Higher pay is not the only way to increased productivity and more motivated employees.
Our work lives are impacted enormously by obvious and subtle ideas of the correct and incorrect ways to work. Many of these ideas are myths but this in no way diminishes their power because they are so deeply embedded and subconsciously influence our daily workplace interactions, distorting our understanding of our own work style and that of others.
Consider workplace friendships for example. There are those of us who believe that the office is no place for friendships. On the flipside, many consider friendly relationships an essential part of company culture and critical to wellbeing, advancement and success.
If we discard the myths we arrive at the healthy realisation that workplace friendships are formed for exactly the same reasons all friendships develop, those being shared values, mutual trust and simply the pleasure of being in the company of a certain individual. Pretending to like everyone equally is not only insincere but its also exhausting, and yet to set friendships aside is isolating.
Let’s consider and dispel further workplace myths.
Myth: We’re only motivated by money
This myth was born out of the fact that financial reward is by far the easiest motivator to measure. This is amplified by a culture that measures someone’s worth by how much wealth they’ve accumulated. But various studies have shown that workplace engagement and motivation are impacted by many factors which include doing meaningful work, and being listened to and appreciated. Motivation is also very much tied to how people feel about their line manager and the teams they work in. Numerous psychology studies point to intrinsic motivators (loyalty, meaning, and a sense of purpose) being more powerful than extrinsic motivators, such as financial reward.
Myth: Longer hours are equal to greater productivity
This myth persists despite multiple studies which have shown that everyone has an hourly, daily or weekly productivity limit. Burnout is not a badge of honour. Marathon work hours are unsustainable and ultimately lead to lower quality output.
Myth: Most people are averse to working hard
There is a huge difference between laziness and being disengaged. Employees who lack motivation will naturally put less energy into their job. It could be that an individual feels unappreciated, or that the importance of their role within the organisation hasn’t been made clear to them. Perhaps they are simply in the wrong job, unable to apply their strongest skills and instead only utilising their weaker ones. Maybe these workers feel they are not sufficiently challenged in their roles, leading to boredom. There are myriad ways to demotivate people.
We need only recall how energised we’ve felt when working on a project which has inspired and excited us, as opposed to one which has felt like we are wading through treacle. When we consider the differences between the two projects we realise that what might be considered laziness, is actually more the result of a situation rather than an innate quality. If the barriers to caring are knocked down, then the energy and motivation will flow.
Myth: Maintaining workplace relationships requires different work styles
We love to typecast others but realistically we are all a mix of characteristics and our strengths manifest themselves in different ways through our differing styles of expression. An ‘integrator’ will have a tendency for forming solid relationships which reflects both the ease with which they are able to communicate and their natural empathy, however, a ‘pioneer’ who inspires others to be their best, is by default also forging a priceless kind of relationship.
Focusing on cultivating strong trust-based relationships and positive social interactions within the workplace not only supports staff wellbeing but leads to increased job satisfaction, loyalty, engagement, productivity and ultimately staff retention.