Every employer wants their teams to work as productively as possible to bring the best results to their company. But sometimes even good employees work not at their full and it can be easily noticed that their working efficiency has decreased. It can be due to the lack of motivation. Particularly, it can happen under the conditions of remote working, when employees are “isolated” from the team. So, what can we do to keep our teams motivated?
Which Motivation Type Is Better for Employee’s Performance?
Psychologists distinguish between intrinsic and extrinsic types of motivation.
Intrinsic motivation is something that encourages us to do something just because we enjoy the process and seek to get a result. We do it for our own sake regardless of other people’s reward or approval. For example, a person stays at the office till the evening not because they want to impress their boss but because they’re really engaged and enjoy their work on a current task. This type of motivation appears when we’re passionate about doing something.
Extrinsic motivation refers to the kind of behavior when a person is looking forward to getting a benefit for doing something. Thus, they’re not guided by their interests or inner desires, but by the will to get a reward or avoid punishment. An example is that an employee asks for additional tasks not because they’re striving for self-development, but because they want their employer to think they’re engaged and valuable workers and get extra perks.
An intrinsic motivation type can’t be lost for some external reasons. And extrinsic motivation is something that can reduce for a certain cause or even disappear. Therefore, it’s something you should work on to control.
What’s the Difference Between Motivation and Engagement?
Team leads should know the difference between these two concepts and be able to recognize both of them in their employees.
Motivation concerns a person’s desire to succeed, in this context, in their career. It’s an inner will to do something to satisfy one of the basic needs.
Being engaged means being interested and involved in the company’s processes, sharing its goals and trying to do their best to help them achieve it.
Can a person be motivated but not engaged, and vise versa? Of course, they can. These phenomena are both essential to the business’ success, so you as a team lead or a manager should take care of making your teams motivated and engaged at the same time.
In other words, motivation is a self-centered phenomenon, and engagement is a team-focused one. When your employees are engaged, they all work like a well-oiled machine but primarily they’re doing it just because they have to, not because they’re driven by their desire.
On the other hand, even if an employee understands the company’s goals and shares its main ideas, their efficiency will be low without motivation. So, motivating the workforce is one of the essential tasks to work on for any company owner or manager.
Things That Can’t Keep Workers Motivated for a Long Time
Everyone believes that money is the best motivator for any employee. But is it really so? Money does have a great impact on people’s motivation but as soon as they get it their motivation reduces. According to Doug and Polly While, guest writers for Entrepreneurs, “only the prospect of receiving money in the near future is a strong enough motivator to change behavior”. So, it’s an endless process: people will always want more money, it’s just a matter of time. And besides, money encourages workers to perform their duties more efficiently but it doesn’t mean it really gets them motivated. They won’t enjoy their work more just by getting a bigger salary.
Yes, it may sound odd, but many employers use a carrot-and-stick approach to keep their teams motivated to perform better. But does it work, either? There’s no doubt people will be afraid of being punished, especially given that the penalties can be rather strict: either a one off decrease in salary or even firing. Well, there are two categories of people: the ones who are guided by motivation to succeed, and the ones guided by motivation to avoid failures. Penalty as a motivator can be a good way to engage the second type of workers.
Things That Will Definitely Demotivate Your Employees
Too Complex Tasks
Many people would choose solving difficult tasks, especially during the first months after getting their job to demonstrate their skills. But then a constant addressing of too complex challenges becomes a burden, especially if a company doesn’t care about an employee’s upskilling and doesn’t provide them with any opportunities like this, or doesn’t give extra perks for doing difficult tasks.
If a person is responsible for many tasks at the same time, they will hardly cope with one. Bad multitasking affects a person’s emotional state and increases stress levels, and as a result, decreases their motivation. According to Suddan S S, Founder & CEO at HR CUBE & MINTLY, multitasking not only increases stress levels but also weakens our memory and kills creativity. It’s because our brain is planned to operate with one task only, without switching between issues.
If you have every member of your team responsible for a lot of tasks at the same time, the best way to protect them from bad multitasking is to have those tasks properly prioritized.
Absence of a Clear Plan
Your employees should know the company’s main idea, its goals, the general and current plan their workflow is based on. You should clearly communicate the plan and schedule according to which you set up duties for your teams. Otherwise people will lack motivation to complete the tasks whose mission they don’t understand. Besides, having a clear plan and following it is a great way to check out one’s own and team member’s progress. When you can see your tasks help the plan to come to reality, you feel your value to the company, and knowing its goals, you better understand your social role as a professional.
How to Motivate Employees Working from Home
Communication is one of the most significant factors to keep your teams motivated to work better. They shouldn’t feel isolated and lonely in their efforts to perform their duties. You can interact with your subordinates via e-mail correspondence, chatting, or audio/video calls.
- The best way of collaboration in terms of isolation is having video conferencing every morning. Let everyone report on their current tasks, successes and troubles, so that the whole team will be aware of the state of things in the company and provide assistance to someone who needs it. Kenny Kleine, the founder of JAKK Solutions, recommends having video calls with your team members instead of audio conferencing because you as a team lead should control your employees’ emotional states, and body language can tell you a lot of extra information that can be extremely important for your team’s performance. Besides, when people know their team lead and colleagues watching them, they’ll be more engaged and concentrated on the discussion.
- The smartest way to resolve current minor issues is just private or group chatting.
- Apart from duties and the workflow, interaction between a team lead and team members also involves simply asking how they are doing, how their families are, and whether they have everything they need for work and living. It’s good to know not only your professional qualities are valued, but that you’re also appreciated as a person.
According to Gallup, only 15% of employees strongly agree that the leadership of their organization makes them enthusiastic. Everyone enjoys appreciation. Even the best worker ever will ever fail if nobody notes their success and efforts. You can communicate your feedback in a lot of different ways:
- During a private call
- During team meetings (both audio and video conferences)
- In a private chat
- In a group chat
But keep in mind that if you provide your feedback during group meetings, everyone should get their estimate. Besides, it would be unfair to comment on the mistakes of one employee and praise the success of another one. Keep balance if you want to have your team truly motivated with a healthy spirit of competitiveness.
One way to establish good discipline rules for your remote teams is to ask them to make small reports on their progress: check out their daily tasks in the morning and their progress at the end of the day. They can do it in group chats or Trello, but the best way to take full control over the processes is to have a reliable resource management tool. For example, with Epicflow you can have a clear view of your team’s progress and manage it.
Motivation and personal development are strongly interrelated phenomena. If a person is truly motivated to do a great job, they will definitely strive to learn new things and improve their skills. For sure, people can find some free online courses or books themselves, but it would be much better to show them your care and concern, and suggest something on behalf of the company. You can book a paid for online course that will be definitely useful for both, professional development of an employee or even a team, and for your company as well. Then you get the best of both worlds: demonstrate your attention, get your employees motivated, and receive upskilled workers that will bring more benefit to your business.
Support & Entertainment
When office employees work from home, they may feel psychologically isolated and even depressed. Not to let this happen, ask your event manager to organize some online activities that would unite your employees and make them feel a great team again. It can be any kind of online interaction:
- Yoga lessons, or any other sport activities
- Group or private psychological consultation
- Discussion of current things with a psychologist
- Online quiz or game
Under the conditions of remote working, you can let your teams have a more flexible schedule. It would be great for people to manage their working hours in such a way so they could get up later and work till the evening, or on the contrary, start earlier and have free evenings to spend them with their families.
How do you keep your remote teams motivated? Do you use any of the above mentioned tips? Share your experience in the comments below.