5 Things That Kill Motivation at the Workplace

“A happy workforce is a productive workforce!” Yeah, we’ve all heard that before. Here’s the thing though, this is fact and actually very true – happy, motivated workers actually do better at the workplace and are more productive, according to any of the million-and-one studies that have been conducted worldwide.

Why do some of the biggest organizations in the world – the likes of Google, Apple and Microsoft – have a reputation of being the top employers out there? Why is it everyone’s dream to work at these places?

It is because good, well-reputed organizations – such as the ones mentioned above – pay special emphasis on taking care of what is perhaps the most valuable resource in a company: it’s employees! They pamper them, take care of them, and as a result end up with workers who are highly motivated and driven. Employees who actually look forward to the next work-day!

Unhappiness and loss of motivation is one of the major causes of loss in productivity in the US, and costs a monumental $300 billion in lost productivity according a recent study.

Here are 5 big motivation killers at the workplace:

1. Not paying your employees what they’re worth or what they should be paid

Let’s not beat around the bush; money is the biggest motivator at the work place. Sure, you’ll have plenty of people tell you that money doesn’t matter and that there are other things that are more important, or that money shouldn’t be a priority. And yes, while that might be true in some cases (and if it is, more power to you!), we all work for that paycheck at the end of the month. If your employees are not being paid what they’re worth, or what other people in the same industry earn, don’t be surprised if they don’t show up to work with their game-face on.

2. The fear of failure or letting your boss/peers/people down

This one can be extremely off-putting, and is a massive motivation killer. Employees should be allowed to make mistakes, learn from them, and grow, instead of having a gun pointed to their head at all times. Empowered employees, those who are given the freedom to manage their work, those who are allowed to do things their own way, and those who are given the space to work without the feeling that they might let someone down are usually more productive. Encourage people to make mistakes, and learn from them.

3. Not providing an environment that nurtures productivity

Appearances matter. Particularly when it comes to getting the most out of your employees. The office-space needs to look like an office. It needs to be well-lit, it needs to be comfy (and have a comfortable internal temperature), it needs to be clean and safe, and above all, it needs to look like an office. It should allow and encourage employees to customize their work-spaces. All these small things really matter. Here’s a great article on 10 things to do in order to set up a healthy office environment.

4. Employees feeling like they don’t have a say in anything

Delegation, empowerment and communication. Three keywords in creating and nurturing an office environment that allows employees to have their say. Include your employees in all important decisions. Let them speak during staff meetings, even if it’s briefly. Empower them to have their say and voice their opinions on how things can be improved. Worse case scenario: you as the boss end up doing what you’d intended on doing in the first place. Best case: you get valuable feedback and ideas from your workers. Either way, the fact that people who work for you understand that they have a say in things will do wonders for their motivation!

5. Employees forced to evaluate their peers

I’m not a very big fan of peer evaluations. I mean yes, I get why you’re asked to evaluate your peers. However no one wants to really criticize people they work with, and shouldn’t be forced to do so either. Even if these evaluations are anonymous or confidential, usually in offices, people find out who said what about whom. All it does is promote bad blood, which leads to demotivation and job dissatisfaction. I personally think that it is the boss’s or the manager’s responsibility to know his people inside-out, and good managers usually do!

There could be a million other things which cause demotivation among workforce, it’s all relative and there are a ton of other variables that could come into play. However these are just some of the things that I’ve come across during my time as a working woman that I feel have the ability to really kill employee motivation, thus adversely affecting productivity. These could even lead to a high absenteeism rate in an organization, and force valuable human resource to look for employment elsewhere. The best organizations – large or small – strive to keep their human resource, and if you aim to do so as well, make sure you aren’t making these mistakes.