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5 Ways You Might Be De-Motivating Your Staff

It’s been said that people don’t quit a job they quit a boss, and it’s true. A great boss can change the dynamics of an organization and inspire people to create a culture where work doesn’t feel like a chore. Motivated staff are key to having an operation that is well functioning and takes care of customers in a way that keeps them coming back.  There have been thousands of books written about how you can motivate your staff, but what are the things you are doing that are discouraging and demotivating to your employees? Here are 5 things that you might be doing that reduce staff motivation:

1. Failing to onboard properly: Many times, I have heard from people that they have been extensively interviewed for a job but when it comes to the first day of work they are given a desk and expected to be up to speed in a matter of minutes while trying to figure out associated staff members their role and responsibilities and the lay of the land.  Onboarding employees properly takes time and when done well shows new employees that you want them to succeed.  Motivated employees know that they are important to the organization’s success and are clear about its expectations.


2. Micromanaging:  We hire people to do a job and sometimes forget that we hired them so we wouldn’t have to do in order to reduce our workload. Yet how often are we looking over our staffs’ shoulders, double checking their work and in some cases doing it for them. There is nothing as discouraging as having a job to do and unexpectedly having someone do it for you. Not only do you feel like you are not trusted, you might feel that there is little purpose in even trying. 

3. Drama in the Workplace: For the most part, employees want to be able to come to work and get their job done and go home. They want to be inspired, not caught up in office politics or drama. The emotional rollercoaster of a dysfunctional workplace can play havoc on employees’ mindsets. Whether it’s the boss freaking out or staff members who can’t seem to regulate their emotions, drama in the workplace is one of the reasons that people quit. As leaders its our job to ensure that our workspaces are places where our employees can feel safe. 

4. Lack of Accountability and Fairness: It can be difficult for staff members to understand why some employees are given preferential treatment. When some employees are accountable for their work but we fail to have the same standards for others, we create an environment that quickly becomes toxic. This doesn’t mean you need to have cameras watching your employees at all times. In fact, that in itself can be demotivating. If the company policy says that employees shouldn’t be on their phone during working hours but the manager’s family member or one of their favorite employees seems to abuse the policy without consequences, employee motivation can suffer. When there seems to be a lack of fairness in our organization, our leadership is in question. Handling these conversations with our favorite or even those staff that rub us the wrong way can be difficult. However, it is a necessity that preserves the culture of our workplace.  

5. Lack of fair pay: We talked about how lack of fair play in an organization can encourage people to start looking for new jobs, but so can a lack of fair pay. As employers, we need to understand that our employees want to work for a company that treats their employees well. This not only includes providing a safe and healthy working environment but we also want to be seen as a company that pays our employees fairly. Understanding what is the going rate of pay for our employees and having regular reviews of those rates and how they pertain to their jobs is important. In organizations where there is collective bargaining this is less of an issue than for small businesses. It takes considerable stress and energy for an employee to ask for a wage increase. We don’t want to dismiss that conversation without serious thought and a process of evaluation. There is no good reason for a profitable small business not to share some of that money with the employees responsible for the company’s success.  Great companies are not threatened by having employees who are making a good living while providing great returns to the company’s bottom line. 

Motivated employees are the lifeblood of every great business. Understanding what you can do to motivate your employees is essential. But beyond that we need to review our work environment to ensure that we are not missing the boat and creating a toxic environment that is demotivating for our staff. 

Dave Fuller, MBA is an Award Winning Business Coach and the author of the book Profit Yourself Healthy. Motivated to contact Dave? Email


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