Demotivated workforce? Are people coasting?

A demotivated workforce will not work to their full capacity, finding ways to motivate employees is vital to any company. I think that Cary Cooper, From Robertson Cooper has an extremely interesting comment on a recent article.  He says on his recent blog “Are 10% of your workforce dormant? HR Magazine have today (30/5/12) reported on a poll which suggests 1 in 10 workers are ‘coasting’ through their day.

demotivated workforceI don’t believe that employees are inherently lazy or workshy, so why is this happening and what can we do about it? I think there are three important things to consider here. The first is that these people are likely to be underutilised and experiencing ‘rust out’ as a result, which is the opposite end of the pressure performance curve to burn out, but just as important. Work needs to be challenging and purposeful and should stretch people to use their skills, allowing them to feel the pleasure of accomplishment – which then needs to be recognised. That 72% of respondents who said they would be unhappy if they were no longer challenged by their role implies that many people are instinctively aware of this. The second is that micro management is not the answer. Although some were more likely to coast if their workload was unmonitored, if employers offer the kind of ‘good’ work described above then people are likely to be more self-motivating. A more closely monitored workforce will just lead to a lack of trust from managers and resentment from employees, neither of which is good for productivity or creativity. Of course if there is a situation where one team member is coasting and leaving others with a heavier workload, this needs to be addressed for the well-being of the broader team. Finally, senior leaders should paint the bigger picture, so individuals can put their effort (or lack of) into context. This is especially important in large teams and organisations, where people need to understand what they are contributing to and why” (Cary Cooper, Robertson Cooper)


Undertanding the underlying reasons is key.  Demotivation can also be a feature of a workforce who are not at their vital best.  Late nights, too much alcohol in particular can all contribute to employees not feeling insired to give their best.


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