Here’s What Happens When Leaders Get Employee Motivation Right – Forbes

Public recognition. Quarterly bonuses. Gamification.

All of these tactics have the power to motivate employees. Most organizations use a mix of approaches to encourage their people to perform at high levels, as well as to uphold the company’s values and business processes. But how do you know if you’re motivating your people in the right way? 

Understanding what motivates your employees — and leveraging it at the right moments — has the power to transform your business. Let me give you an example. 

For one organization in the transportation industry, employee and customer safety is the crux of their success. Through careful analysis of the feedback provided by the organization’s nearly-100,000 employees, business leaders were able to identify a high correlation between employee engagement levels and the risk of injury on the job.

Their most surprising finding? Leaders found that it wasn’t external factors, like the availability of injury-prevention resources, that cause the biggest disparity in injury rates across locations. Instead, the analysis revealed that the employees who tend to be safer at work are those who express feeling a sense of belonging, trust, and empowerment. 

By extrapolating this knowledge by location, the organization can now predict, a quarter in advance, at which sites injuries are likely to be the highest, and leaders can address engagement issues and make resource adjustments accordingly.

Like many organizations, this company’s people are driven first and foremost by intrinsic motivation, a self-sustaining source of fulfillment and performance that contributes to both individual and organizational success. These factors—a sense of belonging and ownership—are a big part of the “why” that motivates them to show up and do their best work, rather than take a mental raincheck for the day. 

Understanding intrinsic motivation can transform your business

By and large, organizations tend to rely heavily on a different and less powerful type of employee motivators, focusing primarily on external sources, like performance bonuses, promotions, salary increases, or a trip to Hawaii, to motivate their people. This is evidenced by the widespread dependence on practices like “pay for performance,” traditional performance appraisals, performance ratings, and forced rankings. 

While these are valuable, when we exclusively use external rewards to get people to achieve goals, it can feel like we’re attempting to control their behavior. Instead of feeling excited and challenged to exceed a target, we sometimes see people hit a goal and go no further. 

Intrinsic motivation, however, like growth opportunities, or a strong sense of purpose, can spur employees to go above and beyond. A recent meta-analysis found that in motivating people to complete complex, quality-focused tasks that involve creativity, intrinsic motivation was nearly six times more powerful than extrinsic motivation in predicting performance.It’s time we start designing our HR and performance practices to realize the vast potential employees’ intrinsic motivation has in lifting organizations to levels previously unreached.

Putting intrinsic motivation to work

Simply put, intrinsic motivation comes from within. It’s the drive you feel to push on a project because the work itself—rather than the deliverable, or reward for it—energizes you, or the sense of trust you experience when you get a chance to handle a big opportunity on your own. 

Leading science has identified several key precursors to intrinsic motivation in the workplace, including: 

  • meaningful team and manager relationships to encourage frequent and open communication 
  • high autonomy and trust in employees 
  • clear alignment between employee strengths and the work they’re asked to lead or support 

While we all generally share these basic needs, each of us is slightly different in what we need to feel intrinsically motivated. So it’s important for leaders to have regular touchpoints with employees to tailor the employee experience to each individual.

Using intrinsic motivation for sustainable performance

What does intrinsic motivation look like in practice?

  • Conversations: Use insights from your employee engagement surveys to inform frequent conversations between managers and employees. These conversations will help leaders know what your people need to be successful. 
  • Choice: Help employees take more ownership of their work. Encourage them to set goals and participate in decision making. Give them freedom over how they do parts of their job, and let them influence how they are rewarded.
  • Coaching: Coaching is not just providing feedback. It means helping employees navigate their path to success and find answers they already have inside of them. It’s about enabling your people to tap into their own passions and experience to reach the best solution, with guidance along the way. 

Tapping into your employees’ intrinsic motivators doesn’t have to be a major lift. Following these tactics, your organization can build a stronger culture that inspires your people to work smarter, be safer, and perform above and beyond the call of duty. 

Follow me on LinkedIn.

14 Strategies To Boost Motivation During The Winter Months – Forbes

The winter months mean less sunlight, colder temperatures and often, dampened moods. It’s common for people to feel more tired and less motivated in the winter, which can negatively impact work performance. However, a winter slump is not inevitableit may require a bit of extra effort, but you and your teams can stay just as motivated during those colder months. 

To help you out this winter, we asked members of Young Entrepreneur Council to share how they raise spirits in the workplace throughout the season. Follow their recommendations to keep your team feeling productive until spring arrives again. 

Photos courtesy of the individual members.

1. Scheduled Special Events 

We ramp up our smaller special events in the winter to break up the days. Whether it’s an in-house barista for a day or a massage station, small pick-me-ups can boost the office mood without taking up a lot of time or resources. – Josh Payne, StackCommerce 

2. Team-Building Activities 

One good way to keep teams feeling productive and motivated during winter is to do indoor team-building activities. This will bring employees closer to their co-workers and closer to the values and purpose of the brand. – Alfredo Atanacio, Uassist.ME 

3. Health-Conscious Initiatives 

A major contributor to seasonal depression is poor diet and limited exposure to sunlight. To combat this, I always try and emphasize healthy living around the colder months. I put fresh fruit in the break room, which can provide Vitamins C and D, and organize fun runs or other active team-building events. – Bryce Welker, Accounting Institute of Success 

4. Remote Work Days 

New York City winters can be brutal between the subzero temperatures and snow. I find the best way to keep my team motivated is by allowing them to work from home on Fridays as long as they get all work done on time. – Kristin Kimberly Marquet, Marquet Media, LLC 

5. Holiday Bonuses 

We like to offer our employees holiday bonuses. This time of the year is important for everyone, and we think that a bonus can go a long way towards helping our employees have a fun and festive holiday season. When you’re financially stable, cold and dark months seem a lot less depressing. – John Turner, SeedProd LLC 

6. Positivity 

Darker skies and colder weather aren’t entirely bad. Winter comes with its own magic and it can be easy to forget that. Sharing gorgeous winter pictures and great news related to the season can help boost your employees mood. It’s important to lead by example and stay positive. You’ll be able to share that positive spirit with the people you work with. – Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner 

7. Exercise And Fresh Air 

It’s difficult to muster up enough energy during the darker, colder months to work out and take care of our bodies. If you instill this importance at work, you’re sure to reap the benefits from your team. If it isn’t too cold, encourage employees to take a walk for lunch and get some fresh air. It’ll do them good to step out of the office and put their health first. – Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms 

8. Hygge 

One perk about the darker, colder months is that they lead to a cozier feel that can be brought into the office. Create a warm and welcoming office environment that makes employees feel happy despite the weather! There is a lot of positive learning from creating a “hygge” or cozy atmosphere for your business to encourage your team to remain productive and motivated. – Diego Orjuela, Cables & Sensors 

9. Gamification 

Who doesn’t love playing games? To spice things up during the colder months, try gamifying some of the office processes to break the monotony and start something new for your team. It’ll get them out of a rut and encourage them to think positively about working rather than feeling depressed and not looking forward to it. – Jared Atchison, WPForms 

10. Guest Speakers 

For most of the country, winter can be a motivational killer. On days I know it will be extra cold or gloomy, I like to bring in guest speakers. Invite people from within and outside the industry to come and talk about their journey and what they have learned from their experiences. I have found that this gives the team a nice break and motivates them at the same time. – Rana Gujral, Behavioral Signals 

11. Fun Internal Challenges 

Having light-hearted and fun challenges or games within your organization can add spice to the season. You can create laughter by setting up a simple meme generation contest. Maybe create a space for employees to share artwork. This will give you the chance to learn more about your employees and create team building in a subtle way. – Blair Williams, MemberPress 

12. Natural Light And Warmth 

Our office is designed with multiple windows to always let sunlight flow in during the fall and winter months. This helps maintain morale immensely after daylight savings time kicks in and it gets dark around 6 p.m. If you live in northern states, we recommend buying heat lamps at bulk discounts and storing them until winter hits. By design, heat lamps will raise spirits within the office. – Duran Inci, Optimum7 

13. KPI Measurements 

Like all the other months of the year, there is a reason teams are productive: pride. They are proud of the work they complete and that is where KPIs come in. We use KPIs for each and every position to help keep people productive. People can work towards beating their previous records. – Dishan Jayasinha, DG Studio 

14. Curiosity Creation

Motivation is fleeting; lasting action transforms companies. As an NLP and hypnosis practitioner, I’ve found that there’s one surefire way to always create lasting change for sales-heavy organizations: curiosity. Curiosity is a powerful emotion. When elicited, it creates motivation to find the solution and connects to a bigger purpose than simply the task at hand. – Klyn Elsbury, Shark School