Think Motivation Doesn’t Matter? The Relationship between Motivation, Mistakes and Money
We know we have a problem with employee engagement and productivity. We all experience it and we find in statistics published by the Gallup organization year after year that only 30% of employees are really engaged in the jobs they have. That leaves the other 70% of American workers disengaged in their work. Disengaged employees can be careless. They make mistakes. They develop complacency resulting in lower productivity, creates the need for extra time and effort troubleshooting errors and correcting mistakes that result in rework costs. They often suffer from lack of creativity and innovation. They can cost you money not only in lost opportunity costs, they can damage to your quality, your reputation, and even cause you to lose customers. All these hidden costs directly impact profit because they are costs that are not anticipated and not factored into pricing. Disengaged employees are responsible for a majority of the hidden amounts of money that seep out of your business and eat up your profit.
The Disengaged Employee
Gallup defines the disengaged employee in two ways. One is the people who have mentally checked out. They’re putting in their time, they’re doing an okay job, but the energy level, the passion, and the caring isn’t there. They’re just going through the motions. They aren’t paying enough attention, to catch mistakes. I call those people the walking dead in organizations.
The second type Gallup refers to as the actively disengaged. These employees are very unhappy and it’s not enough just to be unhappy, they’re actually acting out their unhappiness. I call them the actively enraged. Every day they’re actively undermining all of the good things that are going on in your organization by consciously or subconsciously expressing their unhappiness in ways that spread to other employees and that hurt the company.
When we look at the Gallup study, we see that there are eight aspects of the engagement problem. Gallup studies productivity, turnover, safety issues, shrinkage, absenteeism, quality, and even safety of your customers. All of these issues are related to your people. Any glitch in any of these areas can come back to chew up your profit because People Power Your Profit™.
The study goes on to say that a 22% profit improvement, and 21% productivity improvement can be gained when people are more engaged in what they’re doing. Motivating people can also create as much as 37% less absenteeism and 41% fewer mistakes. The relationship between motivation, mistakes and money is clear.
Unfortunately, much of what has been done to increase employee engagement and motivation over the last few years has not moved the needle. Benefit based, cookie cutter solutions are easy to implement but have a short term impact. Employees care more about their work experience, their colleagues, their future, the company culture, the companies social and environment footprint and how they are managed than additional perks and benefits.
What are Employees Looking For?
Employees are looking for purposeful, meaningful work and a work experience that fits them. We advocate viewing employees as individuals with unique needs and creating a custom work experience for an employee based on those needs. It requires that leadership think differently about employees and how we manage them. We have created a system we call the M.A.T.C.H.™ System that makes it possible, in reasonably short order, to position a company to implement a customized work experience for employees that helps align an employee’s work related needs and desires with the organizations. This system provides a longer term solution that can help increase engagement, motivation, and productivity and that will have a positive impact on the bottom line.
It is time as leaders to rethink the outdated paradigms around employees and management.
Nancy O’Keefe, MBA, MS, is a Workplace Expert, Leadership Coach, Keynote Speaker, Trainer, and Author of the Book Unlimited Talent: What Every CEO Needs to Know to Win the Workforce War. She works with CEOs and senior executives to create profitable and productive workplaces that attract, motivate and retain great people. She is a thought leader in strategy, management and cultivating talent. She can be found at https://nancyokeefeconsulting.com