5 Reasons Small Business Employees Lose Motivation

woman looking at her cell phone during a meeting

Motivation is someone’s willingness or desire to get the job done, instead of giving into procrastination and other distractions. When your employees are driven, they’ll happily go above and beyond to produce their best work for your small business. If they’re not motivated, however, you might notice a decrease in productivity and an increase in absenteeism. The work being produced might not be as high quality as you expect. 

The key to encouraging your team members who feel unenthusiastic is to find out what’s causing their lack of motivation, which can help you create a targeted strategy to help boost their drive. Keep reading to learn five reasons your small business workers may have lost their motivation.

1. They lack confidence

An employee may lose motivation because they don’t think they have the skills necessary to complete their work. They might have a project or problem facing them that seems daunting or requires them to use new skills for the first time.

Try to build their confidence; you hired them because of their skills and potential, so help them live up to those expectations. Remind them of previous challenges they’ve overcome and offer extra support until they prove to themselves that they can do it. They might feel overwhelmed by the task at hand, so help them break their work into manageable chunks so they can start to get a sense of achievement right away.

2. They don’t know what went wrong

Sometimes, a staff member loses motivation because they keep running into problems that they think are beyond their control. When this happens, you might notice that the employee is looking for excuses not to carry out their work; they might call in sick more often, claim they’re overcommitted and don’t have enough time, or try to pawn off the work to a coworker.

To help them gain their enthusiasm back, talk to them about what’s going wrong and what problems they’re facing. They might claim that it’s someone else’s fault or a flaw in themselves that just can’t be fixed. Suggest other causes that are under their control. For example, you might point out that they should try a new strategy or take time to do some prep work before diving into the task at hand. That way, they’ll be able to avoid the problem they can’t control while still completing their work.

3. They don’t feel appreciated

Everyone wants their hard work to be rewarded, so your team might start to lose motivation if they think no one seems to notice their work and achievements. They might also lose interest if they notice someone else slacking off but still getting the same treatment and benefits as they are.

To help them gain their enthusiasm back, find ways to reward them for meeting their goals and going above and beyond for the company. You might not always be able to afford to give a star employee a raise or a bonus, but a heartfelt “thank you” can go a long way. You can also make sure they know how their work fits into the bigger picture by helping the business achieves its goals.

Give your team regular feedback so they know where they’re excelling and where they still need improvement. This can help them feel appreciated because they know you care enough to help them become better at their jobs. Learn more about showing your staff you care about them.

4. They don’t think you trust them

There are a lot of reasons your workers might think you don’t trust them. For example, you might be trying to micromanage everything your employees do or make them jump through hoops to make a decision that affects their work. If your team notices that you’re always working long hours and never seem to take a break, they’re likely to assume that you’re doing everything yourself because you don’t trust them to get the job done.

You can show your employees that you do trust them by explaining the goal of each project and any criteria. After that, give them the freedom they need to do the job their way. You should also make it clear that you’re always available to listen to feedback and ideas. Then, try to implement some of their ideas.

Finally, don’t be afraid to delegate. Your small business is your passion, and if you built it from the ground up yourself, it can be difficult to relinquish the reins. You hired each member of your staff because of their skills and experience, so take advantage of what they bring to the table. You’ll also lessen your workload, which can help you maintain a healthy work-life balance and avoid burnout.

5. They don’t see any future growth opportunities

Your employees might start to lose motivation because they think the job is a dead end, so they’re starting to focus on their next career move. They might feel this way because they don’t think they have a way to move up the ladder or because you’re not offering any opportunities to learn new skills or improve existing skills. If anyone stays in the same place for too long, they’ll get bored.

You can help them move past these thoughts by offering opportunities to learn and advance. You can help them find courses or offer them more challenging tasks, so they can develop their skills on the job. By helping your workers develop, you’ll have a more motivated workforce and decreased employee turnover.

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