Challenge work can be motivating for staff
Challenging work can be a great motivator, as it can keep employees engaged and interested in their role. For many people, having to overcome some level of difficulty in their work is much preferable to the boredom of an easy, unchallenging job.
However, this positive effect can only go so far. If work becomes so challenging that it’s practically impossible – or if employees feel that they don’t have the skills, resources or management support necessary to overcome challenges – it can reduce their motivation and have a very negative impact on staff morale.
The challenges of a particular job are likely to be intrinsic to the role, but an employer should ensure that all staff know how to access training and support when faced with the more difficult tasks.
Ideas for positive challenges
What sort of challenges typically serve as a motivation-trigger, rather than a motivation-killer? Here are a few ideas:
- Ask employees to try to problem-solve themselves instead of relying on management for answers. If you expect them to go to managers with an issue, ask that they come with ideas for solutions. It'll help engage them in their roles on a deeper level than simply relying on others to help resolve issues. It's also a great way to develop skills.
- Setting demanding deadlines can work, but only if they're realistic. Think about what sort of tasks are involved in completing a project and discuss with employees how soon they could get it all done, without compromising on quality of work. The task must still be possible otherwise it could actually damage morale rather than inspire people.
- Set employees learning and development goals. Making employees responsible for their own career development can motivate them to push themselves that little bit further. However, if you want staff to grow in their roles, you'll need to provide them with opportunities to let them put their new skills into action with promotions or the creation of new roles.
By setting employees attainable challenges, hopefully you'll have a workforce that's enthusaustic and who feel rewarded for their hard work.