Aussies “uninspired” at work

by 03 Jan 2012

New research* shows that Australians are largely uninspired at work, and with new year’s day behind us, those feeling least motivated are likely on the lookout for a new job already.

Workplace performance expert Tony Wilson said people naturally reassess their priorities at the beginning of a new year, so for those employees who have been feeling “uninspired”, there’s a good chance they’re already planning their exits.

“Given that we are primed to come out of a slow economy and the labour market might start to look more attractive, it points to a new motivation for people to start searching for a new workplace,” he said.

Low morale and lack of motivation can cost employers dearly, but Wilson believes there are several things employers can do to influence their staff motivation levels.

“Because the days of staying in one company for your whole working life are gone, employees are slower to commit to the overall good of the company and buy into organisational goals,” Wilson said.

“Most people are still somewhat motivated by this, but they also need to know that they are going to be looked after and that they can achieve their own goals within the organisation – whether that means climbing the corporate ladder, making more money or achieving work-life balance.”

While Wilson believes addressing these needs on an individual basis will help to motivate people to perform at their best, HR managers who are struggling to regain the engagement and energy of their employees should consider the following advice:

1. Build trust
Brian Bissaker, Colonial First State CEO, believes the crucial first step towards boosting staff morale is to build trust with your team. “Trust is built up by people delivering on what they say they will, so you know you can rely upon them, and they don’t let you down,” he said.

2. Show clear direction
“Leaders must show clear direction and let people see how they contribute – people want to make sense of their work,” Wilson said. They want to know how the things they do contribute to the big picture and feel valued for their contribution.”

3. Promote a sense of belonging
Creating a sense of belonging is also important to create a strong workforce with high employee morale and motivation. “I try to adopt a style that is quite down to earth and open, approachable and accessible. That’s purposeful – I want all of my people to feel like they belong,” Bissaker said.

4. Measure progress
“Managers should create a feeling of progress and achievement. Everyone wants to leave the office at the end of the day feeling like they’ve had some sort of success. Unfortunately, many employees turn up and just go through the motions without knowing that they are doing a good a job or not. They need feedback, development and a way to feel like they are achieving small milestones and goals.”

* Employees uninspired at work – Randstad's 2011 World of Work report. Australia falling behind India and China, Global Perspectives Survey, conducted by research firm ORC International.

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