Lack of Employee Workplace Motivation? Factors & Problems with Dissatisfaction, Demotivation, Demoralisation

16th March 2021

At HR Online we know that management carries tremendous responsibility for staff motivation. Disengagement with work has devastating consequences to company success and employee wellbeing.

For the employees to give their best performance, you need a sense of commitment and two-way engagement. Otherwise, people end up dissatisfied and demoralised.

However, understand that engagement means different things to different people. A wide range of factors influences the depth and breadth of employee motivation. Respectively, the lack of motivation in the workplace.

We previously wrote about what motivates employees at work, but now we focus on the source of problems. So, why do employees feel disengaged, underappreciated, or demotivated in an organisation and the workplace?

Truth is, solving demotivation in workplaces is not about being right or wrong. It’s about being honest and responsible for morale as the foundation of improvement.

Ask yourself:

  • Which of the following is not a consequence of having an unmotivated employee?
  • What demotivates you in the workplace?

Poor Management, Leadership & Disaffection

Some main reasons for employee motivation with work:

  • Poor management style;
  • Weak management policies;
  • Disruptive leadership that lacks refinement and change.

You need one of the three chief sources for dissatisfaction in the workplace to suffer.

Management that fits the above plans for negativity, disengagement, and a worrying level of staff turnover.

Systematic management crises lead to a toxic workplace atmosphere. In its turn, toxicity causes a complete lack of direction. Being lost leads to a fatal decrease in enthusiasm, productivity, and, ultimately, progress and results.

And nobody wants that, right?

Employees don’t need to love or worship leaders. Employees need trust in the direction of decision-making superiors. If staff feel incompetent, be it at a professional or managerial level, people simply lose faith which is a corner-stone point recruiting videos address. 

Ultimately, distrust leads to a subversive atmosphere.

Overly-zealous Micromanagement

This is among the widespread issues of devastating consequences to spirit and stamina.

Even though micromanagers “only” want to get the work done, that approach sends the wrong message to employees. It means that management doesn’t trust staff decisions and judgment. Management limits autonomy stiffs creativity, and eventually decreases confidence.

According to IT experts Develux, in the high-demand field of software, employees often have no other choice but to leave, searching for the place they would feel more appreciated.

Lack of Progression in Career & Remuneration

Good employees need opportunities to develop professionally, move up in the chain of either command, resume, skills, and remuneration.

According to over 30 study experts, handling learning throughout each and all stages is a responsibility managers often neglect, where the peculiar fact is that the fundamental drive for study efficiently is not bound to finance!

Unfortunately, the lack of policies, procedures, and chances for progression makes the average workplace an example of a stagnant and non-progressive environment. Poor surroundings lower employee inspiration and motivation levels. Sadly, but that’s a predominating case.

This is why progress-oriented HR runs regular training and opens development opportunities that benefit both employees and employers. At the same time, talent-thirsty recruiting aims at people in that exact same situation, so beware!

As a counterpoint to demotivation, value the need to improve employee knowledge and skills, especially when you have gamification and incentives involved.

That’s when companies thrive on a more competent, satisfied, and focused workforce, not to mention innovation and breakthroughs.

Accessible and per-company customisable online training solutions are flexible enough to give employees the chance to expand knowledge following their own personal schedule. There’s nothing better than tailoring training to what businesses needs. Having something as simple as an explainer video can make or break the team spirit!

Due to the progress of technology, online training opportunities build up and you can access high-quality programs for practically any profession.

According to specialists at NHCPS, even in high-stress fields such as medical care, where we once find it hard to imagine, there are high-quality medical certification options that drive breakthroughs benefiting humanity, so there is no excuse for the average company to prevent staff with the chance to improve and grow.

Unmanageable Workload & Burnouts

Burnouts happen when expectations and demands are so high, that the employees get overwhelmed with pressure and work, up to a point when things become impossible to manage.

Similarly, if the workload is too light, or there is no variety of tasks,  employees will moar over challenge and progress.  This can also be the reason for people to lose interest and thus lose their inner drive.

The conscientious manager must keep track and asses both demands and expectations set for employees. This way people don’t become under-achieved, over-stressed, or over-worked.

Inconsistency, Short-term Objectives & No Strategic Direction

A common signature of startup and bootstrap entrepreneurship is the flood of short-term goals that do not or hardly align with any strategic vision and direction, thus hurting team spirit. 

As mentioned above, the internal motivation drive needs to envision how and where a career can go. That manifests in long-term objectives.

Unfortunately, the lack of clarity is another brick in the wall of demotivation in the workplace.

Demotivating Employees

Coworkers are the next most important factor that influences workplace satisfaction and causes a lack of motivation at work.

How employees feel about colleagues and what relationships people establish can make all the difference, whether one will look forward to going to work, or despise every minute in the workplace.

The presence of as much as a single demotivating colleague could push others into feeling lonely at the office because of a consistent disruption of positive and authentic connections. Such a case affects motivation, engagement, and productivity in a negative way.

As a matter of fact, a study found that 60% of employees are more inclined to stay with their employers if they develop friendships in the workplace.

To motivate employees with their work, companies should nurture a culture that supports team spirit, solidarity between employees, and creates the mandatory sense of belonging.

Read: Gentleman Behaviour & Office Workplace? Tips & Rules for Professional Business Etiquette.

Poor to No Management of Conflict Stress

Toxic behaviour is one thing, but straightforward conflict is a necessity, but only when treated as constructive debate. Anything that relates to intimidation or even worse, bullying, sends staff down the toxic spiral of motivation, decay, and frustration.

Run anonymous surveys to identify areas of conflict.

Under-appreciation & Recognition

Financial rewards are not the one and only way to show the employees that they appreciate staff efforts and contribution.

According to popular entrepreneurship, with rewards, only a third of employees would opt for a raise. In comparison, the other two thirds of employees would be happier if the company has proactive policies on recognition of contribution and initiative spirit.

That’s why managers must get up to speed with behavioural sciences, and to build practices that focus on employees engagement and motivation, provide employees with feedback, acknowledge their work efforts and achievements whenever they can, and when appropriate, do it publicly.

Social rewarding is another powerful tool for fighting demotivators, that you shouldn’t forget. Gender-specific motivators should also be taken into account, for that matter.

Job & Income Insecurity

With the rapid advancements in technology, when employees worry about stability and the future looks of their income, staff will hardly find the motivation to bring in the best performance.

If the employer company is unstable, people in it start updating their resumes and looking for other, more stable jobs. A common syndrome is spending time at work, discussing a current crisis with colleagues, and deciding on possible career moves. The same goes for the staff that feels expendable.

To decrease employees demotivation and disengagement during crisis and instability, forward-thinking managers should encourage transparency and frequent discussions with staff.

Good discussion at the workplace betters team spirit, increases trust and loyalty – some of the most potent motivators.

Enterprise & Personal Security

Security is not limited to financial and professional development but extends to personal wellbeing and company identity.

According to security experts from Advanced Firewall Solutions, breaches in company archives of the employee or client database have devastating effects on company image and spirit. The worst part is that enterprises can suffer from lawsuits along with hits on business processes and results as a result of failing with responsible management of data, personal or company.

Poor Workplace Environment

Like in the story of New York, graffiti, and crime in the 1970s, it is the environment that defines your life and vice versa.

If you work in an unsanitary office of poor management, then spirit drops. Follow our tips on eco-friendly and sustainable office spaces, and walk the right track! We know for a fact that a clean office promotes productivity and satisfaction.

In terms of the communication environment, lacking a profound understanding of asynchronous communication has a huge role for the healthy flow of processes. Performance and efficiency depend on focus and cutting distraction, thus adjusting to a fluid timeline of chat. Go fluid and praise results

Boredom & Play

Boredom at work is most often caused by a lack of purpose, inspiration or a sense of personal fulfilment. This is especially true for Gen Y and Gen Z employees, but not limited to those alone.

Over 90% of millennials believe business value shouldn’t measure by more than just profits. And over 80% find making a difference more important than professional recognition.

Tips for Hiring and Retaining Millennials

Engaging Millennials in The Workplace

Management should explore ways to inspire employees with purpose larger than themselves in their work. Management needs to help staff find the meaning people search for in a company’s mission.

If you worry that staff lacks motivation and inspiration for the job, the starting point is genuinely listening and responding to what employees need.

This way, you will achieve high levels of engagement throughout your company. The sooner you recognise and address employee demotivation, the higher are your chances to encourage employee contentment and employee retention.

Employees & Workplace Demotivation, Wrap-up

Healthy company culture and environment make all the difference for motivation and spirit. That’s why management needs to proactively identify, map, and understand the culprits of demotivation in the workplace to best address and handle them.

Dimitar Karamarinov is an award-winning digital multi-instrumentalist of background and skill in a wide range of digital mediums and multimedia starting as early as 2006. With over a decade of experience in audio, graphic, and motion design, along with various forms of business and communication, he gains experience with Entrepreneur Franchise top 500, Inc 5000, and multi-continent companies, along with various charity initiatives under his belt.