What are the Research-Based Proven Ways to Motivate and Enable Productive Employees?

Productive Employees

You hired some stellar people. Now, you want to ensure that they stick around. Well, of course, the salary and other benefits that your organization provides them are significant, but according to studies, these don’t top of the list of motivating factors. Instead, a couple of the most significant facets seem to be peer motivation and feeling encouraged and recognized.

Hence, it’s crucial to keep your employees motivated, whether you want to entice them to stay with you for the long duration or expect them to return to your business next season. In fact, research shows that an employee can’t turn out to be a high-performing one unless he/she feels motivated.

How can you truly motivate your employees?

Here are some science-based key tactics to follow:

1. Give Less Power to Top-Performers

When it comes to a team environment, there’s no substitute for collaboration. If a team works well together, the work gets done more efficiently, and also turns out to be of higher quality. Moreover, when the team members can function well together, they are more likely to stay motivated throughout a project. On the other hand, if the employees belong to an unbalanced team, they get discouraged and work less effectively.

How can you avoid creating such an unbalanced and ineffective team?

Potent research published in Harvard Business Review proves that the only way how you can create a well-balanced and inspired team is by giving less power and responsibility to top-performers.

According to a research study, just 3-5% of employees contribute to 20-35% of all value-added collaborations. It indicates that a tiny part of the team drives the team’s performance.

However, is it important who is driving performance, as long as the team is getting results?

Apparently, yes, it is. This phenomenon is known as escalating citizenship, and it can have some quite negative consequences on your team as a whole.

For the employees who tend to do the majority of the work, they might be facing some unintended consequences like increased stress, exhaustion, work, and family conflict, etc. The research further proves that such individuals experience the lowest career satisfaction scores that finally result in moving on to another organization or spreading the growing apathy in them to their colleagues.

The next question that arises is: How can you empower the top performers to stay engaged and not burn out?

A vital place to start is by redistributing responsibilities among all. Although the top-performers are expected to take on more work, assigning responsibilities to various team members is required to keep the skilled group satisfied. Also, you should recognize and reward those team members who actively assist the top performers. Failing to appreciate and acknowledge these employees can let the team end up noticing inequities.

2. Don’t Overdo on Spreading Positivity

There’s no doubt that an unhappy workforce is an unmotivated one. We all know that, and because of this, managers often overcompensate by avoiding any negative feedback and focus only on praising and positivity.

Of course, it is a good initiative as supporting a positive work environment is essential to keep employees motivated.

However, is it reasonable to have too much positivity around? Can it demotivate a team rather than stimulating it?

Well, according to research published in the Journal of Organizational Behavior, the answer is a resounding yes! In this study, it was proved that a very high level of positive impact leads to decreased proactive behaviors. The researchers of this study concluded this phenomenon as, “Positive affect can reach a level such that employees perceive that they are doing well and they don’t need to take initiatives, thereby reducing their proactive behaviors.”

Hence, if you want to inspire and motivate your team, you find ways to foster positivity, but not beyond a point. The authors of the above study noted that an intermediate level of positive affect is most beneficial for encouraging proactive behaviors.

According to another research by the University of Michigan, several strategies like being compassionate, treating others with respect, practicing forgiveness, and actively helping out team members can boost the motivation and morale of employees. The best part is that the researchers found that there’s no way to overdo these virtuous behaviors. According to them, “The more the virtuousness, the better are the profitability, productivity, customer satisfaction, and employee engagement.”

3. Let Your Team Members’ and Company’s Mission be Connected

People like to feel that they’re part of something bigger than them. The best way you can let your employees feel so is by making them understand that they are personally connected with the organization’s mission.

You might have been ignoring to articulate the organizational mission or vision to the team members, but it has a crucial significance. Moreover, research suggests that conveying the company’s mission statement to all the employees is indeed an effective approach to keep them motivated.

According to a survey of both federal and private sector professionals in the U.S., a significant percentage, more than 50% in each group, stated that the organizational mission meant more to them than their career opportunities.

What do you understand from this, as a manager or an employer?

If you communicate the company’s mission and vision to the employees, they will be more committed to the organizational ideologies and more likely to continue growing their career with the organization. Ultimately, it will result into lower turnover rates, higher employee satisfaction, and at the end, higher productivity.

4. Offer Flexible Schedules to Employees

Technology is playing a significant role to change the way how businesses operate. Nowadays, the employees are able (and expected) to check the work emails on their mobile phones or finish projects on their laptops at home. Hence, professionals expect similar flexibility when it comes to work timings.

You should be lenient enough to offer flexible schedules to your employees so that they can maintain the right work-life balance. According to a study conducted by Forbes, 46% of respondents said that they consider flexibility as the most crucial factor when it comes to job searching.

Over to You

Your usual employee motivation approaches may sometimes fall flat. When it is so, you should think out of the box. The above four research-based strategies can help you do so while going beyond the conventional team-building initiatives.

What are you waiting for?

Come and explore why we, at Etech, think employee motivation and engagement is crucial for increasing business outcomes. Implement the above ideas to find new ways how you can inspire, motivate, and grow with your team!

David Carrizales

David Carrizales

David Carrizales is SVP of Talent Acquisition & Training Excellence. His responsibilities include ensuring robust initial and ongoing training and development that fuels great retention and performance results. Leading initiatives and coordination to promote and enhance Etech’s brand in our communities. Recruiting and retaining great team members and leaders. Implementing tactical training for Operations and Training Leadership to better leverage and utilize tools like QEval, GrupoNGN, Numinary, etc. to support agent, leader, company, and client success.

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