How to find your authentic motivation. Re-energising in the New Year

 In Articles, Employee Engagement, Leadership

Employees are hoping to return to work with a new-found energy this year. But with the great resignation and socio-economic pressures your people will need motivation, not only to stay, but also to thrive and get re-energised after a draining couple of years.

But where does motivation come from? Is it from yourself or your organisation? I think the answer is both, and the key is aligning personal and organisational purpose.

If people have bought-into a clear company purpose, it’s much easier for people to have authentic motivation. Otherwise, what you get is a laundry list of benefits that don’t actually make your people any happier. If you don’t feel connected to your work or your company your motivation won’t magically increase after a duvet day.

Step 1 – Make sure you have a clear company purpose and that everyone knows how they contribute to achieving it

One McKinsey Survey on organisational purpose found that 82% of employees think it’s important to have a company purpose, 72% think purpose should receive more weight than profit but only 42% think their organisation’s purpose drives impact.

There’s no magic formula for creating a company purpose that unites and motivates. It’s not a creative exercise. It has to come from the hearts of the leadership team. If it doesn’t, then leadership action will not support the purpose and employees will see through the thin veneer of a statement that has no foundation in belief.

Creating an inspiring company purpose needs deep reflection on what you and your people believe in and stand for. This may feel challenging. But if you think about what impact your organisation has on its main audiences you should be able to identify why you exist and express that in language that brings this impact to life.

Here are a few questions you should be asking yourself when fine tuning your company purpose:

  1. Do I believe in it?
  2. Does trying to achieve it energise or drain me?
  3. Will it inspire others?
  4. Is it authentic?
  5. Is it short enough to be memorable but supported by a deep narrative that explains HOW you deliver the Purpose?
  6. Is it central?
  7. Is it relevant to every team and individual?

Step 2 – Use your line managers to keep people energised

When it comes to motivating teams, there is a big role for line managers. One study by Motivates Inc found that lack of career progression was the #1 reason for low motivation. The third highest reason for high motivation was having a boss that was good at saying thank you. Regular contact with line managers and a clear personal development plan will help employees feel that they are in control of their personal development and will also give line managers the opportunity to recognise good work and high performance.

There is proven neuroscience behind why employees want this regular feedback and coaching. A framework called SCARF covers the five needs our brains have to feel valued and connected at work. Line managers can use SCARF to support career development. So, make sure line managers are holding regular 1-2-1’s. It will ensure that employees understand how they are performing, can raise any concerns they have, and can get the support they need to improve.

Step 3 – Remind employees what they can do to increase their own motivation

The same survey by Motives inc states that the second highest reason for high motivation levels is having great peers that motivate each other.

This is where feedback platforms can be helpful because they remind employees about the actions they need to take. The platform we use for clients, Engagement Multiplier, includes this question with every benchmark survey: ‘What two actions can you personally take to improve employee engagement at your company?’ We never ceased to be surprised by the commitments people make to helping their colleagues and improving cross-team communication.

The responses to this question are often about actions that they will take with their colleagues such as supporting them when they have issues and creating a positive and upbeat environment. These comments show that employees actually want me to be motivating to each other but sometimes need a reminder.

What better time to refocus, reset and re-energise than the new year? It’s a time when many employees will be experiencing a dip in motivation due to less in-person connection and external stresses such as health and financial concerns due to the pandemic.

If you’d like help motivating your employees, creating or fine tuning a company purpose or with any of the other steps outlined in the blog, contact us below.

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