What is Job Motivation – And How to Improve it in Your Team

by | Apr 7, 2021

I saw a commercial a couple of years ago stating that “everyone is entightled to a beautiful kitchen“.

Whether that statement is objectively true, I’ll let someone else be the judge of. When it comes to job satisfaction, however, I do believe it’s both the right and the responsibility of everyone to make sure each and every colleague feels good about going to work.

There are great performance related benefits to be gained from having happy employees. Adversely, there is an equally big price to pay for having unhappy employees. Most of us know how an uncomfortable conflict at work can seep into our daily lives and do harm to us in more areas than just one.

Arbejdsglæde, trivsel, arbejdslyst

The benefits of a good working environment can’t be understated. When your employees feel good, they’ll contribute directly to achieving the goals of the company and increase overall productivity at the office.

As a society, there are also huge gains from from having a working force that supports both creativity, productivity and good working spirit.

”Job Satisfaction” Is More Than a Simple Expression, but What Exactly Is It?

When wishing someone a “good day at work”, what are you actually wanting for them? What characterizes a good day at work? Job satisfaction, generally, is a feeling that can come and go. It can occur when you complete an assignment, finish a good meeting or receive recognition from a colleague. Job satisfaction is an emotional state of mind – and a very important one to experience every once in a while when working. But job satisfaction runs deeper than that. A normal working life offers both “good” and “bad” experiences. Job motivation, therefore, is about your drive and engagement in your job. I’d argue that “job motivation” is a better term to use, when dissecting job satisfaction. That’s because you need job motivation when going through both the good and the bad days.

Job Motivation Consists of 7 Components

Although we’ve touched on its properties, job motivation can still feel like a broad and abstract term. Isn’t ‘job motivation’ subjective – what does it actually contain?

In 2015, the Happiness Research Institute and Kantar Gallup wanted to figure out, what job motivation is made up of. They came up with an index that – at its core – measures the elements that the working force finds important for their job motivation.

On the basis of extensive research, 7 core elements were identified to have significant importance to the job motivation of the working force.

These Are the 7 Elements:

  1. Meaning: The sense of meaningfulness derived from your work. Maybe you are making a difference for other people, or perhaps you feel you have found the right place for you.
  2. Mastery: The feeling of competency and capability when encountering new tasks at work.
  3. Leadership:  The experience of having a good relationship with your direct superior, connecting with a boss that’s both kind and competent.
  4. Colleagues: The feeling of being a “team”. This goes along with an environment where there are synergies between colleagues, and where everyone is shown trust and recognition.
  5. Influence: The feeling of having influence on the type of assignments you’re asked to do, as well as where you’re headed through what you do.
  6. Results: The experience of achieving something – reaching goals and seeing things progress.
  7. Balance: The experience of having both a work life and a social life. Also, having sufficient time to finish assignments is important to experiencing balance at work.

These 7 elements form a useful framework for working with job motivation on both a personal and a company level. Partly because they give us a common point of reference, but also because we know them to be important for our job satisfaction.

How Do These 7 Elements Affect Your Team?

Factors such as ‘meaning’ and ‘mastery’ seem to have the biggest impact on the general job satisfaction and motivation. These elements are also well-documented, and there exist several ways of working with these specific areas in order to improve them. Other elements such as ‘colleagues’ are harder to work with in a specific manner, but are rated as highly impactful factors by most employees. One explanation for this could be that the category extends way into our private life, thus becoming hard to isolate in a working context.

Job Motivation Is Created Collectively

We all take part of facilitating job motivation. Bosses may have a larger responsibility, but culture and job motivation is formed between every team member in the work place. Everyone holds some responsibility. It is important for every team to recognize and solve this assignment together. A transparent culture creates the best point of departure for working on these challenging topics.

Let Every Single Voice Be Heard

Here at Knowie, we highly encourage everyone to take action and recognize their own influence on the working environment they’re in. We want every single team to have tools to improve job motivation – regardless of budget, size or experience in the area.

We’ve developed Knowie as a platform to do just that. Through gamification and daily challenges, you and your team will have the opportunity to explore these elements through fun dilemmas and friendly competition. We highly recommend you give it a try here on our page!


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