 per cent of the participants said that being appreciated for their hard work would contribute towards them feeling motivated.

Talking about the research, Reward Gateway's Group Director of Product & Client Success Rob Boland said, "It's clear that employers can be doing more to motivate and engage their people in the right way. From our research and our experience with thousands of businesses with whom we've worked, the companies driving the greatest commercial results are the best at addressing employee motivation. These businesses centre their engagement strategies on strategically recognizing their employees to boost visibility for great work, communicating openly and honestly with them regardless of location or demographic, and surveying their people regularly to understand how to constantly improve and adapt their strategy."

Vaibhav Joshi

Entrepreneur Staff

Features Writer, Entrepreneur Asia-Pacific


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