Keeping your employees happy and motivated isn’t always as easy as it sounds. Achieving and maintaining a well-motivated and efficient team can be a tricky operation: especially these days, as managers juggle the realities of a difficult and ever-changing economy with the needs of their staff.
One definition of motivation is:
‘Genuinely seeking out the wants, needs and desires of the other party - and then working with them to find solutions that meet both your needs and theirs.’
And one of the keys to achieving motivated employees is reducing the levels of absenteeism and lost working days. Recent research measures the cost of absenteeism around the world as the equivalent of 4 per cent of the world’s GDP. This has seen workplaces around the world shift their focus towards increased employee flexibility in the workplace and improved health benefits.
Many organisations now offer gyms and other exercise options for their staff - and also encourage the use of bicycles or public transport to get to work. This not only helps ‘save the planet’ - but helps keep employees fitter.
The other problem associated with absenteeism is that when workers are absent through sickness or mental health issues, it can often cause a ‘knock on effect’. This can occur when the remaining colleagues are forced to take on more and projects; thus, reducing productivity for the firm as a whole.
There is also the problem of the office ‘sickie’ – which can compound the incidence of ‘real’ sick days. According to recent research, although employees usually only take an average of seven to 10 working days a year off for medical reasons - the number of ‘sickies’ can greatly exacerbate this figure.
These days may be taken due to stress, boredom or tiredness; or simply to prolong an employee’s existing sick leave by ‘milking’ their absence for an extra day.
Motivated Workplace Culture
And team motivation is strongly linked to employee engagement, with a recent Gallup opinion poll finding that companies, which cultivated an environment of employee engagement, had more productive workers, happier customers, and a more profitable business. It also found engaged employees were more loyal, enthusiastic and productive – something most customers love. In fact, the impact of good customer engagement spreads far and wide within the organisation - pervading every aspect of the company culture. It also impacts the financial bottom line - and can help compound customer loyalty.
Therefore, it is something management teams should certainly count highly in their strategic and company planning. So what is it about some employees that makes them so engaged with their work and their organisation? Researchers have found that those most connected and ‘in sync’ with the company culture also have the best communication, dialogue, and levels of employee input. They value the simple connections and involvement - as well as being a part of the ‘bigger picture’. Engaged employees thrive when they bond with their colleagues – often spending regular social time with their co-workers outside of the workplace. Engaged employees are usually fairly easy to spot. They may be the ones who are the last to leave at the end of the day - or simply those who are always around the office - whatever time of day it is. Obviously, this definition can also apply to those with too much work, or an impending deadline! Yet, it is a proven fact that employees who are emotionally committed to their organisation and its success, are usually the ones that make the biggest impact on the organisation’s bottom line.
And good employee engagement also has many other advantages - including better employee retention. This is because it makes sense that the more engaged an employee is, the less likely they are to leave or look for jobs elsewhere.