Keeping A Workforce Engaged And Motivated

peopleIt's true that money can be quite a compelling motivator for people, but research has shown that when it comes to job satisfaction, money is only part of the story. In the wake of the financially devastating economic downturn which caused millions of Americans to lose their jobs, you might assume that job security is now the single most important factor in determining job satisfaction. But again, the story is incomplete.

According to a study released in October of 2012 by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the number one driver of job satisfaction (63%) in the U.S. is "opportunities to use skills and abilities." Both job security and financial compensation trailed behind at 61 and 60 percent respectively. SHRM also noted in their study that since 2004, they have witnessed a steady increase in the percentage of employees who point to "opportunities to use skills and abilities" as a vital component to their job satisfaction.

So what does this mean to employers?

The study highlights a very important lesson that employers and corporate managers should take away - employees who are engaged in their work by using their unique skills and abilities are more satisfied with their jobs. This is significant because people who are more satisfied with their jobs display increased levels of efficiency, productivity, and creativity. A workforce that is engaged and highly motivated is truly a force to be reckoned with and has the potential to achieve great things.

Businesses that have low levels of job satisfaction on the other hand can suffer very negative consequences. In the words of the SHRM report,

"Low engagement and job satisfaction can contribute to multiple organizational problems and have been associated with increased levels of turnover and absenteeism, adding potential costs to the organization in terms of low performance and decreased productivity." –SHRM 2012

How can employers increase engagement and motivation?

Clearly, the engagement and motivation of a workforce is essential to its overall productivity, and by extension, the success of the business or enterprise it supports. Ways to augment engagement and motivation in a company include:

  • Develop Your Workforce. If you aren't taking full advantage of the talents and abilities of your workers, then you aren't maximizing their contributions. If you carefully observe your employees, you may realize that some of them have talents that aren't being utilized in their current position. These employees could potentially be more effective, efficient, and engaged fulfilling different roles. And if you promote them that will open up a lower position that would likely be much easier to fill.
  • Forge Strong Workplace Relationships. The relationship between employees and their senior managers is absolutely critical. There should not be a solid wall of corporate culture separating these two groups. The more employees interact with management, the more those employees feel that their job is important and respected. They will be more willing to offer their ideas and insights to benefit the company.
  • Use Excellent Communication. Nothing stifles creativity and creates an atmosphere devoid of motivation than closed lines of communication. Don't make it difficult for your employees to be heard and make sure information flows both from the top down and from the bottom up.
  • Be Open to New Ideas. The workforce should always be encouraged to generate new and exciting ideas. More importantly, management and employers should genuinely pay attention to those ideas. If you nurture a creative, engaging environment, your employees will be more motivated.

Increasing workforce engagement and motivation is key to the overall success of your business. If you want to learn more about how increasing employee motivation can help increase leadership and let company flourish, you should consider the expert advice offered by a consulting company.

Alan Vengel is the CEO author and developer of The Vengel Consulting Group.

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