Exploring the Relationship Between Employee Motivation and Productivity

Who hasn’t had a slow day at work? You know, the kind where cat videos suddenly hold way more appeal than a spreadsheet, and the coffee just isn’t kicking in...

We've all had them - even you. These peaks and troughs in energy and motivation are just human nature, and for the most part, we can bounce back and commit to having a better day tomorrow.

It’s only when there’s a consistent decline in productivity and a change in your staff’s morale that alarm bells start to ring. Eventually, profits can begin to slump, customer service can suffer, and your team may start to feel more than a little deflated.

Understanding the relationship between employee motivation and productivity is fundamental to creating engaged and inspired workers. Taking this initiative can help you nip things in the bud and turn negative situations around before they start to seriously impact your business.   


Benefits of employee motivation

Motivated employees are not only driven to reach their targets, but they’re also helpful and supportive of their colleagues.

When an individual is committed to your organisation, it means that they find alignment between the goals your company has set out and their own personal and professional ambitions – these folks are satisfied in their roles and driven to keep developing intellectually and experientially. 

When your whole team is motivated, your processes become more efficient, and you’re likely to see more collaboration and communication amongst employees.

Further benefits of employee motivation include:

  • enhanced problem solving and creativity;
  • improved quality of output and faster turnaround times;
  • more initiative and accountability;
  • an improved business reputation as a sought after employer;
  • increased enthusiasm for professional development amongst employees,
  • and more efficient use of company resources. 

The impact on productivity and performance

High performing companies hire and enable problem-solvers – individuals who spot opportunities and take the initiative to try and test new ideas. 

Every organisation wants a maximum level of output in exchange for minimal effort, but the only way to achieve this is by having employees who aren’t merely interested in fulfilling the tasks put before them, but are also keen and eager to exceed expectations. According to a study, only 2 out of 10 employees strongly agreed that they were motivated to do outstanding work by the way their performance was managed. 

When workers feel unsupported or unchallenged by the role they are given, the drive for high performance often declines. 

Free downloadable resource: Employee Motivation Cheat Sheet  Are you struggling to keep your workforce motivated throughout the year?  Download our free Employee Motivation Cheat Sheetand see how you can reduce the  slump! 


How to increase motivation  

Effective leadership

To have a motivated workforce, you need motivated leaders. If there’s dissonance between how your management team says and does, don’t expect employees to embrace your new ideas with enthusiasm. 

Regular recognition

It’s time to throw old fashioned performance scoring out of the window. These impersonal reward models result in standardised feedback that often lets other exceptional efforts go under the radar. The benefits of these systems can take a long time to be awarded to the employee, like at the year-end function or well after the good deed has been done.

If you’d like to see a consistent and genuine improvement in motivation and productivity, acknowledgement and recognition should be a regular activity in your business. 

Consistent two-way communication

Start by improving the channels of communication. How often do managers check in with their teams on an individual level? Whether it’s a casual meet-up in the coffee room or a monthly one-to-one, having frequent touch points that reinforce workplace relationships will enable employees to see managers as approachable and dependable.

This ongoing feedback is the secret behind successful outcomes according to 89% of HR leaders. 

Entrench company values

Before you demand more productivity from your employees, make sure they’re firmly plugged into your company values and the overall goals of your organisation. Too often, through passivity on management’s side, an organisation’s values become symbolic signage rather than something employees and leaders apply to every aspect of their daily work.

Clarify your business vision and entrench your company values in the workplace culture. When employees see a clear connection between their efforts and the steps your business takes to achieve its goals, you’ll experience higher levels of engagement and motivation. 

Ask for feedback

If you feel like you’ve ticked all the boxes but are still battling to create the environment you hoped for, it’s time to ask your employees for feedback. What do they enjoy about your current reward and recognition model? Do they need more support when it comes to learning and development? These are all questions you can send out in a survey and gather all the data you need to take measurable steps towards improvement.


If engagement problems are holding your workforce back, don’t allow the issues to persist. Taking a proactive approach to identifying the challenges that are causing your employees to feel demotivated will help you to come up with effective solutions that support the vision you have for your company culture. 

To help you get started, download our Employee Motivation Cheat Sheet where you can run through the tell-tell signs of employee disengagement and take practical steps to boost motivation.

Download your Employee Motivation Cheat Sheet here, and make sure that your company is on course to continue growing and excelling with enthusiasm.

Download your free Employee Motivation Cheat Sheet