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Wellbeing Works: Four Steps to Motivation in the Workplace

Millennials are a hard-working generation (73% of them working more than 40 hours per week) and are poised to become the largest percentage of workers by 2020!

Millennials are a hard-working generation (73% of them working more than 40 hours per week) and are poised to become the largest percentage of workers by 2020!

A 2018 survey by the Manpower Group has examined how over 19,000 millennials feel about their career, what motivates them, and what they actually want in the workplace.

This latest report delivered the following information about millennials:

  • They want meaningful work that offers career progression and security
  • 80% want to have great co-workers
  • They want a wide range of responsibilities, activities, and to be adequately compensated
  • 79% want to have flexible work hours, with vacations being an important factor in their work schedule

For program managers who are developing their three-year wellness and well-being plan, this data is especially beneficial in helping with the evaluation of existing programs and building new ones that increase engagement and work towards the promotion of an exciting and rewarding career for ALL employees.

Intrinsic Motivation

Intrinsic Motivation (IM) is what drives each of us to do something for personal satisfaction, instead of an external reward such as money. This self-motivated desire flows from within and drives an individual to engage in a task, or pursue a goal with enthusiasm, because it is interesting and enjoyable. However, IM also works along-side the external tangible benefits such as one’s professional role and having a good salary, generating a workforce that enjoys work-life balance, job satisfaction with one’s tasks, appreciation for activities completed, and challenging assignments.

Dissatisfied employees do not feel that they are realizing their potential; they feel a lack of communication or that their work lacks purpose. These emotions increase stress on the individual, place limitations on their ability to perform their daily work well, resulting in a disengaged worker who eventually leaves the company, which increases recruitment costs.

An article by Kenneth Thomas in the November/December 2009 issue of the Ivey Business Journal “The Four Intrinsic Rewards That Drive Employee Engagement” emphasized the importance of IM in the workplace and in particular the new “models and strategies that better reflect the changes in today’s work dynamics.”

The following extract highlights the response of employees to today’s work environment and how they:

“add value—innovating, problem solving and improvising to meet the conditions they encounter to meet customers’ needs. The self-management process involves four key steps:

  1. Committing to a meaningful purpose
  2. Choosing the best way of fulfilling that purpose
  3. Making sure that one is performing work activities competently
  4. Making sure that one is making progress to achieving the purpose

Each of these steps requires workers to make a judgment—about the meaningfulness of their purpose, the degree of choice they have for doing things the right way, the competence of their performance, and the actual progress being made toward fulfilling the purpose.”

Kenneth Thomas further suggests that each of these steps, or reasons, is accompanied by an emotional response and he describes the four intrinsic rewards as follows:

  1. Sense of meaningfulness. This reward involves the meaningfulness or importance of the purpose you are trying to fulfill. You feel that you have an opportunity to accomplish something of real value—something that matters in the larger scheme of things. You feel that you are on a path that is worth your time and energy, giving you a strong sense of purpose or direction.
  2. Sense of choice. You feel free to choose how to accomplish your work—to use your best judgment to select those work activities that make the most sense to you and to perform them in ways that seem appropriate. You feel ownership of your work, believe in the approach you are taking, and feel responsible for making it work.
  3. Sense of competence. You feel that you are handling your work activities well—that your performance of these activities meets or exceeds your personal standards, and that you are doing good, high-quality work. You feel a sense of satisfaction, pride, or even artistry in how well you handle these activities.
  4. Sense of progress. You are encouraged that your efforts are really accomplishing something. You feel that your work is on track and moving in the right direction. You see convincing signs that things are working out, giving you confidence in the choices you have made and confidence in the future.

Connectivity is enhanced by valuing an employee’s contribution and through the visible support from managers. In turn, motivated employees enjoy their work and promote the company and its products passionately to friends as a great place to work.

Wellness programs that evaluate and respond to change are ones that will continue to ensure that ALL employees have the opportunity to advance their career in an empowering environment that promotes wellbeing, wellness, and balance.

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