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Good employment relations

Last updated: 28.06.2022
  • A motivated employee ensures the quality of the work performed while making use of safe working methods.
  • When creating a workplace, the employer should take into account the diversity of employees.
  • Managing diversity in the working environment helps organisations to better take into account the differences between employees as well as clients.

What is motivation?

Motivation is the driving force that pushes us forward and what we all need to live. Most of us have surely caught ourselves thinking about how we lack the motivation to do a certain physical or mental task. Do not let these thoughts affect you, as they are part of the development of motivation.

Motivation is individual

We all have different moods and mindsets that shape our behaviour and personality. Motivation is in all of us. However, everyone finds their inner strength from very different and personal sources – some get closer to their goal thanks to praise, others only need financial encouragement. It all depends on what type of a person they are and how their mindset encourages them to take the necessary steps to achieve the goal.

How much motivation can you have?

So far, no unit or tool has been invented to measure motivation, but it can be measured in actions. Standing up for oneself and completing compulsory activities can be a reflection of motivation. Motivation can also be interpreted as a negative experience. That is the case when there is no motivation due to a variety of reasons. This often manifests in the non-fulfilment of self-set obligations or ignoring deadlines.

How to become aware of motivation?

There are two main types of motivation. Firstly, there is extrinsic motivation, and secondly, there is intrinsic motivation. Extrinsic, as the name suggests, arises from external circumstances or factors, e.g. monetary rewards or a certain type of praise. The attention we receive from others is extremely important to us and it makes us do better. Hard-working colleagues are also an extrinsic motivator because their commitment creates a desire to be just as competitive. 

Intrinsic motivation is the most enjoyable and purest form that is not influenced by external factors, i.e. you are driven by something other than, for example, money or praise. There might be an exciting project underway at work that you constantly want to work on, even on your free time and away from work.

Can you create motivation artificially?

Trying to motivate yourself by lying to yourself does not work most of the time. People do not have a switch that adjusts motivation. Similarly, there is no food that is high in motivational nutrients. This would be a brilliant invention for the sustainable development of humankind. In reality, we need practical situations such as challenging ourselves to create motivation. It is important to find challenges that regularly allow you to surpass your own expectations and to try doing something different that breaks up your routine and enables you to discover the sides of yourself that you did not know existed.

Motivation and working

Every employer’s dream is a fast, attentive and careful employee. A motivated employee ensures the quality of the work performed while making use of safe working methods. For an employer, having a motivated employee is the same as winning the lottery. You have to pull yourself together and not keep your worries to yourself, it is the employer’s obligation to ensure that the work is done quickly and effectively but that it is enjoyable at the same time. Motivate yourself to talk about topics on which giving feedback may seem intimidating at first. Ensuring the safety of employees should be in the interests of every employer. Therefore, it is important to share information – even information that the employer may not like at first. Solving problems increases the motivation of employees.

How to motivate yourself and others?

There are some tips and tricks to increase motivation quickly. In reality, however, they only work for a short time. In the long run, other actions should be taken. Think carefully about why you are doing something, what it gives you and what its benefit is.

Keep in mind that the continuation of work is only possible when both extrinsic and intrinsic motivation are present. The saying ‘do what you love’ is a myth that may not guarantee the desired complacency. Bills need to be paid and food put on the table. When it comes to the future, it is important to bear in mind that a long-hated job can lead to more serious consequences. It is crucial to find a suitable outlet that would leave room for personal fulfilment, while also ensuring material security and a sense of contentment.

Author: Fred Saul

What motivates employees?

When discussing whether feedback is even necessary, it is important to notice the employee: what they have done and how? This motivates employees the most.

“I have never gone to work with the feeling that I do not want to go, I have liked every job,” says Learning and Development Manager Kersti Lõhmus, who has mainly worked in the social and education sector. “I have also learned a lot because I want to be competent and successful on the labour market.” She believes that motivation should come from within.

“I have heard how an employee asks the employer how they are going to motivate them.” In my view, the environment should create opportunities but not hinder the employee’s motivation; that, however, starts with the person themselves,” she is convinced. “The environment plays a big role in this – colleagues, the employer, and everything else support the need for motivation.”

According to Kersti, if someone has no desire to work, the first step should be talking to such an employee nicely. “Nowadays, there are so many amazing trainers and training courses available. If these do not encourage the employee, there is no hope. You need to accept that there is a person in the organisation who has not found and does not want to find work motivation. They do their job as well as they can. The manager does not have to go crazy trying to motivate them.”

Recognition and rewards benefit both the organisation and the organisational culture; these should, however, be awarded for only certain things. For people, it is important to understand what they have received and why, and feel that the reward is justified, the incentive package is transparent. There should be no whispering about who got what or why someone got more than the others. “I love it when an organisation has their own procedure and the basis for incentive payments is known. In my experience, the more transparency, the higher the organisational culture and the happier the organisation.”

How to motivate yourself and others?

Merike Mitt, trainer at Mastery Koolitus OÜ responds:

There are extrinsic or hygiene motivators, such as money and rewards, and then there are long-term intrinsic motivators, in the presence of which people are not willing to change their place of work if offered a little bit more money. Work teams and the atmosphere between people are important. Do I feel good at work? Am I valued, recognised, and noticed? Can the leader establish the knowledge of what greater value is even being created? Does the person understand that the collective work performed is important and essential? Is there a mission and common objective?

The employee also needs to feel that they are developing as they work. It is the manager’s job to offer that opportunity to people and to help them notice, however, it all depends on the employee and their position.

Autonomy is important. Some people want everything to be organised for them. However, most want something to depend on them. They can do it themselves and make decisions. They are given a goal, but they try to achieve it on their own. Everyone should have the opportunity to choose the most suitable option for them.

How much are people motivated by fear of failure or of being made redundant, etc.?

Fear is not a long-term motivator, people burn out. Research shows that 30–50% of the results of the organisation depend on the environment. If there is a climate of fear at work, people only do what they have to, they will not do more than the bare minimum. Being in a collaborative state where people are happy to do their job gives rise to new ideas and makes people want to do and contribute more, but this can only happen in a different environment.

There are people who are not motivated by anything. And those who only dream of retirement for years...

You cannot hand happiness to people on a silver platter. When considering the older generation, I understand them because today’s traditions and approaches are completely different. Much depends on the type of work someone does. Knowing how deeply rooted neural pathways or habits are in our brains, then if a person does not want to do something, you cannot force them to do it. If they do their own task well, then let them be. The question is: How can we motivate experts and talents to contribute more? This again depends on the field of work.

To what extent is general motivation affected by what is happening in the society and the world such as the current pandemic?

In part, there is a fear of survival, especially among the elderly. At the same time, I have come into contact with organisations and companies that are doing very well because of the pandemic. In some areas, even more people are being recruited. The general environment depends on management and the attitude of the manager.

The biggest motivator for people is attention. When discussing whether feedback is even necessary, it is important to notice the person – what they have done and how. I have met very inspiring leaders: how sound their thinking, how great their attitudes! These spread to everywhere. I cannot emphasise enough: it is important to notice the employee, as this motivates the most. Of course, you also need to know whether the other person feels that they have been noticed.

Some are motivated only by economic aspects.

It depends on the rank and pay of the employee. In some cases where, for example, someone earns 700 euros per month and they are offered 100 euros more somewhere else, then that is a significant difference. I acknowledge that it is a matter of values and survival. People do not notice external factors such as beautiful workrooms. They become more apparent in a different environment. People here would probably complain a lot less if they visited some other countries of the former USSR more often, such as Belarus.

Generally, if a person gets a raise of 100 euros, they will start buying slightly better things and soon they will be short of money again. In the end, it is a matter of personal beliefs and attitudes.

Can some people be constantly dissatisfied? Is it a personality problem?

I recommend psychotherapy to these people. This is for personal growth. Long-term dissatisfaction has harmful effects on health. It has been scientifically proven which substances in the body increase when your stress hormone is always high and attitude negative.

Although money is important, it is not the most important thing, thus you should also focus on yourself. Even organisations are encouraging people to look within themselves. The pandemic has given us the opportunity to see what is really important in life.

A motivation survey revealed what is considered important.

The Workforce View in Europe 2018 surveyed workers from France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. According to the survey, the respondents were motivated by the following: good work-life balance (22%), relationships with colleagues (21%), praise and recognition from management (18%), holiday allowance (12%).

The study revealed that:

  • 45% of female and 50% of male employees are motivated by money.
  • 6% of respondents feel that nothing motivates or engages them. 8% of respondents in the UK said that.
  • 26% of the respondents in France value work-life balance, while only 15% of the Polish value this.
  • 23% of employees say that their workplace enables them to be at their most productive all the time.
  • 30% of employees feel so stressed that they are considering finding a new job; 27% of Polish workers say they endure stress daily.
  • 14% of respondents believe that their company has no interest in their mental well-being at all. 

Text: Tiina Lang

Diversity in the working environment

Diversity is the uniqueness of the individual that gives them their life experience and, consequently, their potential to contribute to society with their unique vision, skills and experiences.

According to the Occupational Health and Safety Act an employer should design and furnish their workplace such that it is possible to avoid occupational accidents and damage to health, and to maintain an employee’s work ability and well-being. Maintaining employees’ work ability and well-being requires taking into account the personal characteristics of employees.

When designing the workplace and providing work equipment the employer must ensure that it corresponds to the dimensions of the body and the physical and mental abilities of its operator. For instance, a chair that is comfortable for a woman of average height and weight is most likely not suitable for a man who is 1.9 m tall because he would simply not be able to find a comfortable working position in it.

In order to prevent the physical and mental stress of an employee, the employer must adapt the work to suit the employee as much as possible. In addition, the gender and age characteristics of the employee and changes in their work ability during a working day or shift and them possibly working alone for an extended period of time must be taken into account.

Here is an example from real life. A company recruited a janitor who required a little more training and instruction than others. Unfortunately, no training was provided and the janitor was sent to the site immediately. Therefore, he did not know what exactly he was supposed to do and no one helped him. The janitor then asked the clients what he was supposed to do – he really tried to do his job as best he could but the clients could not give him any instructions. At one point, the company came to the conclusion that the janitor was not up to the job and the employment relationship was terminated. Soon after, the janitor was working at another company where he did his job very well. That company took into account the characteristics of the employee, they also took enough time to instruct and train him and now the person is excellent at their job.

Managing diversity in the working environment helps organisations to better take into account the differences between employees as well as clients, their needs, preferences and habits, and thus promote equal treatment.

You can read more about diversity on the Human Rights Centre website.

Author: Meeli Miidla-Vanatalu