How to Keep your Organisation Engaged and Motivated

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“Happy employees create happy customers.”

These are the words of Greg Kihlström, President and Chief Experience Officer at GK5A, and an expert in CX, EX and Digital Transformation. What this means is that the motivation and engagement of your employees in the workplace lies at the heart of excellent customer service and relations. 

So if you’re wanting your scaleup to win over more customers, and therefore have a greater chance at successful growth, it's time to investigate whether your employees feel engaged and motivated at work.

What is employee engagement? 

Simply asking your team whether they like their job or not won’t provide you with an accurate reading of their engagement. Engagement runs much deeper than that. It’s a measure of how much they care about the work they’re doing; how committed they are to helping the business achieve its objectives; and how motivated they feel every time they step into the office.

Motivation is an important term here, because it’s the main driver towards positive engagement. In order to keep your employees motivated, you’ll need to consider that both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation play a role.

  • Intrinsic motivation: The internal qualities of a person that push them towards an activity or task regardless of any external incentives. For example, the desire to collaborate, learn or create would be intrinsic motivations.
  • Extrinsic motivation: These are external incentives that drive motivation such as bonuses, company benefits, or performance awards.

Many leaders tend to lean more towards extrinsic motivation in an attempt to generate engagement from their team. Although there’s still a need to include extrinsically motivating incentives in your company (such as competitive salaries), it is far more effective, sustainable and cost-effective to channel and utilise the factors that motivate your employees intrinsically.

By doing this, you know your team isn't working just for the perks and benefits you offer, but rather because they have a genuine enthusiasm for the work they’re doing and the environment they’re doing it in.

When you focus too much on extrinsic incentives, you run the risk of employees becoming dependent on these for their happiness at work, and never being fully satisfied - in other words, always wanting more - because they are not actually intrinsically motivated to be there.

Stats on employee engagement in the workplace 

Aside from the impact that employee engagement ultimately has on customer experience, it also impacts the retention rate of your company, which has costly consequences. And with a much larger percentage of employees working from home, or remotely, the need to keep teams engaged and motivated has grown even stronger post-pandemic. 

But don’t just take our word for it - here are a few important research-backed facts about employee engagement to illustrate just how crucial it is that you take it seriously:

6 signs of engaged and motivated employees

As you’ve been reading this, you’ve probably been thinking about all your employees, trying to determine whether their recent behaviour in the workplace (or online) has shown any hints of disengagement. But before you jump to conclusions and panic about something that may have just been the result of a missed coffee run, read through these six signs which highlight what an engaged and motivated employee likely looks like:

1) Communication, communication, communication

When an employee is engaged, they talk to everyone around them - whether providing feedback, seeking input, or keeping their team and leaders up to date on their work, an employee that cares about their job will be a good communicator.

2) Helping to make the workplace a happy place

Employees who feel motivated in their jobs will seek to help others feel the same. This means they will make the effort to create a positive work environment for everyone around them. 

3) Working towards the main goal

For engaged employees, the day-to-day or ad hoc tasks are not the most important thing. They’re constantly pressing towards, focusing on and caring about the main objectives of the company.

4) Focuses on the improvement of the company

Because they focus on the main goal, they’re always looking for ways to improve both their own, and their team's processes and outputs in order to reach that goal. You’ll know an employee is engaged when they’re passionate about helping the company to run more effectively and efficiently.

5) Striving for excellence but learning from failure

Motivated employees who care about the work they do will often exceed your expectations, and go above and beyond the goals set for them. And in the event that they make a mistake, or are unable to meet their objectives, they’re more than willing to see failure as an opportunity for learning.

6) Excited to grow, personally and professionally

This is a clear indicator of intrinsic motivation - employees who always seek out learning opportunities through conferences and training programmes; or are excited to upskill or take on more challenging roles. This shows they are not stagnant in their role, and are passionate to get to know different functions of the business, or take on more responsibility in their current team.

Tips for leaders who want a more engaged workforce

So now that you understand how to identify whether your employees are engaged or not, it’s time to arm yourself with the knowledge needed to keep your engaged employees motivated, and breathe life into any team members who may seem disengaged.

Whether you believe you have a strongly motivated workforce or not, as your scaleup grows, it’ll become more difficult to keep track of how your employees are feeling.

If you can implement these practices into your company today, so they become part of the makeup, you’ll be able to spend less time worrying about disengaged employees, and more time reaping the rewards of a team who actually loves being at work.

Create a culture that celebrates diversity and inclusion

When you place inclusivity at the heart of your company culture, you immediately communicate to your employees that your company is a welcoming and safe space that sees the value in individuality.

Give your team leaders they can count on

Trust in leadership is a crucial aspect of keeping employees motivated at work. The quickest way to disengage your team is to manipulate, lie or take advantage of them. Instead, be transparent and communicate any developments or obstacles the company’s facing; be consistent with how you interact with all your employees.

Facilitate opportunities for connection

When employees have positive relationships with each other and with their managers, they are more likely to want to be at work. Organise social events, company dinners, after-work drinks, or fun team-building activities to help foster this sense of connection.

Give your employees agency

Micromanagement leads to disengagement, but empowerment leads to a team of innovative, bold and independent contributors, capable of taking ownership of their work.

Give your team opportunities to challenge themselves in new positions, or with leading difficult projects.

Engagement happens when employees feel trusted by their leaders, and have an increased sense of responsibility for the work they’re doing.

Allow them to have a voice in business decisions

The quickest way to demotivate employees is to make them feel like they’re merely a cog in the wheel. To ensure this doesn’t happen, give your team opportunities to provide their input and ideas whenever possible.

Make sure they feel that your workplace is an environment where they will not get shut down if they attempt to ask questions, comment or suggest, but rather where they will always be heard and considered. This helps to create a sense of psychological safety and empowerment, and could also benefit your company, because who knows where the next great idea might come from.

Recognition and reward still plays an important role

Whilst intrinsic motivations should lie at the heart of employee engagement, it’s still important for you to recognise the contributions your team is making to the success of the business. This recognition could come in the form of verbal acknowledgment, or in more tangible ways such as rewarding a half day, or offering a promotion. It’s important to ensure your employees feel seen and valued by you.

Set the example in the C-suite 

If your exec team is showing up to work every day looking like they’d rather be anywhere else but there, their negative attitude is going to have a ripple effect on your employees. This means that efforts towards motivation and engagement should start in the leadership team, so that managers are equipped and empowered to motivate their teams in a similar fashion.

Check-in with your employees

One-on-one meetings can go a long way with making an employee feel their workplace is a safe environment where they can discuss any personal or professional challenges they’re facing, or any new goals they want to achieve for themselves. If they’re able to have these conversations with their leaders, who show a genuine care and interest in them, they’re never going to want to leave.

So, how does your scaleup measure up when it comes to employee engagement and motivation, and what positive practices do you need to implement into your organisation today?

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