Open post Employee Motivations - Why They Matter

Employee Motivations – Why They Matter

3 Things You Must Start Doing When You Become a Team Leader

Employee Motivations and Why They Matter

Reports show that only  35% of the US workforce feels engaged in their work, and it is time to give some much-needed attention to employees' motivations. Unfortunately, this does not usually get the attention it requires until it is too late. Gallop has estimated the productivity lost from disengaged employees costs companies between $960 billion to $1.2 trillion per year; unmotivated employees can have a debilitating effect on your bottom line. Conversely, highly motivated teams increase business profitability by 23%; as such, it seems clear which type of team you would want to foster. Easier said than done. What motivates one person will not interest another, and vice versa. There is no universal answer to an employee's motivations; in fact, quite the opposite.

What Employee Motivation Looks Like and What It Doesn't

Motivated employees are incredibly involved, always up for a challenge and takes on projects. Their enthusiasm is infectious; they are excited about their work and offer ideas to improve processes and innovate. They drive the company forward, and are the lifeblood of a growing company. Most people start out this way, with a new company or in a new position - excited for the possibilities the role offers and looking forward to the challenges, as well as, the successes for the future work to be done, especially when part of a dedicated team that provides autonomy and support. In this environment, vested employees are encouraged to grow into new roles, and given the support and tools needed to develop professionally. This is ideal. If these feelings of connection and purpose aren't fostered, and even more detrimentally, if the position lacks the autonomy needed or they see no path forward, their enthusiasm will begin to lessen - losing their motivation.

You should recognize if an employee's motivation has been lost. Unmotivated employees are psychologically unattached to the company and their work. They show up, and do the work asked of them but lack the energy and interest they once displayed. They will only perform the tasks that are requested, innovations or extra efforts are discarded as the job has become merely a means to an end. They have stopped offering suggestions, and seem to prefer being being told exactly what to do. All though it may feel challenging to determine how to rectify this situation, in most cases approaching your unmotivated employee with sincere interest and compassion is enough to turn things around.

If you miss the unmotivated stage, and things continue, you may find yourself with an actively disengaged employee. The actively disengaged employee has surpassed unhappiness and has turn resentful because they feel their needs are not met. They are usually very vocal, not missing an opportunity to point out problems, or issues, but offer no solution. Their despair is obvious and can deeply affect other cohorts. Once this stage of unhappiness is reached, it would prove very challenging for management to correct this without a systemic and holistic approach.

People Crave Purpose

There have been some pretty significant changes in the workforce this year. 1 in 4 people have left their jobs, and there seems to be no sign of slowing. People are redefining their priorities regarding where they are spending most of their time and with whom. We've discussed in the past what matters most to employees in 2021, with autonomy, engagement with social issues, and an emphasis on wellbeing as the most important aspects of interest.

Ultimately, employees want to feel that their work is purposeful and that it has meaning. It must mean something to someone. This is what drives employee engagement, and when coupled with a manager who can coach an employee to their next step, the result is an invested employee. Keep in mind that the manager alone accounts for 70% of the variance in team engagement – the one bad apple theory can absolutely be applied here. A manager incapable of fostering purpose and meaning in the work or being unable to connect with the employees in a meaningful way can have a detrimental effect on the team. It is a recipe for disaster when leadership fails to convey vision and inspiration to their team and instead leads with command and control. For the majority of employees (93%), it is essential to be able to have trust in their direct boss to feel satisfied at work – so much so that more than half would decline a 10% raise to remain with a great boss because it is worth it – personally and professionally.

The Benefits of Motivated Employees

The benefits that result from having motivated employees are endless, but the most important ones to note are that motivated employees show up, are happy to be there, and stay. Absenteeism is decreased by 41% when employees are motivated, and 87% are less likely to resign. Considering the cost of replacing an employee, which can equate to one-half to two-times the employee's salary, and the knowledge-base that is lost to the company, it could be argued the cost is immeasurable. Companies with motivated employees experience an increase of 38%  in productivity, generating up to 27% higher revenues. The numbers speak for themselves. It will only benefit a company to invest in and foster their employee's motivations – leaving it to chance can have devastating results.

What Can You Do?

This can feel overwhelming, the responsibility for the contentment of others will always feel like an impossible task, but it doesn't have to be. The easiest way to determine an employee's actual motivational status is through watching and listening. Do you have a stellar employee who isn't quite as enthusiastic as they once were or has gone quiet? It would behoove you to check in to determine the cause and develop a plan to mitigate any damage. If damage has been done, don't worry – it is not too late, 52% of employees giving their notice express their manager or company could have extended efforts which could have prevented them from leaving. You may not believe that just paying attention could have a significant effect, but consider that employees who feel heard are 4.6 times more likely to perform at their best. Employees feel empowered when they can speak freely about their successes and struggles. It also helps to build the trust that was discussed earlier and proves infinitely essential. As within any other aspect of life, people crave to be seen and heard – the work sphere is no different. Empowering your employees with your trust will give them the confidence to do their jobs amazingly – and you will win their trust and respect in return.

Employee Motivations: Why They Matter - Infographic

Open post Image of baby shoes and clothes with Title

Paternal Leave: Why You Should Take It, If Offered (and Push For It, If Not)

Parental Leave

Traditionally, parental leave was seen as a “mother’s issue”, but that is not the case anymore. Paternal leave is becoming increasingly more common, and it’s a good thing for everyone. Here are some reasons why new parents should take advantage of paternity leave. Additionally, while this article focuses primarily on fathers in heterosexual relationships, it’s paramount to acknowledge that there are many types of families, and they would all benefit from having more family leave.

Better relationships with spouse and children

Paternal leave can have powerful and positive effects on families. Paternal leave allows fathers a bigger part of their children's lives from the very beginning. Studies have shown that dads having a more active role in parenting leads to better behavioral, social, and psychological outcomes for children. Paternity leave has also been shown to strengthen romantic partnerships, and even correlates with lower divorce rates. When both parents are able to take time off, they learn together how to navigate the new responsibilities of parenthood, together. This builds trust and understanding and sets up a strong foundation for their relationship as partners and co-parents.

Improved gender equality in the workplace

It’s well-known that women, on average, earn less than men and that this wage gap is especially large for women of color. A contributing factor is that women are disproportionately driven out of the workforce due to the caregiving expected from them. This also contributes to hiring bias. Employers may subconsciously choose a man over a woman expecting that the man will have fewer responsibilities at home, and therefore have better availability for work. Normalizing paternal leave helps to level the playing field at work. Additionally, research shows that with every additional month of parental leave taken by the father, the mother’s earnings increase by about 7%. And mothers whose spouses take paternal leave tend to return to work more quickly.

Help fight the stigma that caregiving is a woman's responsibility

The idea that keeping house is a woman’s responsibility is obviously problematic and outdated. Caregiving is valuable and rewarding for people of all genders. In fact, qualities that are often strengthened during caregiving like empathy and patience are also qualities of great leaders at work. Studies have shown that dads who take paternity leave continue to have a greater role in housework and childcare long after they return to work, which not only contributes to better equality and satisfaction at home but leads to them being more well-rounded individuals.

Better work-life balance

Half of fathers say that they have missed out on important milestones and events in their children’s life because of work conflicts. Dads who take paternity leave often report better job satisfaction. Better job satisfaction allows them to be more productive at work and home. They also frequently report the time they spend at home is very fulfilling. While on leave, they don’t have to worry about missing out on important parenting moments. Paternity leave gives them the time they need to establish routines and get used to parenting, so it’s not quite as overwhelming once they go back to work.

What prevents fathers from taking it?

Now that we’ve talked about the benefits of paternal leave, it’s important to talk about why not everyone takes it. Some of the main reasons are economic pressures and stigma.

Economic Factors

In the United States, the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 allows up to 12 weeks of job-protected (but unpaid) leave for specific family and medical reasons. Of course, with no source of income, it can be a challenge for parents to take much time off. Some parents even report fear of losing their jobs due to taking too much time off. That is why Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) is crucial. Many people are working to expand paid family leave and allow both mothers and fathers to take time off to raise their families without penalty. Celebrities like Chance the Rapper, Anne Hathaway, and John Legend are even joining the fight.

Social Stigma

The old-fashioned idea that men are supposed to be the sole breadwinners of the family may be outdated, but it still leads many men to feel as though they shouldn’t take time off for family. What’s more, just 26% of managers encourage men to take leave. But choosing to take paternal leave, even if it is not already encouraged, is a huge step fathers can take in breaking the stigma. 73% of fathers believe there is little support for fathers in the workplace, and 72% of men said they would have taken longer parental leave if they had seen their co-workers do so. Being brave enough to push for paternal leave at companies where it’s not already offered will help employers understand that it’s something employees value, and this is a huge step toward changing the culture. Plus, because companies that offer paternal leave generally have happier and more productive employees, it is beneficial to the companies as well.

Taking paternal leave improves dads’ relationships with their children and spouse, leads to a better work-life balance, enables better gender quality at home and in the workplaces, and even benefits companies by creating happier and more productive employees. However, it is not universally accessible and there is still a stigma surrounding it. If paternity leave is offered at your company, you should take it. If it’s not, we greatly encourage you to push for it.

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