Employee motivation is an important concept in business and team management. When you’re starting to grow your business, you are likely to handle more and more people in your team. And as you take in more employees under your wing, it can become harder and harder to keep everyone motivated. 

It’s hard to keep updated about every employee’s situation. And before you know it, you have unmotivated employees working half-heartedly for your business. To avoid this from happening, here’s a quick overview of the concept of employee motivation and some of the common mistakes that business owners do that negatively impact their employees’ motivation. 


What Is Employee Motivation?

Before we go through the different ways a manager can negatively affect employee motivation, let’s first define what employee motivation is.

Employee motivation refers to a team member’s feelings of commitment, creativity, and enthusiasm to work. It is a critical factor that affects their overall productivity and efficiency when working. A motivated employee is committed to accomplishing their tasks, reaching their goals, and making the organization better. They find a sense of purpose and satisfaction in what they do, thus, allowing them to be creative and innovative in their work.


What Happens When You Have Unmotivated Employees?

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Employee motivation is one of the most effective ways to boost your team’s productivity. But what happens if you have an unmotivated employee or employees? Feelings of demotivation can also manifest in the way your employee conducts their work, whether it’s in terms of behavior or attitude. 

So when one or more of your employees feel or exhibit signs of demotivation, this can easily reflect in your overall performance, productivity, and efficiency. Good leaders know the telltale signs that an employee is demotivated. Some of them include the following:


  • Frequent or increased absenteeism
  • A shift in mood or attitude towards other employees.
  • Apparent negative aura
  • Lack of initiative
  • Poor communication and lack of input
  • Decreased productivity and quality of work
  • Withdrawal from work-related engagements


5 Ways That Employers Kill Their Employee’s Motivation

Choosing to micromanage instead of delegating tasks

One of the roles of managers is to act as supervisors to their employees. However, some managers take this responsibility too seriously that they gravitate toward micromanaging each and every step of their employee’s tasks. While micromanaging can be beneficial for new employees or trainees, those with more experience can be hindered by the constant hovering. 

If you have a group of talented and experienced employees, it is best to practice task delegation instead of micromanaging their every move. Task delegation provides your employees with autonomy and a sense of ownership of their tasks. Not only will this highly motivate your team and boost their productivity, but it will also become a way for them to continue developing and honing their skills to further their career. Task delegation also benefits you as a leader as it allows you to save time and focus on more important tasks. 


Penalizing failure and mistakes

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Task delegation allows employees to work on their own tasks without constant supervision. While this autonomy can be rewarding, there are times when mistakes and failures occur along the way. 

When this happens, one of the biggest lapses that managers do is penalize their employees for committing a mistake. Not only will this demoralize them but it will also negatively impact their confidence and belief in themselves. And when employees learn that failure leads to some sort of penalty, this can lead to stress and a decrease in productivity. 

Instead of punishing your employees, allow them to work without the fear of retribution. Encourage them to work vigorously and strive despite making mistakes. As a delegative leader, it is your responsibility to take account of your team members’ errors and misjudgments. 


Failing to acknowledge great work and effort

Rewards are some of the most effective motivational tools. It is common for businesses to offer some sort of cash bonus or benefit for employees who are performing exceptionally well. However, monetary or material compensation isn’t the only type of incentive that a manager could give. Offering cash bonuses or prizes for a job well done doesn’t happen so often. 

So when you don’t have anything to give out, does that mean you no longer acknowledge your employee’s efforts? Failure to acknowledge your team’s efforts even for the smallest of things can demotivate them to perform at their best in the future. 

So what can you do instead of offering prizes? Instead of extremely grand material gestures, recognize those who are performing well in front of others. Give them the satisfaction of knowing that other people see and appreciate the effort they’ve put into their work. Employee recognition allows them to celebrate their personal achievements with other people and thus, keeps them motivated to do more. 


Creating or tolerating a toxic work environment and culture

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Employees spend much of their day to day in the office to work. The main purpose of having a place for everyone to gather and meet is to allow easier communication and create a conducive work environment. Ideally, this should help boost morale and teamwork as well as increase the overall productivity and efficiency of the company.

Taking this into consideration, proliferating a work environment and relationships that are considered toxic can do exactly the opposite. A toxic workplace is one of the most common reasons why people are pushed to quit and look for other jobs. Having to deal with negative attitudes and unpleasant behavior every single day can significantly affect one’s mental well-being and lead to employee burnout.

However, a toxic work environment is not just about the people at work. It can also refer to the inhumane working conditions and unmanageable workload that are passed on to the employees. To keep your team members happy and motivated, make sure that you promote a positive work culture and encourage work-life balance for each and every one. 


Not giving what your employee’s worth

Let’s face it, most employees still put prime on salary and other compensations when considering their satisfaction at work. While it’s generally not easy to just give and offer a raise to your employees, low-balling them at the very start is an absolute no-no. 

To make sure that your employees remain happy working for and with your company, the least that you can do is to pay them what they are worth. Offering a significantly high salary is not always effective and necessary. Instead, the least that you can do is to offer within the position’s market rates and add in other benefits and compensation for that competitive edge. 


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