It should come as no surprise that employee satisfaction isn’t always high. Indeed many people are not at all happy in their workplace environment, and that pizza recognition might not be the end-all-be-all answer to retaining and rewarding your company’s workforce.
Many unhappy folks get up at 5 a.m., shower, throw on the suit and tie and trudge to work because they have to. But often the reward/value system in which most employee and employer relations are built on are the cause of stress, tension and unhappiness that can lead to the loss of a valuable worker. In other words, “I do this so I can pay my bills, buy what I need, support my family, etc.”
Employee Surveys Reveal Further Motivations
Conversely, many people truly enjoy what they do every day in their workplace environment, and their employee motivation is high. They bounce out of bed ready to head to work, and what’s more, they look forward to the challenges and victories of the day because they are happy where they work and with what they do.
So what makes one group simply have work and the other group want to work? Many experts today disagree with the idea that we work simply for monetary reward, that work only so we can receive compensation for what performing tasks in a successful way.
Polls Reveal Employee Motivation as Factor in Employee Satisfaction
Recently, Time magazine reported that in 2010, less than half (45% to be exact) of American workers were satisfied with their jobs. Another employee survey commissioned by the American Psychological Association found that approximately 36% of employees complained of chronic work stress with 32% saying they were so dissatisfied with their workplace to look for another job within a year. Another Gallup poll showed that up to 80% of employees do not feel engaged at work and feel little or no loyalty or passion for their job.
Dire news. Makes one wonder why companies continue to offer employee development, bonuses, motivational seminars, pizza parties and other forms of motivational tools that are clearly not having the same impact they were 20 to 30 years ago.
Workplace Environment, Shifts in Motivation
It’s because our collective personality as employees has changed. We no longer seek the monetary reward as the sole reason for work. In today’s society employees are seeking self-satisfaction and fulfillment in all areas of their life. They want to feel they are receiving a life-changing or, at least, a life-improving, journey through love, play, faith and a healthy work environment.
In his book, Punished by Rewards, author Alfie Kohn states that traditional motivation no longer works and can actually hurt a work environment. He says that as soon as a punishment or reward is removed, the motivation of an employee disappears along with it.Secondly, if you don’t constantly “up” the reward system, then motivation goes stagnant, and in the end, using punishment or rewards kills the original desire of an employee to be proactive for its own sake. So, what does work? What makes employees want to come to work every day and do the best job that they can without the old-fashioned punishment/reward system? Or is pizza really the answer?
Employee Satisfaction Tied to Employee Development
One Harvard Business Review study says the top factor that kept employees happy and engaged was “making progress.” They reported that employees who felt they were given the employee development resources and time to excel in their position were more fulfilled and stimulated at work. In other words, they were happy.
So instead of supervisors being the source of motivation (i.e., offering raises, pizza parties and other reward events), they instead become mentors and help employees find their own source of motivation. According to a Calumet-Purdue report, employees reported that certain motivators kept them engaged and happy. The top ones were being able to challenge themselves, having a choice in what they do daily, being able to work within a team and receiving positive and true recognition for the work they did.
So, what motivates you? Think on this, because likely, the same factors that motivate you motivate your employees as well. Do the bonuses/pizza party/punishment and reward system still work? Is there still a case for it?
Share your thoughts.
Heide Brandes is a writer and content creator for Xceptional HR. She has more than 15 years of experience as an award-winning journalist and editor who specializes in human resources, career, and recruiting topics. You can learn more about Heide, our newest contributor at HeideWrites and follow her on Twitter @heidewrite.