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Mary Pomerantz

Ms. Pomerantz is the CEO of TPG HR Services USA and has over 35 years of Human Resources practices experience. She holds a Master’s in Human Resource Management (MHRM) and is a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) and SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP). Mary also serves as CEO of Mary Pomerantz Advertising, one of the largest recruitment advertising agencies in the country. Earlier in her career, she was president of the 17th largest staffing firm in the country.

A woman who is very happy.

One of the most common challenges managers and supervisors face is keeping their employees happy and motivated. Poll after poll has shown that many American workers are unhappy, unmotivated, unengaged or simply indifferent at their places of employment. This leads to diminished productivity, unsatisfied customers and eventually to a decline in your company’s overall revenue. But how do you motivate your employees? It involves a lot more than simply offering them more money.

What Leads to a Lack of Employee Motivation?

You may be wondering if your workplace is suffering from an overall lack of motivation. According to several studies, there’s a strong chance that your employees could use a little extra encouragement:[1],[2],[3]

infographic showing office supplies colored in blue to represent a specific percentage
  • A 2013 survey by Kelly Services revealed that 48 percent of employees worldwide were unhappy at their current jobs.
  • According to the American Institute of Stress, 80 percent of workers feel stress on the job, with 42 percent admitting they need help managing it.
  • According to Gallup, only 32 percent of U.S. employees were engaged at work in 2015, with 17.2 percent being actively disengaged.

Before you can figure out how to motivate your employees, you must first understand what leads to demotivation in the first place. When you first hire a worker, he or she usually starts with such high levels of motivation only to have it dwindle over time. What changes from day one that causes a decline in motivation? Here are some of the most common reasons for demotivation among employees:[4],[5]

“Micromanaging your employees shows them you don’t trust them.”

infographic using different color 3d boxes to represent the building blocks of employee motivation
Sources: Harvard Business Review, Robert Half Management Resources, Business News Daily, SHRM
  1. Micromanagement: People like to be as autonomous as possible in their job duties and aren’t happy with managers constantly breathing down their necks. Micromanaging your employees shows them that you don’t trust them to do a good job on their own.
  2. Lack of Purpose: We work for more than a paycheck. We all want to know that the work we are doing is important and will contribute to a company’s overall goals.
  3. Job Insecurity: It’s hard to feel motivated at your job when you feel like you could get the axe any day.
  4. Insufficient Tools to Be Successful at Work: When you don’t have what you need to get your job done, it causes frustration and discourages a person from giving their maximum effort.
  5. Boredom: When a person is bored with work responsibilities, he or she will naturally begin to lose motivation.
  6. Uncomfortable Work Environment: Whether it’s a dislike of a person’s co-workers, an uncomfortable seating situation or anything else, a person’s comfort at work directly impacts performance.
  7. No Recognition for a Job Well Done: If a person’s hard work goes unnoticed, why would he or she want to continue to go above and beyond?
  8. No Recourse for Poor Performance: Likewise, if a person notices that co-workers are allowed to be incompetent and ineffective at their jobs, there will be little reason for him or her to feel motivated to do a good job.

How to Motivate Your Employees

As discussed earlier, a lack of employee motivation at your place of business will ultimately impact your revenue in a negative way. Unhappy employees lead to unhappy customers. So if you notice that your workers seem to lack motivation or appear to be bored, unengaged or disinterested in work, you need to do whatever you can to change this. Here are some suggestions:

photo of business manager giving blue collar worker a thumb's up for a good job
  • Give Them Purpose: It’s important to share your overall vision/mission for your company with your employees and explain how their responsibilities contribute to that end.
  • Praise Good Work: A nice pat on the back goes a long way. Be sure to privately and publicly praise your workers who do exceptional work.
  • Provide Career Advancement Opportunities: A primary cause of demotivation is the lack of a growth opportunity. If an employee knows that he won’t be getting a raise or a promotion no matter how hard he works, it will be difficult for him to remain motivated. Providing training and educational opportunities can also help in this regard.
  • Mind Your Work Environment: The layout of your workplace could influence how motivated your employees are. Decorating the office and creating a nice breakroom area are just two things you can do to improve your work environment and motivate your employees.
  • Empower Them with Trust: If your employees know that you trust them to do a good job, they are more likely to do everything they can to justify that trust.
  • Create Recognition Programs: Depending on the size of your company, instituting an “Employee of the Month” award or some other recognition program could provide extra motivation for workers. This is especially true if the recognition comes with some sort of perk, like having next Friday off with pay or free lunch for a day.
  • Give Them the Tools to Succeed: This may include new equipment, updated computers, high-speed Internet or any number of things. The easier you make it for your employees to be successful, the more motivated they will be.
  • Don’t Be Afraid to Coach: Sometimes things get lost in translation and your employees may be unsure of what you need. Rather than waiting for them to figure it out, try coaching them so they understand exactly what you are looking for.

The professionals at TPG HR Services USA know how valuable employee motivation is and know multiple strategies to improve it in your business. We’ve worked with a multitude of small, medium, and large companies around the U.S. in improving their employee relations and employee communications, while also developing programs to incentivize employee performance. You are invited to learn more by contacting a representative today at 732-917-6000.