You’ll Always Have Demotivated Employees if You Don’t Follow These Leadership Tactics


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The latest reports for Q1 2024 note that employee motivation and engagement have fallen to just 30%, the lowest levels in the past 11 years. The greatest decrease in motivation is among the younger generation and those who work only remotely or only from the office.

Why is this happening? How can founders and C-level management help employees stay motivated? Let’s try to figure it out.

First things first: why is the interest among employees going down?

One important thing to consider is the generational gap. Today, Generation Z has a different mindset toward career building than their predecessors. They care more about things like finding meaning in their work rather than just making money or advancing up the career ladder in the usual ways. This can confuse managers who expect younger employees to want the same things they did when they were starting. However, this expectation often clashes with reality.

As a co-founder and COO of my company, I often notice this when interviewing people between 20 and 25. For these young people, a sense of personal fulfillment takes precedence over the traditional markers of success. Macroeconomic factors, such as the depreciation of money, likely influence this change in attitude. Earning money doesn’t seem as important to young people, given its decreasing value.

So, then, what can be done to counteract this and keep people engaged in their workplace? Here are some ideas that I recommend business leaders keep in mind.

1. Empower employees, foster accountability

To start with a personal example, I suggest granting employees more control over their work environment and schedule. At my company, we’ve adopted a hybrid work model where workers can choose their preferred work format. This means employees can choose whether to work from home or come to the office and the hours during which they work. This flexibility helps people work when they feel most productive and promotes a culture of trust and self-accountability.

This approach is often called the ROWE (results-only work environment) approach. Instead of closely watching employees and controlling them, we focus on the results they achieve. We trust our team to manage their workload and get things done. This way of doing things helps with a work-life balance and makes people feel more responsible, productive, and happy in their jobs.

Related: You’ll Never Escape the Cycle of Turnover If You Don’t Learn This Important Skill

2. Create a dynamic environment to cultivate growth among workers

Another note is to create a dynamic environment where employees feel challenged and encouraged to grow. This means forming a diverse pool of tasks that avoids drowning your workers in the same routine every day. Of course, some operational tasks are necessary for a company to run smoothly. But it’s equally crucial to provide opportunities for your employees to stretch their skills and tackle new challenges.

Managers play a key role in this approach, as they are responsible for forming and curating this task pool. They need to ensure that each team member has a mix of tasks that they’re good at and tasks that help them learn and grow. This way, managers can make work more interesting for their team and keep them motivated and engaged.

3. Leverage shared team activities to build a sense of community

Another tactic you may wish to consider is fostering camaraderie and shared interests among team members. You can achieve this by organizing various activities and events that unite employees. In-office quests, sports challenges, meetups and holiday celebrations are excellent ways to cultivate a sense of community and belonging.

Shared experiences provide opportunities for social interaction and also promote teamwork, creativity, and mutual support. This results in a positive work environment and stronger relationships within the team.

Related: How Business Leaders Can Keep Employees Engaged

4. Embrace cultural diversity, value individual work-life balance

Finally, being a company leader means paying attention to the diverse cultural mindsets and values within your team, especially when operating on the international stage. Understanding and respecting cultural differences, particularly regarding the concept of work-life balance, are crucial when trying to create a supportive work environment.

My company has team members scattered worldwide, covering the US, Europe, and Asia. With such a multicultural team, we recognize that attitudes toward work-life balance can vary widely across regions. Leaders must adopt a flexible and empathetic approach that respects employees’ individual values and boundaries.

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