January 6, 2016
Just over a third (34 percent) of UK employees could not name a single occasion that motivated them at work last year, new research claims. The ‘Employee motivation: Who came out on top in 2015?’ report suggests that despite a quarter (24 percent) of staff saying ‘yes’ they felt motivated at work in 2015, nearly half of the UK workforce collectively felt neutral or negative feelings towards their job over the course of the whole year. The survey was commissioned by Red Letter Days for Business, to explore one of the building blocks affecting the low engagement and productivity rates in the UK – employee motivation. It found that 25-34 year olds were the most motivated at work last year, as this age group are likely to be working their way up the career ladder. And unsurprisingly, when asked what would be most likely to motivate them at work, nearly half of respondents, whatever the age, suggested a good work/life balance.
When asked how they felt about their job in 2015, employees replied:
- They loved every second of their job (14 percent)
- They had to work hard, but still enjoyed all aspects of their job (40 percent)
- They’re sat on the fence and don’t feel any emotion towards work (27 percent)
- It was all work and no play (7 percent)
- My employer expected too much from me (7 percent)
- I didn’t like any aspect of my job last year (5 percent)
How motivated was each generation at work in 2015? (ranked from most to least):
- 25-34: most motivated age group with 39 percent saying ‘yes’ they felt motivated
- 35-44: 24 percent said ‘yes’ they felt motivated
- 55+: 23 percent said ‘yes’ they felt motivated
- 18-24: 21 percent said ‘yes’ they felt motivated
- 45-54: least motivated age group with just 17 percent saying ‘yes’ they felt motivated
Bill Alexander, CEO at Red Letter Days for Business says: “It’s worrying that only a small percentage of each age group could say ‘yes’ they feel motivated at work. What’s more worrying is how little 18-24 year olds are driven – this is our workforce of the future therefore employers need to do more the nurture this talent.”
What factors drove motivation?
People taking part in the survey were first asked to confirm what would motivate them at work, followed by a free text box to write about an occasion they could remember that made them feel driven last year.
Top 5 motivators of 2015 were:
- I had a good work/life balance (45 percent)
- I have a motivating boss who is very good at their job (25 percent)
- I have great peers, we always manage to motivate each other (19 percent)
- My boss is very good at saying thank you. It keeps me motivated (17 percent)
- The office environment is very motivating (16 percent)
However, when it came to the free text box over a third (34 percent) of employees said they could not remember a specific occasion when they felt motivated by their employer.
“It’s concerning that such a large percentage of our workforces had difficulty naming a specific time when they felt driven,” says Bill Alexander, CEO at Red Letter Days for Business. “However, we must note that out of the employees who could remember an occasion the top responses fell into one of four categories: achieved, challenged, gained knowledge and recognised.”
What affected employee motivation?
Finally, the report explored elements that could affect motivation in the workplace such as hygiene factors and staff recognition and rewards. The results show flexibility, freedom, high quality tools and recognition are key factors that can have a positive – and negative – impact on a workforce’s drive:
- Flexibility to enable staff to choose where they work: 46 percent of staff who could choose whether they worked at home or in the office in 2015 were highly engaged.
- Freedom to allow staff to perform personal tasks while at work: 48 percent of staff who were allowed to shop online while at work were highly engaged. In comparison, out of the employees who were not allowed this freedom just 27 percent were highly engaged.
- Provide staff with high quality tools to do their job: Half of staff who receive high quality tools at work are highly engaged at work.
- Recognise hard work: 82 percent of employees who said ‘yes’ I felt motivated in 2015, were rewarded with some form of reward or recognition for a job well done.
Click here to download the report.
Meanwhile another report suggests that 2016 may not be much better (sorry) and that the holidays themselves are likely to contribute to a bad start for the year. The study from MetLife Employee Benefits claims the idea that holidays are a time to “switch off and unwind” is rapidly disappearing. It suggests that the biggest cause of stress, identified by 43 per cent of employees, will be readjusting after taking time off. However, for 31 per cent the main worry will be catching up with work backlogs caused by having to take time off. Furthermore, 25 per cent will be battling financial pressures caused by Christmas spending.
Tom Gaynor, employee benefits director of MetLife UK, said: “Making the most of time away from work is important and employees need to be able to relax. Of course it is a bit of a shock to the system having to go back to routines after holidays but readjusting should not be a cause of stress and worry. However, it seems it is a concern for many people as they worry about catching up with backlogs at work. Workplace stress is a major issue for employers and employees and it has a real impact on business performance.”