The 10 Biggest Killers of Employee Motivation

Imagine the last time you were happy and content at work.

Hopefully it’s not once in a year type of thing, but let’s imagine it was two days ago when you finally finished a long-lasting project that had been keeping you up all night.

Now imagine the feeling and motivation this happiness gave you. At that particular moment, it probably felt like you could conquer any challenge and had the motivation to move mountains. Most probably, your productivity was at its peak. No wonder; a happy employee is also a productive employee.

I am sorry to burst the bubble, something happened that killed your motivation. Unfortunately sooner rather than later, it will come and take you back to the starting point.

Usually one of these 10 motivation killers will find a way to sneak up on your happiness (or your employee’s happiness) and kick it right to the floor.

The 10 worst motivation killers

So, which kind of motivation killers am I talking about?

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  1. Inadequate rewards. Not being paid what you’re worth? That just — and let’s be honest — sucks. Sure, the clear understanding of what you’re worth might vary between you and your manager, you still should be entitled to fair reward system. Even 26 percent of highly engaged employees would jump ship for a 5 percent pay increase. One possible solution is to define an open rewards system, so each party knows what to expect.
  2. Awful office space. Ever seen pictures of the Google offices and dreamed about working there? Well congratulations, because you’re one of millions. Jokes aside, our office environment has a huge impact on our productivity and well-being. Did you know that the rapidly spreading trend of open offices report 62 percent more sick days? Perhaps it’s time to bring back the traditional offices, or rearrange current ones.
  3. No self-development. The Internet might be almighty, but your self-imposed pressure isn’t. You need the opportunity to grow because if you’re not learning, you’re falling behind. Therefore, managers need to offer inspirational and educational training and stop looking at it as just a business expense.
  4. Inefficient collaboration. On average, 39 percent of people feel their input isn’t appreciated. In a situation like this, how long are you motivated to give your best? Chances are that sooner, rather than later, your performance will suffer. Improving internal communication and collaboration should be on top of manager’s priority list.
  5. Too many negative people. It’s unfortunate that negativity spreads so much quicker that positivity. What is more, 24 percent of actively disengaged people spread their negativity to co-workers. Walking down the street, you might be able to avoid grouchy people, but at work, you need to collaborate with them.
  6. Fear of failure. Did you know that Warren Buffett was first rejected by Harvard University? There is not one person that has had a straightforward road to success. It’s how you recover and learn from your failures that make you stronger and more successful. Staying in the comfort zone might be, well, comfortable, but it’s not sustainable in the long run.
  7. Lack of clear goals. It’s hard to give your best if you don’t fully understand the goal. How do you know what to focus on? Which project should gain more attention? Which tasks should be handled right away? To avoid getting stuck, try the method Google is using – OKR’s Objectives and Key Results. Keep the objectives publicly under everyone’s nose.
  8. Micromanaging bosses. Here’s a fun fact: 38 percent of people would rather do unpleasant activities, like opt for more work or sit next to someone who eats noisily, rather than sit next to their micromanaging boss. Today’s workforce demands more autonomy, empowerment and inspiration to keep their motivation high and performance glooming.
  9. Useless meetings. On average, office workers around the globe waste 3,8 hours a week on unproductive meetings. What a waste it is. Although it might not be reasonable to start avoiding meetings, it is reasonable to start putting more effort in making them productive. Using a team meeting checklist might come handy while preparing for another meeting.
  10. Time wasting. Chances are you are willing to put in more hours if you felt your time and input are appreciated. But when the manager sends another email, makes a new appointment, or share another piece of irrelevant information, the motivation quickly falls. Time is such a scarce resource that wasting it should be illegal.

What kills your motivation at work and how do you handle it?