What Motivates Employees?



Lack of praise and recognition are the biggest reasons for a loss of motivation among employees, a survey has found.

And it’s a growing problem, rising from around 50pc of respondents in 2014, to 59pc now, according to the latest Mazars’ external employee motivation survey. (Employee Motivation Survey 2016)

Overall, motivation levels are on the rise, with 81pc of respondents enthusiastically knuckling down to work.  A third of workers are more motivated this year than last year, thanks to changing roles, a new job, a bump in wages or a change in reporting structure.

But for the majority of those who just can’t seem to muster up the enthusiasm for work anymore, the problem lies with their bosses, and the latter’s apparent inability to recognise good work.  This issue has been gradually rising year-on-year, from 51pc in 2014 to 56pc last year and now 59pc.

“More than ever, employers need to do more to recognise and reward where an employee delivers results and desired behaviours,” the report stated.  “Demotivating management style continues to be an issue for employee motivation.”

The second demotivating stickler for workers is the style and attitude of management, and their inability to deal with unsatisfactory performers.  More than two thirds of respondents said that they don’t feel the management/leadership teams do enough to motivate them.

The Mazars survey was carried out during October with 500 respondents from a range of sectors in Ireland.  The mix of companies surveyed was large private companies/multinationals (22pc), public sector (45pc), not-for-profit organisations (7pc), SMEs (15pc), partnerships (8pc) and other organisations (3pc).

Personal satisfaction with their role at 67pc is again ranked as the highest motivating factor. And as the economy continues to improve and the employment market becomes more active, there is a greater focus among employees for a greater work/life balance (50pc), with financial benefits (48pc) also remaining high on the agenda.

“While the promise of tax cuts in our forthcoming general election is music to every employees’ ears, business leaders need to understand what other factors motivate their most valuable resource,” said Keith McCarthy, Mazars human resources director.

“In order to take advantage of the growth in the economy, having a strong, motivated workforce is important to ensure business objectives are achieved, absenteeism levels are kept low, productivity and turnover levels are satisfactory and attraction and retention strategies are effective.”

The views of employees towards mental health, and the attitude of their employers, are mixed in the survey.  The majority of respondents – 79pc – report that they are able to identify symptoms of mental ill health in colleagues and employees.

But a significant number – 61pc – also pointed out that they would not feel comfortable disclosing a mental illness to employers.  “Organisations should ensure that further training is provided to both employers and their staff in the area of supporting and managing colleagues with mental health issues, while also taking steps to adapt their culture to a more comfortable environment where staff can feel more open to discussing issues with colleagues,” the report said.

I am not telling you something you did not already know – “treat people like you would like to be treated yourself”  It costs nothing to be nice and to say thanks to your team that supports you.