There is a widespread recognition among managers that employee satisfaction is critically important to their success. But, how dis this working in real life?

It’s getting tougher to motivate employees

85% of the managers surveyed believe that an employee’s level of motivation had a significant impact on their performance.79% of managers believe that motivating employees is one of the most important functions that they perform as a leader.

94% of managers believe that workforce motivation was truly important to the success of their overall operation. 82% of managers believe that their behavior had a significant impact on that level of motivation that each of their employees had.

But here’s the problem: 68% of managers believe that it is getting tougher to motivate their employees which suggests that although managers know that they need to motivate their workforces a significant percentage of leaders are struggling to figure out how to do it

Defining motivation

Definitions of motivation range from the simple such as: an inner drive, to the complex such as: a set of intrinsic and extrinsic factors that arouse indirect human behavior towards the achievement of outcomes that satisfy some need or desire.

A more straightforward definition tells us that motivation is a person’s level of inner drive and energy that they’re willing to expand on a given activity to satisfy an unmet need. And it’s important to note that our inner drive can be greatly affected and shaped by the things going on around us in the context in which we operate.

It’s common to think motivation is a factor that can be influenced in isolation. Just give someone the right incentive the thinking goes and he’ll be motivated. iIt’s also common to think of motivation as governing performance. On a gut level we all tend to believe that if people are motivated they will work harder and that when people work harder they will perform better and deliver better results.

3 key performance improvement practices

  1. great companies take great care to make sure that it’s people had the requisite talent to compete successfully, talent being a person’s level of knowledge and skill that impacts his or her ability to perform the job effectively.
    That’s important because knowledge and skill can be cultivated and as it turned out the organizations that we studied had highly developed selection processes for choosing employees and they were great at on-boarding their employees and orienting new employees to their positions.
    These they focused on making sure that their employees were well suited for their jobs and they had systematic training and development as a big part of their corporate cultures. The result in each of these cases was a talented workforce that had the necessary skills to succeed.
  2. performant companies focus on motivating their employees in methodical and holistic ways. They have got their employees to understand their mission and the needs of their customers so that employees can see the importance of performing to a very high standard.
    They establish clear goals and performance standards for everyone so the employees understood what was expected of them.
    These companies designed each job in a fashion to foster employee decision-making, participation and empowerment to ensure that all employees felt respected, valued and invested in the organization success.
    And, such enterprises provide their employees with ongoing coaching and feedback to help them grow professionally and they establish effective incentive systems to help their employees see the link, the critical link between performance and the rewards that they received.
  3. excellent organizations provide appropriate support for their workforce. It is readily apparent that they worked hard to keep their people in the communications loop by informing them both internal decisions and the changes that were being made as well as overall company performance.
    They also set up systems to remove performance barriers quickly and to solve problems quickly that could derail performance and, in addition, these companies took great care to provide their employees with effective leadership and to foster both workforce and management teamwork.

In a nutshell great companies don’t just focus on employee motivation they created an organizational climate and culture that brought out the best in their people.

The performance equation

The performance equation is as follows: performance is always a function of talent times motivation times support. What this means is that performance is a function or a byproduct of the interaction of talent, motivation and support and each factor is critically important in contributing to the performance that an organization and its workforce achieves.

So here is an important point: all three parts of the performance equation must be in place to avoid demotivating people who are trying to get things done at work. In fact I’ve come to think of this equation as an Oreo cookie talent and support are the top and the bottom of the cookie and motivation is the delicious icing in the middle that most of us crave and that’s what holds the cookie together .

Collectively all three pieces make the cookie great and in the performance equation all three pieces are truly important to give people a good taste in their mouths about coming to work in getting things done.

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