An engaged and productive workforce is among the most valuable assets available to any business, but you'll only get the best out of your people if they're truly motivated to work hard and deliver results.
There are many contributors to how people feel about their jobs and the organizations they work for, from pay and benefits to their colleagues, managers and business leaders.
One of the most important factors - and something that should be top of your list of priorities if you want to motivate and inspire your employees - is company culture.
A sense of belonging
Human beings are naturally social and cooperative creatures. We've evolved to survive in communities and to work together towards shared, mutually beneficial goals.
When it comes to business and the workplace, there's a lot to be gained from building a high-performing organizational culture that emphasizes inclusivity, togetherness, healthy communication and the sharing of ideas.
Championing collaboration can yield a range of commercial benefits, including:
- Stronger working relationships and a communal commitment to reaching universal objectives
- A wider range of insights and more inventive solutions to challenges
- Distribution of workloads, which allows you to take on bigger and more ambitious projects
As far as workforce motivation is concerned, employees will be more positive and engaged in their work if they're part of a strong team that's working towards compelling goals.
Regardless of whether particular roles within your company are inherently collaborative or better suited to independent working, there should still be a feeling among all staff that they belong to a cohesive culture.
This helps to ensure anyone with questions to ask, concerns playing on their mind or a difficult problem to overcome can get the support they need.
Even the most demanding and stressful jobs can be rewarding and inspire motivation if the people doing them know they're contributing to something genuinely important and beneficial.
This is clear in professions such as nursing, which was the focus of a recent global survey by McKinsey covering countries including the US, France, Australia, Japan and the UK. The results showed that doing meaningful work is one of the most powerful reasons for nurses to stay in their jobs, along with other motivators including:
- Work/life balance
- Caring and trusting teammates
- Feeling valued by their organization and manager
It's not just in the public sector and areas like healthcare and charity work that people can feel they're making a positive difference to the world. Private businesses can also provide opportunities for their employees to gain satisfaction and fulfillment from their jobs through initiatives such as volunteering schemes, community projects and partnerships with good causes.
Incorporating these elements into your company culture will show you're committed not only to supporting and motivating your workforce, but to giving something back to society at large.
Alignment with personal values
It's becoming increasingly common for ambitious, career-minded people to want to work for organizations that share their own principles and priorities. Essential provisions like pay and benefits will always be important, but to build the sort of employee motivation that can really drive your business forward, your corporate culture will need to reflect a bigger picture.
A Gallup survey of more than 13,000 adults in the US highlighted the top six things workers want from their next job, which included a focus on diversity and inclusion of all types of people. The research and analytics firm noted that employees are placing higher expectations on their employers and demanding "concrete, substantial" action on key issues, not just "platitudes".
As you work to build a high-performing culture that supports and inspires your workforce, it’ll prove crucial to constantly refine and improve your understanding of the things that really matter to people outside of their jobs. As well as providing a more enriching experience for existing staff, this will strengthen your employer brand and help you attract high-quality talent.
Feeling valued and looked after
Your workers will naturally feel more motivated and determined to do their best for the business if they're part of a corporate culture that protects and looks after its employees.
There are many ways you can show how much you value your people, starting with essential provisions such as fair pay and a benefits package that's relevant and beneficial to the entire workforce.
But it's also important to go further than this and make a broader commitment to priorities such as health and wellness. Gallup's research findings showed a big increase in the significance of personal wellbeing and work/life balance since 2015, with 61% of respondents saying these are "very important" factors in whether they decide to take a job.
Equal opportunities for professional growth, learning and career progression should also be central to your organizational culture, so every individual knows that if they work hard and deliver results, they'll be rewarded for it.
Over time, this motivation to excel and develop will prove equally beneficial for the business and your employees.