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According to a 2018 Gallup poll, only 34% of US workers are enthusiastic about and committed to their work.  Wow!  If that is true in your business, then the vast majority of your employees are not fully engaged.  They are not thriving.  And your bottom line is worse off as a result.

In case that statistic didn’t jolt you, here are a few more:

  • According to an EY study, only 38% of workers place a “great deal of trust” in their employer.
  • CareerBuilder found that only 42% of managers have received any management training. (Imagine how frustrating and demotivating that is for managers.)
  • C. Tanner reports that 79% of employees who quit say one of the main reasons is being unappreciated.

We know that it is important to have engaged, happy, valued employees.  Just consider these figures from Officevibe:  Companies with engaged employees make 2.5 times the revenue, and highly engaged employees are 87% less likely to leave.

There are plenty of other sources that point to satisfied workers positively affecting the bottom line.  Just do an online search if you need convincing.

Doing what is best for employees is the right thing to do just because we are called to love others as we desire to be loved.  But doing what is in the best interest of your workers turns out to also be in the best interest of your company.  It’s a win-win proposition.

As a leader, you need to honestly assess how happy your employees are.  Perhaps that’s something that you’ve not thought about much.  But it should be one of your top priorities.  Otherwise you’re settling for less-than-optimum efficiency from your biggest single expense – salaries.  When you look at it that way, it makes more sense to keep this high on your agenda!

So, how do you motivate employees?  There are a lot of ideas out there.  Some sound good, but in reality they don’t move the dial much.

One common misconception is that it’s all about the money.  Pay the workers more – that’s all they care about.  But this simply isn’t true.  Chances are in your own professional life there are times when the money failed to keep you satisfied in a job.

Yes, good salaries are important, but it goes deeper than that.  Prof. Leonard J. Glick of Northeastern University explained in a Forbes interview that after the initial hire, salary fades in importance:  “The motivation comes from the things I’ve been talking about—the challenge of the work, the purpose of the work, the opportunity to learn, the opportunity to contribute.”

Glick also dispels the myth that perks motivate employees, adding “I don’t think people work harder, work better because of [perks].”  Are free meals or sporting event tickets going to make employees passionate about their work?  Nope.  While they do no harm, perks lack the power to push people successfully through the daily routine on the job.

Motivating and engaging employees takes real work.  The roll-up-your-sleeves kind of work that consumes time and energy and resources.  But at the end of the day, it’s worth it.