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The Monetization of Motivation

Is it true that only 20 percent of working professionals feel engaged at work?


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The recent uptick in #MondayMotivation posts on social media feeds seems to pose many questions.

Is it really just an inescapable fact that Mondays are a downer for everyone?

Do people need – and crave – a weekly pick-me-up when facing their professional lives after the weekend?

Why do low levels of motivation seem to be on the rise in the workplace?

There is a fair amount of research that implies there is indeed a rising problem.

A recent Gallup survey found only two in 10 employees strongly agree their performance is managed in a way that motivates them to do outstanding work. More so, 52 percent of the current workforce is “not engaged” – performing without enthusiasm or care for their work – and Forbes reports that employee engagement is on the decline across the globe. They also noted only 30 percent of employees strongly agree their manager or superior involves them in goal-setting and only 14 percent believe the performance reviews they receive “inspire them to improve.”

The aftermath of these rampant humdrum emotions?

Between $960 billion and $1.2 trillion in lost revenue per year is attributed to a lack of retention, with turnover costs estimated to be 100 percent to 300 percent of the base salary of the replaced employee. That’s a massive impact on the bottom line, and takes an even weightier toll on team dynamics, business outcomes and employee satisfaction.

Luckily, this goes both ways. Sources have found a five-point increase in employee engagement linked to a three-point increase in revenue growth the subsequent year. Tamara Moore, engagement expert and CEO of Colorado Springs-based Relevel LLC, reinforces this as well, stating that compared with business units in the bottom 25 percent, those in the top 25 percent of engaged and motivated workers realized better customer experiences, higher productivity, stronger employee retention, fewer staff health issues and higher profitability.

So, hypothesis confirmed: Employee engagement and motivation is dwindling, and the effects are brutal. But the question remains: Why is this happening? Is it due to our decreased attention spans, job insecurity, rising levels of stress, laziness, complacency or a hodgepodge of it all? How can only 20 percent of working professionals feel engaged at their job?

Moore notes it isn’t always the most obvious answer. She says the rapid pace of change in the world, coupled with a disgruntled job environment, can deeply and detrimentally affect employees’ engagement and motivation.

“Lack of communication about goals and expectations, negative coworkers, salary disparity and low levels of confidence in leadership are all reasons we see this decline,” Moore says.

She commented that more than half of employees are searching for new jobs or watching for openings and team leaders are the ones who have a huge impact on whether they jump ship. They are the ones who influence “whether workers are able to use their strengths to do what they do best, give team members recognition for good work and hold ongoing conversations to coach employees and connect them to their purpose.”

So, how do you remedy this dilemma? HuffingtonPost published an article stating that some of the most effective ways to motivate your employees include communicating better, empowering them and offering opportunities for advancement. Does that sound like exactly what you’re already doing? Moore provides some insightful, easy-to-remember tips that may be useful ensuring you see some results.

1. HEAR THEM

Take time to actively listen and make effective use of one-on-one time and team meetings. It is also about learning to ask powerful questions and utilize that feedback to shape the future. For example, consider posing thought-provoking questions such as, “If your success as an employee was guaranteed, what one bold thing would you try in your position?”

2. SEE THEM

 Notice details about their work and take time to truly recognize their efforts. Is there something that would improve their schedule or working conditions? Are you regularly taking the time to acknowledge and appreciate their accomplishments?

3. CONNECT THEM

Connecting employees to their purposes is a game-changer. Passion is fuel; it motivates employees to be creative and work through whatever challenges they may face. Through her work at the International Conscious Business Institute, Moore witnessed incredible results at companies when employees connected their individual purpose to their professions purpose and then to the overall mission of the organization.

Want more? Moore (no pun intended) is holding an entire workshop on this topic Tuesday, Jan. 15 at the University of Colorado South Denver. Learn more and register here.


Sarah K. Erickson is a public relations coordinator at the University of Colorado South Denver.

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