19 Sep Building a Culture of EMPLOYEE Motivation
There has been significant buzz in the media about “making employees happy.” This isn’t solely an employer responsibility. Employees are the ONLY source for their happiness. People spend the majority of their awake time at work, so it is important for employee mental & physical health, to have an environment where their basic needs are met. This is where a collaborative employee/employer relationship of openness and trust is a dual responsibility. Then employees begin to feel motivated and happy about coming to work every day.
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs has been a significant and sustainable theory since 1943 when Maslow published his first paper “A Theory of Human Motivation” in Psychological Review. It is often depicted in the shape of a pyramid with the foundation making up the largest, and most fundamental needs at the bottom.
Employee’s basic needs, physiological and safety, must be met before employees can feel less anxious and tense about their work and build their desire to focus on the higher level of needs. This is not a linear process for the brain, many of these needs run in parallel and differ depending on the trust and respect employees have with their leaders. People leave companies because of their leaders, not because they don’t like the company.
Once the basic physiological and safety needs are fulfilled employees begin to open themselves up to interpersonal relationships and feelings of belonging and relationship building. Since this is an individual behavior their childhood, past employment and leader behaviors will play a part in the speed in which employees feel comfortable and motivated. A leader who displays behaviors counter intuitive to an employee’s safety and beliefs will significantly demotivate and depress an employee. It is important for businesses to recognize when a top performing employee, suddenly or over a short period of time, becomes an under performer. These are indicators of the next two elements on the pyramid, self-esteem and self-actualization.
Most employers have a review process within their corporate structure. Human Resource professionals should partner with leaders when their teams, or individuals on their teams, begin to show signs of demotivated behaviors. This is where having an external, unbiased person facilitate the discussion would be beneficial. It allows the leader an opportunity to step back and assess the situation with a fresh set of eyes.
Employees need an open and non-threatening environment to express themselves. In the eyes of the leader this may already exist, in the eyes of employees this may feel different. Businesses need to invest in unlocking these unspoken feelings in their employees. Employees own their feelings and having a conversation with their leaders. Employers and leaders own building an environment of openness and trust. Leaders & employees own the conversations when their needs are not being met. Let us help you build this environment.