Worker wellbeing is influenced by key indicators such as your workers’ sense of belonging, how useful they feel at work, and their motivation at work. However, a lack of happiness is one of the main reasons people give when considering quitting their job, second only to inadequate pay. In the changing world of work, employers are being forced to rethink their strategies for motivating and retaining staff. Focusing on happiness and wellbeing at work is not only useful and responsible, it is also a proven way to attract, recruit, and retain talent.

In this article, we discuss the main motivating factors to develop within your organization in order to face the challenges of the labour market in 2022.

Motivation, happiness, and wellbeing go hand in hand

Indeed and Glassdoor's first 2023 Hiring and Workplace Trends Report finds that Canada is likely to experience long-term labour shortages in the coming years in some key economic sectors. Employee wellbeing is now one of the most important issues for talent management.

Surveyed on what makes them happy at work, Canadian workers identified their main happiness and wellbeing indicators:

  • A sense of belonging
  • Having a goal and feeling useful
  • Feeling motivated

Mercer's recent report on workforce risks in Canada confirms that the attraction, retention, and engagement of human resources are among the top five pillars that risk disrupting the business world. Employee health and wellbeing ranks number one, according to 97% of the 2,594 human resources and risk management professionals surveyed globally.

Motivation, mobilization, and loyalty

In their work, Tremblay and Wils establish that mobilization is distinguished from motivation and individual performance by certain behaviours which focus on collaboration and interaction with others in order to achieve a common goal.* When the majority of employees combine all their energies to accomplish a collective task, then each of these employees is mobilized because they directed their individual energies toward a common cause (Tremblay and Wils, 2005).

To want to invest in the company and give their best at work, employees must feel they have the power to act and that they are evolving in an environment of trust, support, recognition, and justice.

There are eight behaviours that distinguish mobilization from individual motivation:

  1. Customer-oriented
  2. Cooperation with coworkers
  3. Helping and supporting others
  4. Coordination with coworkers
  5. Continuous improvement
  6. Solidarity
  7. Taking part in community life (meetings, social activities, etc.)
  8. Organizational loyalty

These behaviours also generate a strong sense of belonging to a company, and so each feeds into the other.

Factors that motivate employees

Many studies have been conducted on workforce motivation and the techniques to use to achieve it. We have identified general outlines and explored certain factors that regularly appear in recent research on the subject.

Sharing a vision and being transparent

A sense of belonging is one of the three mobilization factors mentioned above. This feeling is closely linked to a clear and shared vision that is communicated with transparency and authenticity. Employees who feel loyalty to a company and adopt its vision don't hesitate to go beyond the call of duty to achieve objectives and support their coworkers' efforts. Motivation is even stronger if employees feel that they have been consulted, and that they have contributed to the development of this vision.

Developing employee skills

According to a staff skills employer survey conducted by Statistics Canada in 2021, more than half of businesses (56.1%) said their employees do not have all the skills needed to do their job well. Consequently, a growing number of organizations rely on the training and development of their workforce to optimize performance, but also to improve quality of life at work and minimize staff turnover.

Using play (gamification)

With the arrival of a younger workforce, companies are increasingly harnessing the power of play for employee learning, selection, and training. According to psychologists, gamification improves employees' concentration as well as their commitment and intrinsic motivation. It facilitates learning. It also helps strengthen team spirit and job satisfaction

A recent white paper published by the consulting firm Aon explores the benefits and results of gamification on employee health, wellbeing, and engagement.

Developing autonomy

By developing employees' ability to make autonomous decisions and creating a culture where they feel heard and empowered to make suggestions without fear of retaliation, companies support worker creativity and confidence. As a result, they feel useful. They are more likely to feel a greater sense of belonging to the organization if they don't feel like pawns on a chessboard.

Lack of autonomy can also be a factor that leads to burnout. In Canada, 47% of workers say they feel exhausted during the typical working day, compared to the global average of 39%.

Providing good working conditions

By offering working conditions that meet employee needs, you improve the level of professional satisfaction among your employees and, as a result, their motivation to do their best.

According to a recent survey by Randstad Canada, the factors that potential employees look for in an employer are:

  1. attractive salary and benefits (71%)
  2. work-life balance (68%)
  3. job security (61%)
  4. pleasant work atmosphere (60%)
  5. good training (58%)

A recent study confirms that 77% of Canadians prefer a hybrid workplace split between being in the office and working from home. Work-life balance is now also one of the expectations of nearly half of workers.

Encouraging feedback and listening

While it's not always easy, inviting feedback from coworkers and team members can help you identify organizational strengths and weaknesses. Candid feedback helps to understand what is positive and what can be improved. Listening and accepting feedback with humility and openness can teach valuable lessons that enable you to correct the course. When done well, this will also increase the motivation and commitment of your employees, who will feel that their  feelings matter.

The challenges posed by the current economic situation and labour shortages make it even more important for companies to mobilize their workforce. This issue is not just a question of productivity and performance — it is now one of the main factors for improving employee fulfilment, the attractiveness of your employer brand, and company loyalty.

*Article in French