The Factors Preventing Employee Motivation and Employee Engagement

Is it laziness?

Is it they don’t care?

Is it they only are there for the paycheck?

Is it that they don’t feel valued?

Is it they are not inspired?

I believe it can be all of the above.

Yet…if you believe as I do that most people want to do a good job, especially when first hired, what happens to get in the way and sabotage employee motivation and employee engagement. I mean, few emotionally healthy people start a new job with the intention of taking advantage of their new employer. Most people want to contribute at a high level and make a difference in their professional life.

So something must get occur in the work environment over time that gets in the way of an employee’s motivation or desire to be engaged in their work and contribute at high levels.

If we start with the belief that employees initially want to do a good job, then other environmental factors must be getting in the way. What might they be?

How about…

• A lack of appropriate resources being provided (slow computers, outdated software, old desks and chairs, fluorescent lighting in the environment, etc).

• Learned helplessness from offering ideas, solutions, etc. that seemed to be ignored and never responded to…

• No one ever even asked for their input or ideas about how to make their job more effective, easier, less stressful or more productive…

• Being consistently micro-managed, showing a lack of trust and confidence

What would (could) happen if company leaders invested time in giving employees a real outlet for expressing their ideas for business efficiencies and improvements?

Like with any investment business leaders must believe there will be a return on that investment.

Historically, business leaders who think they’ve tried to integrate business improvement suggestions from employees (e.g, the dreaded and worthless “Suggestion Box”) haven’t gotten quality input. And, often they don’t receive any level of quantity of input, either.

This leads to the mistaken impression that their people don’t care, or they only care for the paycheck and other fringe benefits.

This impression comes from focus group sessions facilitated by department or company leaders that do not have the facilitation skills nor the neutral relationship necessary to facilitate such sessions. Often times these sessions turn into a groan and moan session.

So many mis-perceptions build between employers and employees from these type of processes that low levels of trust, commitment and loyalty develop on both sides.

These mis-perceptions occur due to poor communication.

Poor communication in a very specific manner.

I believe it is in the way employers, business leaders, bosses (call them what you will) ask the question(s).

One of the 7 critical communication strategies of confident leaders is “Specificity.” This includes asking the right question, specific questions, in the right way.

Leave a comment below and let me know what you think. Next week I’ll write more about ways questions should be posed to get better responses that provide a company leader with answers that will offer a high ROI on the effort, and build a team of highly motivated and engaged employees.

’til next time, make it a great week!


3 thoughts on “The Factors Preventing Employee Motivation and Employee Engagement

  1. Robert Gately says:

    When we hire someone with marginal to poor job suitability all other mistakes by management are compounded. If we want motivated and engaged employees, we must start by hiring competent employees who are motivated by the job and who will become engaged if managed well. The hard part in this process is to get all supervisors, managers, and executives to do their jobs well, i.e., eliminate their mistakes. The easy part is hiring the right people.

  2. John says:

    I certainly appreciate what you are saying and I would accept much of what you are suggesting, however, we have to remember, there are two people involved in this relationship, so this can’t be a one sided argument.
    From the employers side, I would suggest that the employees need to be passionate about what they do, have the right attitude and the position should be a good career fit. If these three things aren’t in place, your list won’t make any difference.

    You identified Specificity as one of the 7 critical communication strategies. From my vantage point, it’s not what’s said that’s important, it’s what is or isn’t understood. I’ve seen many leaders speak with crystal clarity, but we have to remember that every individual listens to these messages and they pass through their own personal filters. We need to validate what was said and understood, so I would move validation of what was understood to the front of the line.

  3. Skip Weisman, Workplace Communication Expert says:

    Thanks for stopping by and adding value to the discussion. My apologies for the delay in responding. You are 100% right, there are always two points of view in the communication and the person on the listening side certainly brings their filters to the interaction. I didn’t go into all the details of my “specificity” strategy as I wanted to keep the post short and it wasn’t the main point of the article.

    But, gaining clarity from the other party in the conversation on what was understand and what the specific next steps or desired objectives to be achieved are, etc. are part of it. I had that exact conversation with a participant in my Confident Leaders’ Training Camp conference call training this afternoon and I offered her specific questions she can ask to gain clarity.

    For example, instead of asking “do you understand what has to happen?” Ask, “Tell me three specific things you are going to do as a result of our conversation to begin moving towards fulfilling that outcome?”

    With the former question you will receive nodding heads and other positive verbal and non-verbals giving you the impression that understanding has taken place. With the latter you will get specific feedback as to how things will be implemented moving forward based on how the understanding took place.

    John, thanks for bringing out the need for me to be more specific. Please come back and visit again. You’re welcome anytime.

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