Uncovering Secrets to Motivational Differences of Men and Women in the Workplace

October 28, 20168:35 am2129 views

Most people realise – and most studies prove – that the key to being engaged at work is not just a fatter paycheck. Decades of academic research have explored the complex factors that drive human behaviour and many organisations are now turning their attention inwards, to discover how this knowledge can be used to best engage their workforce.

While all employees would naturally want to work for a company they can trust, the higher influence of organisational fit on women’s engagement levels is especially interesting. Though the direct reason for this is hard to identify, there is no denying that industries with a large gender-imbalance, such as tech and engineering firms, would do well to acknowledge the importance of organisational fit when making themselves attractive to the best female candidates.

Here, we uncover the secrets to male and female motivation at work, while stressing on the importance of company values. The biggest motivator for men and women in the workplace is ‘Strategy’ – faith in the mission and direction of their organisation.

Second most important motivating factor is ‘organisational fit,’ a measure of the congruence of the values of the organisation and the personal values of the employee which has 42% greater impact on women than men.

“The importance of strong company values is only going to increase in the coming years, as Millennials begin to make up a larger proportion of the workforce. Research has repeatedly shown that the Millennial generation want to work for companies that inspire them and give them a sense of purpose. According to research by Deloitte, on the Millennials most likely to remain with their employers for a long time, 88% were highly convinced by the organisation’s mission,” says Dan Rogers, Co-founder of Peakon in its recently released engagement report based on findings conducted on 230,000 employees in more than 20 countries.

As discussion about workplace engagement is bound to increase, organisations should note that they are not in danger of being left behind – unless they start to make people a priority. Strong leadership is the biggest driver for employee engagement across both genders.

Put simply, engagement is a measure of the emotional, intellectual, and physical commitment an employee has to their company. This occurs when an employee feels respected, supported and aligned with the company’s goals.

When employees are engaged, they care, and they use discretionary effort. This could mean working overtime to meet a deadline without being asked, or going the extra mile to deliver the perfect experience for the customer though no one is watching. Engaged employees are motivated by intrinsic factors such as personal growth and a sense of accomplishment, rather than just by external rewards.

See: 10 Inexpensive Ways to Appreciate Your Employees

Workload and reward are typically the more difficult drivers for an employer to get right. Balancing financial resources alongside customer or client demands is a fine art and ultimately defines the success of a business. Far better, is to reward workers with intrinsic recognition, demonstrating to them how their efforts have contributed to the company’s goals and highlighting their achievements among their peers.

Goal setting theory, developed by Edwin A. Locke in 1968 asserts that t conscious goal-setting is one of the most efficient means to increase productivity while avoiding procrastination. Businesses can greatly benefit from clear and attainable goals.

Strong peer relationships foster an environment of trust. Employees that care about each other on a personal level tend to share values and support each other. They are more inclined to go the extra mile and more likely to work as a team.

In a 2015 report, Gallup found that close work friendships improve employee satisfaction by 50%, while people with a best friend at work are seven times more likely to be highly engaged in their job. Additionally, the research showed that organisations with engaged workforces are around 150% more profitable.

Free opinions, meaningful work, autonomy and reward are all areas in which we see large discrepancies between men and women, with men rating all four significantly higher than their female colleagues. The data suggests that women feel they are given less responsibility by their employers, with a lack of autonomy and free opinions indicating that micro-management could be an issue.

Lower levels of satisfaction for reward in women is unsurprising, given the widely-reported gender pay gap. A recent study by the Institute for Fiscal Studies indicated that women in the UK still earn on average 18% less than their male counterparts, an effect that is especially increased when women return to work after childbirth.

Effective communication is the backbone of an engaged workforce. Employees are keen for more feedback from managers and greater levels of transparency throughout their organisations. Simple steps, such as more frequent 1-on-1 meetings with line managers make a big difference in how connected employees feel to their employers.

Also read: Best Practices for Improving Employee Job Satisfaction Quickly

Image credit: 2one2f.com

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