When employee morale or performance levels are low, businesses often focus on initiatives to motivate employees. However while motivational initiatives are a way to inspire employees to work harder, they do little or nothing to eliminate the factors that may be demotivating those same employees.
Demotivators, that decrease employee motivation, can be a result of normal operating practices and often go unnoticed or their impact underestimated. And if left unaddressed some of the more significant and potent demotivators can have a severe consequence on morale, performance and culture.
Here are some of the top demotivators:
- Office politics – Why work hard when politics, not performance, is what gets you ahead?
- Unclear expectations – Without realising it, management often sends a bewildering array of mixed messages that confuse, rather than guide, employees. For example, don’t push for speed at all costs, then demand quality.
- Unnecessary rules – Don’t prohibit talking, for example, when talking doesn’t hinder performance.
- Unproductive meetings – Have you ever noticed how often employees leave meetings looking exhausted, battered and bored? Forcing employees to waste time in useless meetings won’t push them to be more efficient back on the job.
- Constant change – Change is vital for organizational success, but constant change is extremely disruptive. A habit of last-minute changes will erode the patience of even the most motivated of employees.
- Internal competition – Internal competition is not healthy. It creates a mentality of us vs. them.
- Withholding information – Employees who aren’t trusted, or who are lied to, aren’t inspired to work harder for the company.
- Tolerating poor performance – Other employees will ask: Why bother to perform well?
- Being taken for granted – Employees will make the extra effort if you show you appreciate it.
- Unfairness – Employees may not say anything, but productivity will take a dive.
Any way you look at it, the human and financial cost of demotivators in the workplace is staggering. Demotivators exist because they are allowed to, and they remain because little or nothing has been done about them.
Discover the problems in your organisational systems that are demotivating your employees and eliminate them. Once an organisations focuses on addressing on identified problems, demotivators will start to decrease.