How to Overcome Workplace Demotivation

If your employees lack motivation, they won't put in the effort you seek.

If your employees lack motivation, they won't put in the effort you seek.

If your workers are lackadaisically completing their assigned tasks and constantly watching the clock as it slowly progresses toward the glorious clock-out time, you likely aren’t getting as much out of them as you could be. Instead of accepting their lack of motivation to complete their tasks, do something about it. By working to overcome the plague of demotivation that has invaded your workplace, you can re-invigorate your workers and leave them more naturally eager to do their part to make your business flourish.

Ask for help instead of demanding it. If you want your workers to do something, what do you say to them? While it may seem unimportant, the words you select could do much to motivate -- or demotivate -- your employees. Instead of distancing yourself from your workers by handing out a list of tasks, make the process a more cooperative one in which you ask your workers for assistance. By saying, “Can you help me?” Instead of just tossing out your prescribed demands, you can allow your workers to feel like they are more a part of a team and less a member of an army taking orders.

Get to know your employees. Trying to motivate employees with largely meaningless tokens of appreciation will only work for so long. Instead of attempting to remedy the lack motivation by giving your workers another coffee mug or a corporate-insignia-bearing shirt, find out what they really want. Survey your workers, gathering information about their particular wants. Once you have this information, allow it to inform your incentive-related decisions, suggests Dr. Steve Reiss of “Psychology Today,” who offers a detailed “Reiss Profile” that employees can use to gather this information. With tailored incentives, you likely will find your attempts at motivation more fruitful.

Show your workers evidence of the impact their efforts have made. In a study for The Wharton School, management professor Adam Grant found that workers who feel like their work is making a difference are substantially more driven to give the work their all. Instead of keeping your workers insulated from the rest of the world with their heads down and their fingers dutifully pecking away at their keyboards, take time to show them the big picture. Plan a full tour of the company or ask people who have been serviced by your business to come in and speak to your workers, praising them for all they have done. This seemingly simple step can, according to Grant’s study, make a major difference in the dedication you will see out of your employees.

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About the Author

Erin Schreiner is a freelance writer and teacher who holds a bachelor's degree from Bowling Green State University. She has been actively freelancing since 2008. Schreiner previously worked for a London-based freelance firm. Her work appears on eHow, Trails.com and RedEnvelope. She currently teaches writing to middle school students in Ohio and works on her writing craft regularly.

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