We are half way through the weeks #WPSTips on #motivation, and we have so far had a great response from our Tweeps and our Facebookers - so thank you for engaging. I wanted to just quickly talk about the science of workplace motivation. Over the past few decades workplace stress related mental health difficulties have been rising across the developed world. Research has been conducted into stress, and how to combat it for over 30 years, and it is still on the rise. The effects of stress related mental health difficulties; such as depression can be so detrimental that the World Health Organisation (2012), predicts by the year 2020 it will account for more deaths than cancer, and heart disease combined.
Workplace stress related mental health difficulties are not limited to one profession, they occur across the board. Although research suggests a little stress can be a great motivator, when we have too much it can tip us over the edge and can cause us to shut down. Ultimately the more stressed you become, the less motivated you are to perform within your role, the
consequences of depleted motivation, is an increased level of stress... It is a vicious spiral, and one which continues to travel in a downward trajectory, until we just can't cope anymore.
Within the psychological community there are different workplace motivational theories:
The above are just a few, and many link with other well known psychological theories such as; Social Learning Theory (Bandura, 1977), or Operant Conditioning Theory (Skinner, 1948).
So what is the point of having all these theories, and no solutions to the problem? Well in the research world there have been may proposed solutions to the decreasing levels of motivation, and increasing level of workplace stress. The difficulty is the transference of these solutions into the real world. Most 'solutions' rely on employers working proactively to combat the possibility of stress, and most businesses work re-actively to the changes within society.
The key to increasing motivation in the workplace is to build open, honest and trusting relationships with your employees. If you don't know your staff you will never know what motivates them, and any reward strategies put in place will fail. Although for some it's hard to believe - not everyone is motivated by money. Therefore financial rewards such as bonuses do not always work, and often make no impact on an individuals motivation to achieve. Once you have a secure professional relationship, you will not only know what motivates them, you will also be able to recognise if they are struggling, and understand how to support them through any difficult times. Simply put - adopting a management mindset which focuses on motivating, and supporting employees in the workplace is one of the sure fired ways to reduce the amount of stress, and associated mental health difficulties in the workplace.