Employee Engagement Leads to Motivation, Performance, and Profit
It’s a common misconception that employee motivation is unimportant, compared with say having to work because they have no choice, when it comes to productivity. It’s also a misconception, when motivation is discussed, that all employees need to motivate them is money.
The truth is that motivated employees are much more productive and the key to getting and keeping them motivated is a workplace culture that prizes positivity and engagement. Hyper-competitive environments might work for some individuals, but the truth staring us in the face is that most people prefer to feel safe and comfortable at their job, as well as able to collaborate with their colleagues without feeling like they are jeopardizing their careers.
A Culture of Winning
So, what does a ‘winning’ office culture look like? There are three main characteristics that go into making a positive, engaging culture that motivates employees: a sense of community, employee affirmation, and learning opportunities.
A sense of community means tapping into people’s need to belong, something highlighted by today’s social media culture. People want to be part of a group in which they feel included and where they can share information and interests with others. To accomplish this goal your organization should ensure that all employees feel needed and essential in achieving the organization’s objectives.
Employee affirmation involves giving employees positive feedback, rewards or praise for doing their jobs well, rather than just criticism when they do badly. For example, your sales team might go the extra mile when they know they will gain recognition and rewards for doing so. Affirmation can definitely lead to more initiative and incentive.
Finally, learning opportunities are essential to keep employees engaged and motivated. Allowing employees to increase their skills and abilities on the job can help to improve their performance. Motivation can be low when employees don’t have the correct knowledge to do their jobs, so giving them the opportunity to learn can really help with this.
A Nurturing Environment
Making your employees feel like they are part of something they care about is one thing, but the physical environment that they are in is also a significant factor. While sparse, uniform cubicles are a good strategy if all you care about is cramming a large number of employees into a single space, it might be worth investing in higher-quality desk furnishings to enable your employees to feel like their workplace cares about their wellbeing.
For example, some cool or unique office furniture like beanbags or contemporary office chairs can go a long way toward making the office environment welcoming and interesting. Other possibilities include adjustable height workstations, and controllable temperature settings. Here are a few fundamental elements that can positively impact office design:
- Thermal comfort/temperature: temperature, airflow and humidity can all affect productivity. Consider zoned temperature controls or underfloor airflow.
- Access to daylight, views and nature: this can affect circadian rhythms, leading to issues with alertness. Try providing outdoor spaces for use by employees, and use glass where visual privacy is not required.
- Noise control: noise can both enable or disable productivity. Noise absorption, blocking and covering (i.e., sound masking) can all help to reduce distractions. Alternatively, provide headsets to allow noise to be tuned out entirely.
- Human factors: adjustable furniture is key here to allow employees to feel at home in and in control of their environment. Also consider designing stairs that are accessible and pedestrian-friendly, and equip employees with tools that encourage mobility in the workplace.
- Indoor air quality: sick building syndrome is a real issue that affects the health of many workers. Invest in workplace finishes like carpets and paint with low particulates, gases or volatile organic compounds, and ensure that HVAC equipment is maintained and checked on a regular basis.
- Colour: brighter colours can increase focus, and different colours have different effects – for example, reds can enhance feelings of strength and energy, and blues can be calming. Aim to use colour strategically to enhance various feelings and behaviours.
- Crowding: crowding can lead to stress, reducing workplace satisfaction. High ceilings and lighter, brighter environments can help to reduce this. Plants, furniture and decorative art can also help to reduce the feeling of crowding.
Using these design tips, you can help to support your winning workplace culture and improve both employee satisfaction and productivity.