//A Call to Inspire and Motivate

A Call to Inspire and Motivate

The pandemic has been brutal to all of us. Companies laying-off workers, workers forced to resign from their jobs to take care of their children or dependents, and children forced to stay at home. It has taken a toll physically, mentally, and emotionally and has resulted in many workers being tired and feeling drained all the time.

Now that the economy is opening up and employees are returning to the workplace, we, as heads of our respective organizations, are facing a new set of challenges. Returning employees are overwhelmed, unmotivated and disengaged. Work is nothing more than a routine that they need to go through and get by. They do their jobs not because they want to but because they need to. And this kind of attitude kills creativity and passion that push companies forward.

Employee motivation and engagement are directly tied to the company’s performance and productivity. With all things being equal, organizations with motivated employees get great results and perform better year on year than those who do not. In one of their earlier studies, Harvard Business Review revealed that increasing employee motivation resulted in a 20% increase in sales and a 47% increase in profits. On the flip side, unengaged employees cost economies billions of dollars every year. Gallup estimates that globally, 80% of the workforce is disengaged, which costs around $8.1 trillion. 

The irony of it all is that employee motivation is one of the most researched and well-studied constructs by business gurus and scholars. But somehow, it is still one of the aspects of organizational development that many companies can’t seem to get right. 

The question is, how do we keep employees motivated and engaged? Please indulge me, but I believe it is necessary to go back to the basics and understand motivation.

In its simplest term, motivation is the “why” of an action or behavior – why do people do what they do? why is your employee doing (or not doing) what you want them to do? – and that “why” is influenced by something from the outside (extrinsic) or the inside (intrinsic). 

Extrinsic motivation refers to external factors that drive or force us to do something. It is the incentive you get for every car sold or the pay deduction when you arrive late for work. It is known as the “carrot-and-stick” approach, where managers reward good results and punish lousy performance. 

Today, most organizations use this as their primary type of motivational tool because it is easier to understand and implement.

What we should know about extrinsic motivation is that 1) it only works for simple tasks with defined metrics, 2) it does not usually work for tasks that require creativity, and 3) it is unsustainable and does not have a lasting effect on the employee or the organization. 

Let’s take pay rise, for example. One factor that increases motivation is giving higher pay and better benefits. Since people are designed to want more, no amount of compensation will ever be enough. If an organization’s approach to motivation is to increase salary, the time will come when salary becomes very expensive that it becomes unviable. And every time a want is unmet, motivation plunges and satisfaction drops.

On the other hand, intrinsic motivation refers to factors that make us do something for the sole reason of personal gratification. This can be the thrill we get from running five kilometers every day or the gratification we get from cooking a meal for our family. Intrinsic motivation is personal in nature and taps into an individual’s value and belief system. 

This is the kind of motivation we need our employees to feel. Our employees must believe that what they are doing adds value, not only to the company but also to their personal lives; that there is a greater purpose than encoding data or closing that sale. 

To intrinsically motivate our subordinates, we need to inspire them.  

Inspiration is what triggered the greatest minds to create and pursue. It is the spark that ignites the flame, the push to start the engine. But inspiration is not enough, especially in teams and organizations. A basketball player may be inspired into being the highest scorer, but that does not mean that his team will win every game. Likewise, we can inspire people to act, but inspiration can only go so far without pursuing a common purpose. 

What we need to keep inspiration ablaze in the hearts and minds of people is a shared vision and mission. 

A shared vision and mission make employees see and understand what we want to achieve and how they fit in that picture. It gives them ownership and accountability. Together, it gives them a sense of value, belongingness, and resolve. 

When an employee feels valued as a person and as a member of a team, they take action well and above what is expected from them. They become excited, passionate, and engaged. 

And our role as leaders is to convey that vision to all levels of the organization. Not just to communicate in a way that is easy to understand and easier to articulate, but to advocate that it becomes the battle cry of the company, the current that pushes everybody in the right direction. We must excite them – make them take ownership of that vision and act according to its mission. 

Just like anything else, this is easier said than done. But it can be done. As long as we know our why, the what and the how will follow. 

By |2022-05-31T15:13:35+00:00March 1st, 2022|Thought Leader|Comments Off on A Call to Inspire and Motivate

About the Author:

Monty Stefansky joined Brightside Academy Ohio as Chief Financial Officer. With a diverse business background, Monty worked for numerous years in a private equity firm and helped grow the company’s holdings in the Healthcare Industry with a focus on Drug & Alcohol Rehab. In addition, Monty specialized in merger and acquisitions in various different industries. Monty’s focus and key role with Brightside Academy Ohio is to stabilize the current operations and to grow Brightside Academy Ohio’s imprint across the state of Ohio and to ensure that our Ohio operation is the premier child care and preschool provider available to all families. Monty can be reached at monty@brightsideohio.com.