Mr. Meyr, today we want to talk about employee motivation and the resulting benefit for companies. Why is the subject of employee motivation so important for employers?
Markus Meyr: The motivation of employees is a very central element in human resource management. Generally, employee motivation addresses the employee psyche. When an employee feels positive towards his/her job, it not only promotes the work process but also productivity. We like to call this the holistic motivation process. It begins with the recruiting process, that being before the employee was even being hired by the company and also includes employer branding support, meaning the creation of an attractive employer brand.
Based on your definition, why isn’t this subject not just limited to existing employees but addresses many areas of human resource management?
Meyr: Today a company should position itself as an attractive employer and at the same time generate sustainable economic success. Aside from products and services, the individual employee is the central entity to achieve these objectives. Motivated employers are sustainably more productive and play a more active part in a pleasant work environment. This process already starts before recruiting. Terms like "employer branding" and "internal branding" are often mentioned in connection with employee loyalty and retention. To be able to address employee motivation, human resources and management need to agree on these two core terms in the run-up.
Thanks to "employer branding" concepts such as anonymous application procedures, companies can brand themselves as attractive employers. As one of the first companies in Germany, mydays utilized the anonymous application procedure and experienced a virtual "run" on advertised jobs. Along with "internal branding" which includes all measures that include employees in the branding process and creating brand enthusiasm, "employer branding" forms the foundation of what is being perceived as a pleasant work environment. After all, the motivation to apply at a company doesn’t come out of nowhere.
A potential employee generally gets informed about a company. It has never been easier to get information about an employer. People use social networks, platforms where employers are being rated by employees and much more. The emphasis is, therefore, on taking an interdisciplinary look at the motivation process.
This subject clearly exceeds the mere tasks and responsibilities of HR employees. In your opinion, how are HR managers equipped to handle these challenges?
Meyr: I believe that many are aware of the issue and its importance. Nevertheless, there is certainly more work to do in terms of linking the individual segments since many of the addressed topics are also management responsibility and not purely HR issues. To make the holistic motivation process effective, managers need to be sensitized. The current HAYS report, for instance, has shown that corporate culture and employee loyalty and retention are top issues in 2015.
Especially the areas of work-life balance or talent management have consistently gained in importance. However, the report also shows that many companies still display a very large gap between demand and implementation. Particularly when it comes to work-life balance, companies still have a huge need to catch up. Generation Y places a special emphasis on finding a suitable balance between work and daily living as well as alternative and flexible working models.
Perhaps the most important issue for managers and decision makers is the fact that money is not the main incentive for many employees. Work recognition and appreciation are a far more important reason for employees to commit to a company. Even though it only pertains to several industry sectors, aging and the resulting skill shortages will also make the issue gain in importance.