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5 reasons that your staff are becoming demotivated

Published on 9 March 2022 | Modified on 14 December 2022

Written by Stacey Bennett

Staff motivation is absolutely key to the success of any business. If your team feels happy, well-rewarded and able to progress then your business is likely to thrive of the back of it. Richard Branson famously said that “Client’s do not come first, employees come first” and reasoned that looking after your employees will mean that they take care of your customers.

The opposite picture also holds true though and a demotivated workforce, or even just one demotivated member of staff can be disastrous to a business. So, what are the key reasons that we hear from employees as to why they have lost their motivation and what can you do about it?

  1. Not feeling valued

This is not just about the pay that your staff receive, although you should definitely check that your company pays at least the average rate for the job type and location. Feeling valued is about whether your employees feel that they make a positive contribution to the functioning of the business, that they are listened to when they raise suggestions and taken seriously when they raise a grievance.

  1. Workload

It sounds obvious but it is worth remembering. Employees feeling unable to ever get on top of their workload are likely to start thinking “What is the point?”. In a competitive, performance driven environment it is great to see when staff go the extra mile or pull a late shift to get an order over the line but you should make sure that you are not overloading your staff with work which is simply impossible to get through in their working hours. Check in on your team. Are they coping with the workload?

You may wish to provide additional reward for performance above and beyond. Consider a discretionary bonus or encourage an overtime request.

  1. Boredom

At the other end of the spectrum there is the problem of staff becoming demotivated when they don’t have enough to do or when their work does not challenge them. This is more common than you may think and can be devastating to the atmosphere in a workplace. Try to ensure that, as far as possible, your team are given a wide range of tasks to do which stretch and challenge them.

Again, communication is key. Ask your staff whether they feel suitably challenged as part of your review and appraisal process. You may find that your employees are eager for more and you can delegate some of your workload to make your own day easier.

  1. Lack of Progression

It is naïve to think that the staff you take on do not have an eye on the end goal for their careers. You should have this conversation with all of your employees on a regular basis, irrespective of how junior their roles are. What do they want to achieve in the next year and in the next five years? How do they propose to get there? What will you do to support them in this? Is there a clear path for promotion within the company and is it within the employee’s power to achieve this? You may find that even just having the conversation with your staff improves their motivation.

Remember to document and follow through on any thing you have agreed and regularly review performance though. If not, then paying lip service to career progression opportunities is likely to have the opposite effect.

  1. Toxic Atmosphere

Unfortunately, many people have personally experienced this one. One badly behaved member of staff can have a demotivating effect on a whole team. You should not just shut your door to poor behaviours and let your staff work it out amongst themselves though. You will end up losing your workforce as one by one they decide that they cannot put up with it.

Consider putting in place a policy or standards documents setting out disciplinary and capability procedures as well as the expected behaviours within your company. Communicate this to your staff and be prepared to enforce it.


Poole Alcock Solicitors Employment team can offer tailored HR support and guidance for managing your workforce. We can offer a free no obligation consultation and HR health check of your business. Simply quote “HRMOTIVATE” and contact us today by calling 0800 470 0332 or fill in a contact form here and we will call you back at a convenient time.

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