Motivation in the workplace: How to improve performance

Everyone at least once in their career feels demotivated at work. While bosses and workplaces make a difference to how an employee feels, personal motivation is far more important.

Here Dublin Bet look at the psychology of motivation, how to push your business and employees forward to success.

Some people pursue money, power and status (extrinsic motivation) and others find that self-worth, self-esteem and self-satisfaction (intrinsic motivation) are what drive us to exceptional work performance.

Business owners tend to be extrinsically motivated, moving towards accumulating money, power and status for their own benefit. Sales people tend to fall into this category, motivated by money and achieving their commission, however they are not necessarily looking for power or status.

Employees tend to be intrinsically motivated, seeking the approval of their colleagues and bosses, motivated by their own development and improving their self-worth.

Employers are always looking for better, faster and cheaper ways to improve either employee performance and/or wellbeing. Because of their beneficial impact on intrinsic motivation, well-being programmes have become an increasingly important must-have for companies seeking to remain competitive in the global war for talent.

Having an understanding of what motivates your employees, and to an extent, yourself, can help your business move forward towards success. Setting individual targets and goals for your employees can increase performance, morale and retain the best talent.

The most important questions we can ask about motivation are:

  • How do you find it?
  • How do you develop it?
  • How do you sustain it?

Psychologists tell us the most important motivational factor is autonomy. Having the freedom to choose makes us feel more in control. We take responsibility for our actions, and we achieve more because we do it our way.

Developing our motivation depends on recognising our achievements and celebrating successes in order to keep us heading towards our goals.

Setting targets for employees can give them something to aim for and give your staff control of their own development, whilst making your business more successful.

Sustaining our motivation, particularly for high achievers, is not easy. One way is to do it is to share our skills by coaching others to achieve their potential.

Understanding an individual’s goals and their motivation for staying in your company allows you to adjust to their needs and retain their talent.

It’s worth noting that studies suggest that people who are motivated to improve their wellbeing also tend to improve their performance at work.

Especially relevant for today’s complex world where stress is everywhere, research overwhelmingly confirms the benefits of a healthy mind in a healthy body. There is an irrefutable link between physical vitality and mental vitality. Everything flows from there.