How to nurture self-motivated employees who boost workplace productivity

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How to nurture self-motivated employees who boost workplace productivity

A motivated workforce can result in a more productive workforce. If your employees aren’t motivated for the work in front of them, it’s likely that they won’t perform to their full potential. As a manager or employer, it is your duty to help nurture employee motivation.

There are two main types of motivation – extrinsic and intrinsic.

Extrinsically motivated individuals will be motivated by external factors and rewards such as a pay rise, commission or paid time off. Meanwhile, intrinsic motivation comes from within. This type of motivation focuses on the personal desire to overcome challenges.

Intrinsic motivators include producing high quality work, building relationships with colleagues or feeling like an integral part of the organization. 

It has been argued that intrinsic motivation is the only type of motivation that leads to success. However, you cannot create self-motivated employees. You can only create an environment that allows self-motivated individuals to achieve their full potential. So, how can you help nurture self-motivated employees in order to boost workplace productivity?

Who are self-motivated employees?

Self-motivated employees look beyond extrinsic rewards of pay rises or bonuses. Instead, their motivators for career success are more psychological. Due to this internal focus, intrinsically motivated employees are focused on the company goals and strive to achieve those goals. Employees driven by intrinsic motivation are able to undertake work without the need for external input, micromanagement or extrinsic reward.

Self-motivated employees are a strategic asset for your organization. If you want to attract and retain highly productive and high-performing employees, you should focus on intrinsic motivators and nurturing self-motivated employees.

Why is motivation important?

There’s a vast number of benefits to having motivated employees from increased productivity to reduced business costs. By understanding the reasoning behind employees’ behavior and actions, and using those results to motivate them, you can improve business performance. 

According to Gallup, unmotivated employees can cost the U.S. between $450 – 550 billion in lost productivity each year. Therefore, learning how to motivate your employees can be fundamental to reducing your costs. Motivated employees will also be more engaged which will result in higher employee retention, productivity and company sales.

Knowing the importance of motivation in the workplace, here are some of the ways you can help nurture self-motivated employees.

How to nurture self-motivated employees

1) Let them have autonomy over their work

As we know, self-motivated employees are driven by internal factors rather than external rewards. A key way to nurture intrinsically motivated employees is to let them have autonomy over their own work.

Autonomy refers to having ownership or independent choice over your own actions. You can provide your employees with a sense of autonomy by letting them have responsibility over their workload, projects and upcoming tasks. If your employees are doing any company training, you may also want to consider self-led learning to let your self-motivated employees have control over their learning progress. 

In order to provide employees with autonomy over their work and nurture their intrinsic motivation, you should also consider allowing self-motivated employees to be involved in their goal-setting. Gallup found that employees whose managers involved them in goal setting were 3.6x more likely than other employees to be engaged in their work.

Providing employees with autonomy could also make them happier within their jobs and increase productivity. If you don’t already let your self-motivated employees have autonomy over their work, it may be time to hand them the reins and let them take control of their output. 

2) Recognize employee achievements

Although self-motivated employees may not be motivated by external rewards like bonuses, that doesn’t mean their achievements should go unnoticed. In fact, when employers recognize their employees achievements and contributions, engagement levels can increase by 60 percent. 

Recognizing an employee’s contributions to the team can provide them with an incentive to continue working hard to produce high quality results. Recognition has been highlighted as one of the main factors in attracting and maintaining “talent” within an organization.

3) Focus on communication

Communication is potentially one of the most overlooked ways of successfully motivating your work team. Through effective communication, you can nurture self-motivated employees and boost workplace productivity. 

Along with effective communication, it’s also important to have an honest and transparent communication line with your employees. Research suggests that withholding important information from staff could mean the difference between a motivated workforce and an unmotivated one. Whether the news is good or bad, employees will appreciate being kept in the loop as it will help them feel like a valued member of the company. Transparent communication could also improve business performance in terms of focus, engagement, and growing and recruiting talent.

4) Provide opportunities for success and development

As self-motivated individuals are driven by internal and psychological factors, it’s no surprise that offering the opportunity for further professional development can nurture these types of employees. 

Studies have shown that there is a link between self-motivation and professional development. Helping employees feel valued has been shown to have significant effects on their workplace performance. Employees that complete professional training will feel an increased sense of self-worth. This intrinsic motivator is sure to make self-motivated employees feel more engaged within their role and therefore can boost their productivity levels.

Providing employees with training opportunities will also show them that you are a company that cares about their personal development and may positively influence retention rates. A study by LinkedIn found that 94% of employees would stay at a company longer if it invested in their career.

How does your organization nurture self-motivated employees?

Now that you know some key ways to nurture self-motivated employees in order to boost workplace productivity and employee retention rates, take time to consider your own processes. Evaluate whether your company is currently nurturing self-motivated employees and think of new ways to support these employees in performing to the best of their ability.


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