Does your business have trouble with low employee motivation?

It’s widely understood among business owners that a business is more likely to be successful if employee motivation is high.

Motivated employees are more likely to be efficient and produce quality work. Yet, low employee motivation is a relatively common problem in Singapore. This is more than other countries in Asia.

Studies show employee engagement has decreased steadily over the past 3 years. In 2017, only 68% of Singaporean employees reported that they were satisfied with their job. This figure is among the lowest in Asia, compared to 76% in the rest of the region.

If your business is currently struggling, perhaps it could help to evaluate employee motivation and address any problems in that regard. 

If you can tell that your business has a problem with low employee motivation, then it could be a sign that there are some issues with the organization of your business.

In this article, we’ll go through some of the best ways to keep motivation employee high by addressing these problems.


1.) Provide career development opportunities

When surveys on employee motivation in Singapore were conducted, surveyors found a few significant reasons explaining why employees in Singapore suffer from low motivation.

One of the main problems was employees having lower feelings of pride and satisfaction in their organization nowadays. This was due to concern about innovation and career development. When it comes to SMEs, higher ranked employees and members of the management team are more likely to be motivated since they would have a larger stake in the company and be part of the decision making process. However, it’s easy for lower ranked employees to feel like they aren’t being given enough opportunities to develop. If they are at a low position in the company and their ideas aren’t being listened to, then they can quickly lost motivation.

One way to address this would be to provide more career development opportunities for your employees. This could take the form of training courses which could help employees learn skills and earn qualifications which allow them to contribute more. Employees may feel more motivated once they feel they can make meaningful contributions to the company.

Another way to provide career development opportunities is through mentorship. By assigning a senior member of staff as a mentor for a newer employee, the might feel more motivated once they see that your business considers them to be an asset worth investing in.

Another thing to try is giving employees a chance to provide input on business decisions. Reports show that Singaporean employees who are unengaged at work feel like they aren’t sufficiently involved with the decision making process.

Try giving employees an opportunity to present their ideas and be part of the decision making process in the company.

Including employees in the decision making process, could be a way to make them feel like they are part of something greater. This also provides them with a career development opportunity since they have a chance to contribute to the company at a higher level of organization.


2.) Clear vision and direction from leaders.

One of the best ways to ensure good motivation in your employees is leading by example. In many cases, employer engagement is just as important as employee engagement. If a company lacks proper leadership, then it is likely to be plagued with problems. Low employee motivation is just one of the many possible issues that are created by poor leadership.

One way to improve leadership in this regard is to ensure that the leadership figures in your business are able to demonstrate and communicate a clear vision of your company’s purpose to the other employees.

Managers should take the time and effort to properly explain the reasoning and purpose behind each assigned task and business decision that they are communicating to employees. This can potentially help employees understand the goals and operations of the business.

When employees have a clear understanding of these things, they are more likely to be motivated compared to when they are asked to complete tasks with little to no direction.

Having leadership figures with a clear vision leading the way for employees will help keep employee motivation high as they follow suit in the company's vision.


3.) Better feedback from management

This is similar to our previous point. But it also serves as an extension of leadership. Ensuring that your managers provide clearer direction for employees serves as a great starting point for improving employee motivation, but consistent feedback is another high-level element of good leadership that could help keep employee motivation high further down the line.

As it is, 20% of Singaporean employees say that they do not get adequate feedback from managers. Newer employees tend to lack the knowledge and means to improve themselves or even meet the demands of their job. So without adequate feedback, they may end up feeling lost and which might cause employee motivation to drop. Especially if they are reprimanded or punished for not meeting a certain standard despite never receiving the feedback they needed to help them meet those standards in the first place.

The key to good feedback is consistency, clarity and constructiveness. Make sure that the people who hold management/leadership positions in your business understand how to provide good feedback to employees. Feedback shouldn’t just be about praising employees for everything that they do or telling them that they have done something wrong. Instead, feedback should highlight what has been done well, what can be done to improve, and the reasons behind each of those things.

For example, let’s imagine that an employee has been put in charge of delivering a presentation to pitch a new marketing idea for the company. After he has delivered the presentation, good feedback from a manager would sound something like this:

“Your confidence when delivering your presentation was good. It made the ideas that you were trying to convey more convincing. However, I think an area that you could improve on is pacing your presentation and interacting more with your audience by asking questions and giving them opportunities to ask you questions in return. That way, your audience will be more engaged with your presentation and more receptive to the ideas that you are trying to present.”

This is an example of good feedback because the employee is first praised for something they have done right before being given some detailed advice which can potentially help them improve in the future. The praise aspect of the feedback will increase employee motivation as they know they have done something good, while the advice has a chance to keep employee motivation high when they go on to handle future tasks.


4.) Better organisational structure

While we’re on the subject of management and feedback, let’s talk about another aspect of business structure and hierarchies that can affect employee motivation.

Organisational structure is a daunting concept. And it becomes even more daunting when the thought of restructuring comes up.

For the purpose of this point, we’re talking about organisational structure specifically in a way that ties to the relationship between management and employees, and how that relationship affects employee motivation.

1 out of 3 Singaporean employees feel that they don’t have access to the right information. This prevents them from being able to work efficiently. And can have a very negative effect on employee motivation.

When employees feel that way, it could be because of poor organisational structure that is preventing clear communication between your employees and management, and cutting them off from vital sources of information.

There are often cases where employees have to seek multiple approvals for tasks and decisions. This leads to excessive bureaucracy for employees to go through. This can be very damaging for employee motivation in the long run. If your company is a smaller business, then you have the advantage of flexibility.

Try restructuring your organisation so that even lower ranked employees have easy access to upper management. This could help increase efficiency and transparency as the decision making process of the company can be communicated directly between employees and management.

If you're part of a small business, try taking advantage of your inherent flexibility to simplify your organizational structure and make lines of communication as simple as possible for your employees.

Large MNC’s often have large, multi-level organisational structures which employees view as restrictive. But even large companies recognize the need for restructuring. They need to do so in order to allow better communication and efficiency within their company.

For example, Singapore airlines underwent a major restructuring in 2017.

This was following the company’s first reported quarterly loss in five years. At that point, upper management realized an urgent need to restructure the company. Thus, they quickly put a plan into action. Setting about increasing efficiency and productivity at all levels of the organization and making sure that these changes and the rationale behind them was clearly communicated to all staff.

These large scale restructurings require a great deal of effort, planning and cost for a large company to go through. If you’re operating a small business, take advantage of your flexibility and regularly evaluate the lines of communication in your company’s organisation.

Try to involve employees in decision-making whenever possible. It’s important for them to feel that they are a part of the process as a possible way of increasing employee motivation.



In this article, we’ve gone through some of the organizational measures that your business can take in order to keep employee motivation high.

The key to keeping employee motivation high is to ensure that the management is in constant, open communication with employees.

This communication will allow management to provide feedback to employees which could help them improve in their tasks

Good communication also makes it easier for employees to understand the company vision and the purposes of their own roles.

Finally, employees may feel like they are proud of the company that they are in, and that they are part of something greater.

All of these things are possible ways to help sustain high employee motivation in your business.

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