Employee motivation and a proper employee motivation strategy is probably a company’s biggest asset. A highly motivated team that’s ready to rock’n’roll can outperform competitors that seem unbeatable on a fact sheet. Money, market position, or brand — that are all crucial factors indeed. But nothing comes close to motivation.
And I know, I’m not telling you something new. Actually, it’s been the same story for centuries. Accordingly, companies invested heavily in creating an employee motivation strategy and deploying measures to increase employee motivation.
Although Companies Heavily Invested In Employee Motivation The Majority Of Employees Doesn’t Feel Motivated
However, when studying available reports, it is evident that most of the employee motivation strategies either don’t work or are executed poorly. One very famous report from 2017 that focused on U.S. workers found out that 70% (SEVENTY!) of employees are either unhappy or perform work without enthusiasm. Only 29% of employees perform their daily work with passion.
On top of that, the current pandemic situation and its aftermath are most likely to worthen those numbers. Lockdowns, reduced social interactions, or remote work will definitely double-down on negative motivation.
But how does that fit together? Companies that invest incredible amounts of money in defining and executing an employee motivation strategy — and those devastating numbers.
The Reason Why Your Employee Motivation Strategy Doesn’t Work Is Evident!
If you take a more in-depth look at surveys, studies, and strategical approaches, the problem becomes evident immediately.
First of all, employee motivation is tightly linked to a company’s culture. If you have a toxic culture that treats employees like shit, the best strategy won’t help you. So let’s assume you have a proper fundament and set the basics.
Most Employee Motivation Strategies Focus On Singular Events
Here’s the issue that has the most significant negative impact. Many companies still struggle with employee motivation because their strategy focuses on (mostly) singular events:
- Annual or bi-annual feedback sessions
- Annual team-building activities
- Monthly performance reports
- Annual bonus schemes
Of course, several companies try to establish processes that allow more frequent feedback and activities — but let’s be honest: Have you ever seen that working sustainably? I doubt.
However, I’m not saying that the measures mentioned-above are wrong. On the contrary, they are essential. The thing is that they won’t boost your employee motivation.
Employee Motivation Is No Annual Or Monthly Event!
Here’s why #1: Motivation is no annual or monthly event. Motivation has to happen every single day. Probably not every day to the same extent, but there’s nothing better than getting a motivational kickstart in the morning.
Information And Communication Is The Biggest Issue When It Comes To A Employee Motivation Strategy!
Here’s why #2: Once you carefully study why employees feel unmotivated, you quickly recognize that it comes down to two fundamental aspects: Information and communication. Depending on the survey, 50% to 70% of employees mention reasons related to information and communication as the root cause.
To give you some examples:
- They feel disconnected to the company and/or other departments
- Employees lack information about the current status
- They don’t feel well informed
- Communication between colleagues and managers is considered as poor
- Intransparent corporate goals and clarity about the organization’s strategy
Of course, there are other also other vital aspects (development opportunities, training, etc.) an employee motivation strategy has to cover. Nevertheless, I think we can agree that fixing the information and communication mismatch would already solve a considerable part of the problem.
What’s Needed To Fix The Problem?
First of all, I genuinely believe that companies have to accept that the way we consume information and communicate has massively changed the last years. Moreover, they have to incorporate that into their employee motivation strategy.
We are living in a world where information is only one second away. Communication has become informal and different. We like and share content, comment on posts — that’s how we communicate. Just think about the last time you sent out an email in your private life?
So for me, the solution to improved communication and information is —first and foremost— about digital approaches. It is about utilizing the right apps and creating content-at-scale!
Moreover, it is about providing employees the possibility to react, with likes, comments, and shares.
Adopting Social Media Concepts Is Key!
Actually, this is very simple. Why are people on Facebook, on Instagram, or Twitter the entire day? Because they want new information, updates — and have the possibility to react directly!
Accordingly, this is what companies must offer to their employees. They need digital —mobile-only— platforms where content is generated automatically and at scale. Subsequently, this has to be represented in their employee communication strategy.
Content-At-Scale & Contextual Communication
An employee motivation strategy must consider information and communication as a continuous process!
Moreover, they have to utilize such a platform to distribute content super-contextual to each individual continuously. Thereby, communication and information are no longer a thing that happens once a month or a year. On the contrary, it is a continuous process. And actually, a process that offers enormous new possibilities to drive emotions and motivation as well as knowledge, insights, and awareness.
I recently wrote an entire blog post about five steps companies have to take to go down that road. Make sure to check it out!