The FUNdamentals of employee motivation

November 10th 2023 | Posted by phil scott

Is it important to have fun at work?  Can it make a difference to people’s stress levels in the office?  Does it really make for more productive, happier and motivated employees?   The answer is yes!

According to Sir Cary Cooper CBE, Founding Director of wellbeing consultancy Robertson Cooper, ‘Work is such a large part of people’s lives………..When we spend so much of our time at work, it’s important to ensure that it’s an environment conducive to a healthy and happy lifestyle’.

Cooper urges employers ‘to look at fostering a culture of positive psychological wellbeing’.   He explains that ‘positive emotions help make people happy and that, in turn, happy people are productive, loyal and generally have higher levels of wellbeing than those who aren’t’.

Cooper’s statements can be found in the forward to recent research ‘It Pays to Play’, published by BrightHR and carried out by wellbeing consultancy Robertson Cooper.  With 2000 employee interviews carried out, the research studied employee morale across occupation, gender, age, location, employment level, company size and salary.

The research emphasises that to create a happy, healthy and motivated workforce, employees should be given the opportunity to feel connected to their work and to experience as many positive emotions as possible.

And the key to helping employees to feel connected?  Simple – encourage an office culture of fun and enjoyment at the same time as working hard and being professional.

Interestingly, BrightHR’s findings showed that finance workers were the least likely of the groups surveyed to believe that having fun at work would help them feel motivated in their roles.  Only 67% felt this way, compared to 86% of those in HR.  People working in healthcare and travel & transport were found to be the least likely to do any fun activities at work.

Regionally, Wales & the North East have the greatest number of people having ‘no fun’ at work, while in London workers officially have the most fun!

Bigger firms were found to have a greater understanding of the positive impact of fun upon employees.  Smaller firms though still have a way to go in this area, with 41% of respondents working in small companies of up to 9 people claiming not to take part in any fun activities at all.

The research showed the following top 5 activities that were believed to make work more fun:

1. Dress down Friday (25%)
2. Office parties/nights out (21%)
3. A pool table (19%)
4. An office pet (18%)
5. Wellbeing massage days (17%)

Here at Accountancy Recruit, we believe the connection between fun and motivation is clear.  Fun and enjoyment create positive emotions that lead to personal motivation.  But what exactly is ‘employee motivation’?

Employee motivation is the feeling inside each individual employee that bonds them to their role and the company.  It is the strength of the connection they feel to the shared goals of the business and the driving force they have within them to make an impact on the company vision.

Employee motivation is such an important consideration for businesses as creating productive employees is no longer a simple process.

Employees have greater expectations of their working life and place value on so much more than purely financial reward.  Elements such as the office environment, a positive work-life balance, recognition for hard work, plus training & development opportunities all combine to create the perfect mix.

As ‘It Pays to Play’ highlights, there are visible correlations between having fun in the workplace and individual productivity.  Employees having fun at work are less likely to experience stress in the workplace and are also likely to have reduced levels of sickness and absence.

It is clear that motivated employees are more connected, committed and positive as well as loyal, focused and productive.

If you are looking to strengthen employee motivation, Accountancy Recruit’s recommendations include:

Pay – make sure you appropriately reward employees by offering competitive salaries that reflect the level of experience and seniority;  show them you believe in their worth and the value they bring to the role

Incentivise & reward – make sure achievements, hard work and commitment are encouraged and then proactively and visibly rewarded

Praise – take the time to compliment and commend exceptional work and achievements

Opportunities – reward employees and show your commitment to their individual development by offering exciting training and career development opportunities

Enjoyment – include opportunities for engaging and enjoyable activities between colleagues to foster a culture of fun and positivity