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How to Motivate People Through Employee Assessments

March 17, 2020

By: Wendy Sheaffer

Do you know what motivates your employees to come to work every day? If you don’t have an answer to that question, there’s a good chance that you don’t have the workplace strategies in place to ensure that your workforce remains engaged in their tasks. Without using employee assessments of some kind, it can be difficult to determine what’s most important to your employees.

The Benefits of Employee Motivation in the Workplace

Many organizations take employee motivation and employee engagement for granted, assuming that as long as no one is complaining openly or failing to complete their work, everything is going along just fine. But a lack of motivation can take its toll on a workforce over time, contributing to declining work quality, diminished productivity, and high levels of employee turnover. If employees are only motivated to show up each day to earn their paycheck or avoid getting fired, it will be difficult for the company to find sustainable success.

When employees are highly motivated and fully committed to the organization’s mission, they play a major role in reaching its full potential. Motivated employees are more efficient and productive in their work and are more likely to make innovative contributions that deliver positive results and create new opportunities. Engaged employees communicate more effectively and take a more proactive role in their own development.

Discovering What Motivates Employees with Assessments

Of course, not every employee is motivated by the same thing. Some people will be amped up by a pep talk from leadership, while others will roll their eyes if they’re expected to ring a bell to celebrate wins. One of the biggest mistakes an organization can make is imposing one motivational style upon every department and employee.

That’s where employee assessments can make a huge difference. While pre-employment assessments are a useful tool for identifying whether or not a candidate possesses the core competencies needed to excel in a position, behavioral assessments also provide a more nuanced picture of how they think and what motivates them to come to work every day. Personality assessments are incredibly useful for their ability to identify career opportunities and learning tendencies.

Some of the questions an employee assessment can answer include:

  • How comfortable are they with risk?
  • Do they value individual or team recognition?
  • Are their communication preferences being met?
  • How do they best feel supported by leadership?
  • Do they prefer analytical or social tasks for the majority of their day?
  • Are they comfortable with rapid change, or do they prefer order and predictability?
  • What sort of instruction and feedback do they find most helpful?

Assessments provide actionable data on what makes employees tick. Rather than making broad generalizations or simply assuming that what motivates one person will work just as well for others, organizations can use assessment data to develop a strategy for motivating employees as unique individuals.

How to Motivate People Using Insights Gained From Employee Assessments

There are a few ways that the information gathered from assessments can be used to improve employee motivation.

Empower Them

Finding ways to empower employees to help them do their jobs more effectively is one of the best ways to motivate them. But to do that, organizations first need to know what “empowerment” means to those employees. Some people might work well in a low-information environment, where they’re free to make their own decisions and be more accountable for the outcomes. However, others will feel like they’re being set up for failure if they don’t get the right amount of support and guidance. Understanding how to strike the right balance for every employee is an essential leadership quality. Assessment data can provide a better picture of what each person feels like they need to do the best job they’re capable of doing.

Establish Expectations

It’s difficult for employees to feel motivated when they don’t have a firm idea of what they’re supposed to be doing. Unclear expectations leave employees wondering if they’re doing everything they need to do to succeed or producing work that contributes genuine value to the organization. Over time, lack of clarity can lead to frustration, disengagement, or even resentment. Employee assessments can provide organizations with a better idea of how people perceive their roles and responsibilities, making it easier to align them with reality. When people have better clarity about expectations, they’re more likely to be motivated to meet them.

Recognize Them

No one wants to feel like they’re toiling away all alone in a dark room. Employees want to know the work they’re doing is valued and appreciated. When people have a good sense of how their efforts contribute to the organization’s success, they’re more likely to be invested in achieving those goals. But not everyone wants to be recognized in the same way. Some people are motivated primarily by monetary compensation, while others want to see their role treated with the respect they believe it deserves. Understanding the proper way to recognize performance is critically important. For example, simply paying someone more money won’t be enough to keep them if they think they’re being treated like a replaceable cog in a machine.

Create the Right Culture

Building a healthy workplace culture is important for any organization, but many companies make the mistake of establishing a culture that doesn’t reflect the diversity of their workforce. An office that feels like a frat house might be a great place to work for some employees, but it probably isn’t the best environment for everyone. When people feel out of place at work, it can be difficult for them to be engaged in what they’re doing. Using employee assessments to better understand what kind of environment everyone wants to work in can help organizations build a work culture that reflects its employees' diverse needs.

Discover How to Motivate People With Omnia Assessments

For over 30 years, Omnia has helped organizations implement a data-driven approach to hiring and employee development. Our diverse array of employee assessments provide actionable information that can be used to shape development strategies that boost employee engagement and employee retention. From behavioral and cognitive assessments to custom reporting and workshops, the Omnia team has the resources to optimize your workforce fully. Contact us today to learn more about our hiring assessments and employee development solutions.

Wendy Sheaffer

Wendy is the former Chief Product Officer of The Omnia Group. She is a subject matter expert in behavioral assessments and in using Omnia’s 8 columns as a tool to make more-informed hiring and development decisions and effectively engage staff. For more information, email or call 800.525.7117.

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