Survey Finds Managers Unaware Of What (Truly) Drives Employee Motivation

Managers Unaware Of What Drives Employee Motivation
As the world of remote and hybrid work continues to be explored, it will be increasingly important for managers and businesses to understand how to motivate workers and optimize productivity.
  • Productivity is one of the biggest determining factors of company success.  
  • As more companies embrace hybrid and remote work models, managers will need to better understand how to motivate workers, regardless of where they work from.  
  • A recent survey found major gaps between what managers believe drives productivity within their organization vs what employees feel.   

U.S. businesses lose between $483 billion and $605 billion each year due to lack of motivation. 

As the world of remote and hybrid work continues to be explored, it will be increasingly important for managers and businesses to understand how to motivate workers and optimize productivity. 

Productivity can be one of the biggest determining factors to a company’s success. 

Paychex surveyed nearly 1,000 managers and employees to identify how they define and measure productivity and what motivates them in their work.  

37% each of managers cite a lack of clear communication and coworker conflicts as one of the top factors hindering productivity, but employees do not, which indicates some major differences in thinking between the two employee groups.  

Survey findings:  

  • Managers rank teamwork (52%) and setting goals (46%) as the top aids to productivity, whereas employees named fair compensation (49%) and meaningful work (40%). 
  • Managers responded that teamwork was the top component of productivity (52%), whereas teamwork was not even in the top five of responses for employees (41%). 
  • 29% of highly productive professionals view collaboration with others as a component of productivity, compared to less than 10% of somewhat productive professionals. 
  • Only 1 in 3 professionals report feeling highly productive. 

How do employees, managers, and companies best achieve a high and sustainable level of productivity? 

 Fair compensation: The top answer among the survey respondents was fair compensation at 49% overall. But employees valued this slightly more (49%) than managers (48%).  

Teamwork: The top answer for managers was teamwork (52%), which wasn’t quite as important to employees as a motivator (40%).  

Meaningful work: Meaningful work made the top three for employees but not for managers; and setting goals was a top three motivator for managers but not for employees.  

Paychex HR Coach Kirsten Tornow told Allwork.Space that organizations should ensure they’re fostering productive environments, especially considering that managers found teamwork to be a key indicator of productivity. 

“Understanding the priorities and values of highly productive workers will help managers build more efficient, productive teams and optimize each person’s abilities. Our study makes it clear that productivity is viewed differently by employees and managers. Getting on the same page about what productivity looks like will lead to happier and more productive teams,” Tornow said.  

Creating a productive, empathetic, cohesive work environment is particularly important with remote work becoming much more common. 

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    “With the example of an all-remote team, it can be difficult for new employees to feel like team members when they are integrated virtually as individual contributors. Employers should review and refine their company culture to ensure it fosters a virtual team environment that allows employees to feel connected while remaining productive in the remote workplace,” Tornow said.  

    What are the largest demotivators in the workplace? 

    Both managers and employees in the study agreed that inadequate compensation is the biggest demotivating factor in a workplace. It was the number one factor for both groups, followed by toxic company culture. Unsurprisingly, distractions were also a hindrance to productivity.  

    According to research by Reward Gateway, the top reasons for employees feeling unmotivated are:  

    • A bad manager (46%) 
    • Feeling invisible or undervalued (43%) 
    • Boring or unsatisfying work (43%)  
    • Lack of recognition (42%). 

    This particular study found that 18% of Australian employees do not feel motivated in the workplace and 74% of workers say their managers should do more to stimulate and inspire them. 

    How can employers create a productive and motivated workforce? 

    1. Workers are more motivated and engaged when they are given clear objectives, understand how they will be evaluated, and see how their efforts contribute to the bigger picture. 
    2. More frequent conversations need to be had between managers and employees that focus on career development, which is vastly more effective at motivating the current workforce. 
    3. Employees want clear expectations to be established and want to know how these are helping their larger career goals. Managers need to provide feedback in a timely manner to promote career development, according to Human Resource Executive.  

    According to Reward Gateway’s study, the top reason that people were motivated in their current workplace was because of good working relationships with team members (49%), followed by job satisfaction (43%)m and then having a purpose (36%). 

    Being unmotivated and unproductive has negative effects on employees 

     The top five effects on employees in the U.S. are: 

    • A decline in mood (worsens) (62%) 
    • A reduction in productivity (46%) 
    • A decline in mental health (45%) 
    • A reduction in quality of work (37%) 
    • Their diet suffers (29%). 

    When employees are motivated, their health is better, they get their work done faster and with greater levels of collaboration, creativity and commitment.  

    Understanding what makes employees feel motivated and productive will help any business, particularly those evaluating new ways of working. 

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