How to Motivate Today’s Workforce

We’ve all been there at one time or another. Sitting at work with no desire to actually work. There are many reasons why employees lack motivation. Maybe the work isn’t interesting, or the end reward for doing the work isn’t enticing enough. Maybe you hit the snooze alarm twice this morning and just don’t have it in you to “give 110%.”

According to a 2013 survey conducted by Ragan Communications, only 10% of the American workforce looks forward to going to work every day. Once there, only 19% are actually satisfied with the job they are performing. What business can expect to prosper if so few of their employees feel motivated to do their job?

Whatever the reason for unproductive workdays, companies are missing out on valuable work hours from their employees if they are not working to keep them motivated. Ultimately, there is a real danger of losing an employee altogether, and not just for monetary gain.

So what does work to motivate employees today? The answer might surprise you. Here are a few statistics from Ragan:

• Recognition- 83% of employees said recognition for their contributions is more fulfilling than rewards or gifts
• Growth- 76% said opportunities for growth were the top reason they stayed with an organization
• Fun- 90% find a fun work environment extremely motivating

Notice that not one of these motivating factors involves a bigger paycheck. The Ragan survey revealed that 70% of workers are more motivated by non-monetary rewards at work. In the majority of cases, more money does not equal more motivation. What employers need to do is develop reward systems that will engage employees, instead of simply dangling a higher salary like a carrot in front of a mule.

These reward systems can be as simple as public recognition, letters of gratitude from the company to its employees, or free refreshments in the break room. They can also be more complex, like creating more room for growth for those employees who work harder. And don’t forget about the 90% of workers who find a more fun work environment to be more motivating. Encourage your employees to make their work more enjoyable by cultivating a fun, more relaxed work place.

Taking a different approach to motivating employees will become even more critical as member of the so-called “millennial generation” enter the workforce in greater numbers. These younger workers have been raised in an environment of instant communication – and instant gratification. They are supremely capable, but have been conditioned to expect recognition and approval for everything they do. Employers who ignore this cultural trend do so at their own peril.

Work with your employees on ways to make their jobs more enjoyable and engaging. Their suggestions could lead to a positive change in your work environment, and a workforce that is in the coveted 10% of people who look forward to going to work every day.

Michael Serabian is president of PQNDT, Inc., the NDT and Quality Inspection industry’s leading personnel recruitment and placement agency. For additional information, please contact him at (800) 736-3841, or visit our web site at