Why Employee Self-Motivation is Important in the Workplace

We all know what it is like to wake up and not want to do any work. An off day once in a while is expected, but chronically feeling like this means that you have no motivation. On the other hand, employee self-motivation refers to the ability to drive oneself forward in accomplishing tasks and meeting goals.

A self-motivated employee is a crucial asset to any company. Their internal drive shows up in how they approach and execute their day-to-day tasks as well as how they relate to their coworkers, and eventually reflects in the company’s bottom line at the end of the financial year.

Here’s why self-motivated employees are great for companies:

Self-motivated managers inspire their teams

If the person leading the team is just going through the motions, everyone else will start to feel like the end goals are not that crucial. Just as having a positive mindset affects team members and their morale, so does self-motivation in the manager leading them in doing whatever it is that needs to be done.

As is often said, “It begins from the top.” Teams effortlessly emulate the traits of their bosses, and if one of those traits is employee self-motivation, this is a win for any company.

They help companies grow

It is one thing to know your role and do it; it is another one to go beyond that role and even look for ways to make work processes more efficient. The latter is a result of employee self-motivation.

With self-motivated employees, goals are met on time, and you can set new ones faster. Also, the innovations such employees bring to the table can help to push a company forward.

They save you time

Without self-motivation, employees have to wait to be told what to do. They are incapable of starting something without being directed to do so. Without instruction, work will stall. This not only wastes time that employees would have used to accomplish tasks but also takes away time they would have channeled towards self-development.

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Imagine all the time it takes to remind unmotivated employees to do their work. Add to that the time and resources it takes to devise new ways to keep them on track, and you will realise that you are losing plenty of valuable time. With self-motivated employees, this is unnecessary. Instead, managers can use that time to focus on their own tasks and new business areas.

It makes employees more self-sufficient

Because their visions and goals are clear, self-motivated employees become self-starters. They are usually able to dig deep within themselves for the impetus to start and get things done.

This is particularly helpful in scenarios where employees might not have all the resources necessary to start a task. This is also an excellent skill to have in their personal lives.

Self-motivated people look at problems as hurdles waiting to be solved

A self-motivated employee will approach a problem through a solution-finding lens instead of looking at it as a roadblock. By the time the manager has to be engaged, there will likely be several solutions already on the table.

It cultivates a growth mindset

No one needs to push a self-motivated individual to prioritise their own growth. They are driven to want to do better and be better. Managers shouldn’t be surprised when these employees suggest training and certifications that might be good for themselves and other team members.

They might recover faster from setbacks

Self-motivation means that people look at the end goal and are not easily distracted by temporary setbacks. Negative scenarios and failures are an inevitable part of any work journey.

Employees who have self-motivation will be able to quickly pick themselves up because they have their goal in mind. Furthermore, these setbacks will serve as lessons that feed into their growth mindset.

employee self-motivation

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How to improve employee self-motivation

Psychologist Tony Higgins cites two types of self-motivation, Ought self-guide, and Ideal self-guide. These can also be termed as intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Ought self-guide is where people are motivated by fear and guilt and are focused simply on achieving goals. This will be the type of employee who will do his job just so she or he doesn’t get fired.

People with Ideal self-guide, on the other hand, have a desire to accomplish. They are generally happier than their counterparts. This is the advisable type of self-motivation for employees to cultivate.

Set clear goals

It is so much easier for employees to have the morale and will to get their work done when they can clearly see where they are going.

Breaking these goals down into smaller, shorter-term chunks is another strategy that managers can employ. Whenever employees accomplish a smaller chunk, they will get that feeling of achievement.

Give them the tools they need

This goes beyond physical tools like computers and software and extends to knowledge and skills. Organisations should include training and courses so employees can become even more competent at their jobs. An upgrade in capabilities will bring about a sense of confidence that, in turn, will build self-motivation.

Give them some autonomy

It isn’t easy to attain employee self-motivation when there isn’t a degree of autonomy. Employees need to feel like they have control over their work and the outcome. They will not take independent steps otherwise.

Recognise their efforts

While self-motivation is internal, it can very easily be crushed if an employee feels like their good work doesn’t matter. Show employees that you value them and that their work doesn’t go unseen. This can just be the push they need to do more of the same in the future.

In Summary

Self-motivation gives back the most coveted resource in the workplace, time. Managers do not need to micro-manage these individuals, and work gets done more seamlessly. They can, however, work to encourage and improve employee self-motivation. Self-motivation is one of those things that feeds the individual as well. Employees who cultivate it stand to reap the rewards too.

Gerald Ainomugisha

Gerald Ainomugisha

Gerald is a freelance writer with a pen that is keen for entrepreneurship, business and technology. When he isn't writing insightful articles on employee engagement and corporate culture, Gerald can be found writing for a number of media outlets.