A feeling of listlessness and despondence often takes hold of the office after lunch and right before the workday ends at 5 p.m. Casey Hawley, author of the book, “201 Ways to Turn Any Employee into a Star,” explains that an office is filled with temptations for the unmotivated worker: instant messages, online games and streaming videos are just a few. Though bouts of lethargy are bound to grip even the most dedicated worker, a general state of apathy in the office can wreak havoc on a business’s bottom line. Companies face several disadvantages if their employees are unmotivated.
Reduced productivity is a prime disadvantage of unmotivated employees. Without ample drive to complete tasks at hand, the business faces risks, including delivering late orders and submitting sub-par work to clients. Businesses measure productivity qualitatively and quantitatively. Lower productivity according to quantitative standards shows up as reduced aggregate output. A qualitative reduction in productivity often manifests as complaints from customers or clients based on unsatisfactory service or product.
High turnover is another disadvantage of employees that don't feel motivated. When workers do not feel challenged or engaged in the task at hand, a consequence is resigning and seeking employment elsewhere. Turnover is a costly consequence: Sharon Waldrop lists expenses of finding and retaining workers, which include administrative costs, employment advertisements, and time spent reviewing new applicants. Training and getting new workers up to par are additional resources spent as a result of job turnover.
Negative Corporate Culture
Unmotivated employees negatively affect corporate culture. When new hires enter the organization, they often mirror the attitudes and behavior of senior workers. If the behavior is one of apathy and lack of interest, new employees may adopt the same attitude. Thus, unmotivated workers have the potential to breed system-wide discontent. Setting realistic expectations regarding work assignments and frequently gathering employee feedback are two ways to improve corporate culture. Additionally, providing incentives such as monetary rewards or giving praise for good work also reduces the risk of fostering unmotivated employees.
Identification and Causes
Employees become unmotivated from a variety of factors. Workers who perform the same tasks repeatedly with little variation may face ennui. In other cases, a lack of motivation may arise as a result of employees being overworked and under-rewarded. Mike Thompson explains in his book, “The Organizational Champion,” how poor leadership formation, development, and selection are often to blame for unmotivated workers. By choosing an inspiring leadership team, companies boost the probability of retaining productive and satisfied workers.
Since 2008 Catherine Capozzi has been writing business, finance and economics-related articles from her home in the sunny state of Arizona. She is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in economics from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, which has given her a love of spreadsheets and corporate life.