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Less than 50% of workers are motivated at work

2 mins read
7 June 2024

Employers need to understand the importance of both intrinsic and extrinsic motivations.

Employers who take a one-size-fits-all approach to boosting productivity are likely to fail given the complexity of employee motivation, according to a new report.

Fewer than 50% of full-time employees are motivated at work, leaving them at risk of becoming disengaged, underperforming, or even walking away from their roles. The findings come from employee experience consultancy Forty1, which recently unveiled its The Business of Motivation report.

The study of more than 2,600 full-time employees from large organisations across the UK and the US, explored how motivation can be driven by both external rewards (extrinsic factors), such as financial incentives and social recognition, as well as by factors that come from within us, such as personal values and job enjoyment (intrinsic factors).


Creating the right balance.

There is a direct link between high levels of motivation and improvements in key business outcomes, according to the research. When motivation is high, businesses see increased employee commitment, reduced churn, higher job satisfaction, and lower stress levels.

Surprisingly, financial incentives or job enjoyment are not the primary motivators for most employees. Instead, 46% of respondents rated identity motivation – the need to protect self-esteem, to feel proud of what we do and how we do it – as being an extremely important driver of motivation at work. This is followed by meaning (31%), social factors (30%), enjoyment (29%) and, finally, financial (28%).

The report identifies a critical balance between intrinsic and extrinsic motivations as key to optimal employee performance. “Thrivers” – employees who exhibit high levels of both types of motivation – are crucial to organisational success. They’re more productive, engaged and committed to their roles. Less than half of the UK and US workforce, however, are “Thrivers”, highlighting the need for organisations to develop and implement effective motivational strategies.


Design a bespoke strategy.

Bespoke, tailored strategies which consider the unique motivational drivers of the workforce are needed, according to the report. This involves understanding the various forms of motivation, acknowledging the foundations most relevant to the organisation, and identifying the most effective levers to use.


Article published by Management Today: Less than 50% of workers are motivated at work, says new report (managementtoday.co.uk)

Author: Éilis Cronin

Download the full report here: https://www.forty1.com/bom/