The 7 Deadly Sins of Employee Motivation

by Kayla Garcia on Wednesday 12 March 2014, 9:56 PM | Category: Human Resource Management| View: 2454 views

 Managers and employers all know the lifeblood of any organization is the people who work in it, regardless of the amount of time and money they spend attending to marketing, competitors, customer satisfaction and eagle eyeing the bottom line. When employees are motivated, they emit satisfaction and interest in their tasks, work flows well, production is maintained, and the work environment is pleasant and peaceful. When employees aren't motivated, the whole operation takes on the quality and temperament of a toothache, and everything and everybody suffers.


Employee motivation can be a tricky thing to inspire. An interesting motivational speaker will help, as will some financial incentives, but much about the human working animal and how to keep his nose to the grindstone is elusive. De-motivation, however, is decidedly less complex. Should you want your employees and teams to lack the necessary inspiration to keep working hard and working well, here are a number of practices guaranteed to crush employee motivation.

Hire the Cheapest Workers

One of the most important aspects to running a business and running it well is hiring the right people for the right jobs. When someone is internally motivated because they enjoy their work and feel suited for it, managers barely have to lift a finger. One way to ensure you are less likely to get the right person for the job is hire whoever will work for the least amount of pay. As long as that's your priority, motivation will be lacking.

Make Sure the Work Doesn't Challenge

One of the best ways to ensure employee motivation stays low is to keep your employees' work devoid of difficulty. Boredom, routine, work that can be performed while texting or applying nail polish — these types of situations lead to sluggish workers who will give you sluggish returns. When work is challenging but not too far out of an employee's current skill sets and knowledge base, the desire to learn and contribute in a new way provides excellent motivation.

Use Fear

When employees work out of a fear of losing their jobs, they exhibit less energy and desire to execute daily tasks. They fail to notice, let alone offer, suggestions that may improve workflow or the working environment. Fear and anxiety will also ensure that their memory skills are compromised. Create an environment of fear, and motivation will stay at basement levels.

Discourage Innovation

One of the most effective ways to discourage desire and compel your more creative employees to seek greener pastures is to quell any interest in innovation. While some companies invite new ideas and invest in them in order to stay competitive, doing so will greatly increase the likelihood that you will have hard-working and productive employees.

Don't Allow Cross-Training

Good employees will often seek out ways to increase their knowledge of the work they do and the work that goes on around them. One way this can happen is through cross-training, where employees are encouraged and incentivized to learn jobs and tasks that are different from what they normally perform. In doing so, they provide a more work-diverse company, a stronger workforce, and they tend to enjoy their work more. Cross-training is a definite morale and motivation booster.

Reward — But Only Monetarily

It may seem counter-intuitive, but money isn't always the best motivator. It turns out that employees like verbal rewards, being recognized in front of their peers for a job well-done, being trusted with more challenging assignments, title upgrades and the like. If you want to keep motivation low, only give monetary incentives and rewards. Be tight-lipped with praise, and make sure everyone's title never rises above “Intern.”

Don't Have Fun

When fun is a regular part of the work experience, it not only motivates your employees to want to come in to work, it also motivates them to value the people around them, which builds desire to contribute work benefiting the team. Humor and non-work-related interactions help people get to know each other as specific individuals, and these types of interactions build connections that drive mutual accountability and individual responsibility. It's what motivates human beings to work for the good of their families, churches, platoons or tribe. If you want to keep a sense of connectedness out of your motivational landscape, be dour, and pay it forward as much as you can.


Motivating employees isn't nearly as easy as de-motivating them, but it can be done. From proper incentives to challenging work, a well-motivated employee is just a few small adjustments away.

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