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Management blunders that kill employee morale and motivation


EMPLOYEE motivation will always be a challenge to many employers and one of the main reasons always comes from the management. In almost many organisations, maintaining an engaged workplace is a big challenge of which it is very crucial. Most managers unknowingly do things that cause dissatisfaction among workers, as a result killing employee morale and motivation. For employers to become employer of choice, there is need to catch employees’ emotions by inspiring them so that they feel motivated, and in return deliver good results.

Guest column: Emmanuel Zvada

The main reason why employee motivation and morale should be the issue of concern is that low morale and motivation can quickly lead to poor co-operation and decreased productivity at workplaces. If you want your business to flourish, you should strive to create a culture that prioritises employee engagement. Employees should know that they are heard, trusted, appreciated, and empowered so that they can be self-motivated. Employers must always be aware of their actions, hence this article will focus on the common mistakes managers make that kill motivation among staff.

Failing to show your employees their relevance

In each and every time, the employees who are hired to perform various duties at workplaces should feel their relevance. Most managers have got a problem of micro-managing their employees, they think that constantly checking on employees’ work and dictating how everything should help companies to move forward, but that can be an old model of managing employees. Micromanaging people decreases productivity and work quality. People will feel paralysed to make decisions independently even if the decisions are good, in other words they will not be relevant, but act as machines waiting to be driven to produce results.

The top questions that employers should contemplate are: do your employees still think they are relevant to the company or do they think that you are only using them on the decisions already done and not giving them an opportunity to exercise their skills since they were hired for that? Before you think about your new vision and mission, look at your employee’s motivation to work and engage them in everything. Engaging employees in all stages and running of the company is very crucial as it will remove a feeling of being left out or that they are irrelevant.

Mismatch of roles and responsibilities

When an accountant is given roles and responsibilities of a receptionist or when a marketing person is given responsibilities of an accountant, then it is a clear indication of function mismatch and that is a good recipe for killing employee motivation and morale. It is natural for someone to dislike a job if it requires him to do something he has not been trained to do. When there is a mismatch of function, not only will the company get low quality output, but also a very disgruntled employee. Having mismatch functions is a ticking time bomb, even with star players on your team, they will be demotivated and obviously productivity will be affected. The advice is that it is never too late to switch them to the function they are better suited for, that the role of the human resources personnel to match function.

Underpayment and under-appreciation

Normally when there are too many people chasing few jobs, the prerogative to determine who to hire and what that hired person should get lies with the employer. The case is quite different when too many jobs are being chased by very few job seekers, in such a scenario there won’t be underpayment. Even though employers have prerogative over what salary should be given, they should avoid underpayment or under-application. Nobody wants to work more hours while getting paid less, they need to be paid fairly as well as appreciated for their efforts.

This is the most common mistake employers make, they may want to save money by economising on the salary structure, but fail to make sure that if they want to satisfy all the customers, they should also be able to satisfy their “internal customers”, which are the employees. Sometimes, some of your employees may only be inspired to work because they need to earn and not because they like what they are doing, so be fair and provide them a reasonable salary. A handshake, monthly effort acknowledgement meetings or a “verbal good job well-done” can do so much for your subordinates, in other words try by all means to create an appreciative workplace.

Involving them and avoid arguing against every opinion

Some employees hate their work because they are only there to follow instructions given to them by the employers. These employees feel not being involved and they are the ones who seek a sense of belonging with the company itself. Employees want to be listened to whatever they are saying. Some employers have a tendency of arguing against every opinion brought forward to them by the subordinates, and this will make the subordinates unwelcome. Managers should rather, listen, understand and find out which of these opinions would actually help improve the company.

Communicate, share your ideas and Keep Updating

Communicating and sharing ideas with employees is obviously another great way of motivating the employees because they will be informed of what will be going on. The employees normally want to know why the company want to go in a particular direction if there are changes to take place. It is not just about explaining and communicating, but rather sharing your thoughts and aspirations, so that your employees will understand and accept the way the company’s vision and mission statement is built. More importantly it is also good to keep updating your employees of the changes so that they are well informed of changes that takes place.

Employee motivation is essential for a productive and successful workplace, and the best managers strive to establish an environment that inspires and engages all their workers.

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