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13 Ways to Help Employees with Self-Motivation at Work

13 Ways to Help Employees with Self-Motivation at Work

Have you noticed the get-up and go has got up and went for one or many of your employees? If so, you’re not alone. Many leaders across all industries and functions are noticing their employees are struggling with low motivation at work.

A study by Pew Research uncovered that 42% of workers ages 18 to 49 agreed that they have difficulty feeling motivated at work. It’s even worse for those 18 to 29, with 53% agreeing they lack the self-motivation needed to get their job done.

Before we jump into the ways to help an employee with self-motivation, it's best to clear up any confusion on the topic with a definition.


What is Self-Motivation?

At work, self-motivation is an employee's ability to stay focused, committed, and proactive without needing rewards or heavy supervision. Employees with self-motivation have an internal drive and determination that propels them toward reaching their professional goals and excelling in their roles. 

How To Help Employees with Self-Motivation at Work

  1. Give recognition
  2. Equip them with tools
  3. Provide ongoing coaching
  4. Invest in training and development
  5. Lead by example
  6. Develop and track goals
  7. Facilitate peer support
  8. Communicate clearly
  9. Play to their talents
  10. Provide autonomy
  11. Give stretch assignments
  12. Encourage innovation and creativity
  13. Be empathetic

13 Ways To Help Employees with Self-Motivation (2) (1)


Are you struggling to motivate your employees? If so, you need to read this  which will help you turn that around.


Give recognition

Providing praise and recognition has been shown to boost good feelings and motivation. It can be as simple as a quick email acknowledging your appreciation or providing recognition when witnessing a positive behavior to bump an employee’s self-motivation at work.


Equip them with tools

Self-Management Workbook from Niagara Institute

What may appear as a lack of self-motivation may actually be a struggle with organization in disguise. Poor time management or a non-existent to-do list may hinder an employee. If so, share The Self-Management Workbook for Ambitious Professionals with tips, tools, and a playbook to organize and manage their productivity.


Provide ongoing coaching

It’s vital to have individualized time with employees, such as one-on-one meetings, where you provide coaching, feedback, and encouragement. Doing so will help with motivation, boost confidence, and show your employees you are invested in them and see them succeed. It also signals that they’re a priority in your busy schedule.


Invest in training and development

A lack of knowledge or the skills needed to perform a duty may come across as a struggle with self-motivation. To support them, making an investment in training and development not only upskills an employee where needed; it also shows that they’re valued.


Lead by example

If you’re missing deadlines, falling short on goals, or are not accountable to your team, it will be hard for those around you to find the drive they need. If you want your team to be self-motivated, it starts with you and the behaviors you demonstrate.


Develop and track goals

Having a goal and working towards it can be an incredible source of self-motivation at work. Use the goal-setting workbook with each employee to set their goals, create an action plan, and in your time together, track their progress to provide any needed coaching and encouragement.


Facilitate peer support

Connecting teammates to work together, support, and encourage each other toward their goals and ambitions can produce great results and amplify motivation. Moreover, it's been found that peer feedback can enhance motivation and performance by as much as 14%.


Communicate clearly

Unclear communication, vague expectations, and little direction can hamper an employee's self-motivation as they’re unsure of where to start or what to do. To ensure what you said is clear, have your employee repeat what you’d like them to do and your expectations. This way, you can ensure you’re both on the same page.


Play to their talents

There is incredible power when you leverage an individual’s natural talents and delegate work that utilizes them. Gallup noted, “By understanding someone's natural talents, more often than not, we can get a clear perspective about their deepest and most substantial motivations. Simply put, their talents are their motivations; they're usually inseparable.”


Provide autonomy

Your employees spend a large part of their life at work, and understanding what makes them happy and motivated is critical. For many, autonomy, which is the freedom to work in a way that suits them, is a significant factor in job happiness. For example, a study from the University of Birmingham found that when employees had higher levels of autonomy in their work, they reported positive effects on their enjoyment of work, overall well-being, and higher levels of job satisfaction.


Give stretch assignments

By their very nature, stretch assignments are projects or tasks currently above their level and outside their job description. So, as expected, being given a new project that requires individuals to grow their knowledge and skill can be a great motivational booster, especially if they're bored or feel stagnant in their current roles.


Encourage innovation and creativity

A surefire way to stifle employees' self-motivation is to shoot down their ideas or utter continually, "that's the way we've always done it." Instead, create an environment that encourages innovation and creativity by empowering employees to solve problems, giving them free time to think about innovations, and removing the red tape so their ideas can actually be implemented.


Be empathetic

The last couple of years have been hard for everyone, and a little empathy can go a long way in showing your support and helping them regain their self-motivation. You can show empathy by actively listening, validating their perspectives and feelings, and being curious about them and how they’re doing.


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