For roughly 85% of companies, morale plummets sharply after an employee’s first six months. Why does that happen, even for employees with strong credentials and abundant talent? Here are six main reasons why even the best employees sometimes lose motivation—and what to do about it.
Not seeing the value of what they’re doing.
If employees don’t believe in the goal the team is striving toward, they won’t feel motivated to achieve it. Similarly, if they don’t know how the tasks they’ve been assigned link to the bigger picture of what the company is trying to achieve, their motivation will decline.
Make sure employees feel inspired about their purpose. Do they truly understand the good that your company is doing and the value it delivers? Survey them to find out and take action to give them that clarity. At your meetings, share concrete stories of how your work has benefited your clients or the broader community.
Feeling disengaged from the team.
If employees lack a sense of camaraderie with their coworkers, morale will plummet. To feel like a team, employees need to get to know each other as individuals. Understanding what drives one another will help them all feel like a cohesive unit that is eager to get things done together. Even if employees can’t be in the same physical space, you can hold virtual hangouts on a platform like Zoom to help them connect. Managers should also make an effort to get to know each employee, which will help everyone feel important and valued.
Feeling uninterested in their work.
Not feeling intellectually engaged by their work will cause employees’ motivation to drop. While employees might not love every aspect of their jobs, make sure they each have work that they find mentally stimulating. Consider how you can re-delegate tasks, when possible, to ensure that everyone has work that’s a good fit for them. If boredom with their routine is a problem, you might also think about cross-training employees in ways that add value to their role and allow them to cover for one another when need be.
Having disruptive emotions
Struggling with emotions like anxiety, anger, and depression can also affect employees’ motivation levels. It’s hard to perform at your best if you’re always distracted by these feelings, which cloud a person’s focus, impacting productivity and quality of work. If employees seem to be struggling with difficult emotions, talk with them in a private setting about whether these feelings stem from the work environment, their responsibilities, work/life balance, or another source. Find out how you can support them in gaining control over their emotions so they can both feel better and perform better.
Anxious employees often respond well to positive affirmations of their competence. If employees lack confidence, giving them more frequent praise and positive feedback can go a long way toward boosting motivation.
Not feeling they have a voice.
If employees feel they have no voice and no way to actively participate in guiding the direction of their work, they may lose motivation. Have direct conversations with them about how the team could improve its effectiveness and efficiency. Generation Z, in particular, has a strong need for self-expression and autonomy in their work.
Plus, autonomy helps employees to better leverage their strengths and contribute more value to their organization.
The perception of unfairness.
If employees feel that pay, benefits, and other perks are distributed unequally, morale is bound to decrease. Likewise, if some employees have far more face time with their boss, who appears to be encouraging some people’s development more than others, morale will drop. The solution? Make sure each manager is acting as a coach to the whole team, rather than just a select few. Provide ongoing training for managers to support their leadership development. Further, evaluate salary levels, bonuses, benefits, and reward systems to ensure everyone is receiving the incentives they’ve earned.
By addressing these key reasons why good employees often lose motivation, you’ll greatly improve morale in your organization. With solid performance management strategies, you’ll see all the employees on your team flourish and reach a heightened level of productivity.