Money is no longer the only source of motivation at work

According to the study "The Workforce View in Europe 2018", conducted by Opinion Matters on behalf of ADP, money remains the most important motivator at work for one in two Belgians. However, this figure should be read with caution, as more than half (53%) of those surveyed do not consider money to be their main motivator, according to the same study.

The motivating factors are the same today as in previous years, but in a different order. Money is ultimately an accelerator of motivation, because if an employee is not happy in his or her company, a better salary will not increase the willingness to work. Employees today are looking for other, more human factors to feel happy and motivated at work.

New sources of motivation at work

  • The culture and business plan

Corporate culture is reflected in common values and goals that must be put forward. For motivation to persist, employees must be part of a collective process, a project that goes beyond their missions. This may be related to social issues, for example.

  • Work conditions

Good working conditions promote employee motivation. Factors such as a good working atmosphere, autonomy or flexible working hours create motivation and a sense of belonging to the company.

  • Management and communication

It is important for the employee that the manager gives him the right information, especially about the company. Facilitated dialogue and an available manager who guides his employees reduce conflict in the company and allow the employee to be committed and motivated.

  • Development of professional skills

Better knowledge increases employee motivation. Learning and skill of recruitment opportunities can persuade a young employee to join the company and thus increase performance.

  • Well-being at work         

Well-being at work means harmony between the skills, needs and aspirations of the employee on the one hand, and the constraints and opportunities of the work environment on the other. The "People and Profits" analysis of the Spinoza Factory's report Well-being at work, objective and vector of socio-economic performance shows that of the 80 studies on the subject, 89% see a positive link between social performance and the financial performance of companies. When employees are happy and motivated, companies are more productive.

One concept that has developed in particular to improve employee well-being is corporate sports. In the workplace, it has become increasingly common to promote employee development. According to the Think & Do Tank barometer "Vitality, Sport & Entrepreneurship" conducted by OpinionWay and Generali in 2018, 89% of managers who offer physical and sporting activities to their employees believe that it improves their employees' well-being. Corporate sport would therefore be the ideal lever to promote employee well-being, which is one of the means of generating motivation.

How can sports improve motivation at work?

Sports: an answer to the 3 basic needs of motivation

Engaging in physical activity and sports at work can increase team motivation and achieve better results by meeting the three basic needs of motivation:

  • Need for competence: sports improve work efficiency through the development of soft skills, such as the ability to overcome difficulties and have more self-confidence.
  • Need for autonomy: the ability to choose his sport or flexible working hours are measures that help employees gain autonomy, as they can arrange their time as they see fit. A motivated employee will also be more autonomous in his projects.
  • Need for social connectedness: physical activities in groups have several benefits, such as reducing isolation at work, reducing the pressure of hierarchical relationships and creating a sense of belonging to the company, all with the aim of developing team spirit. 

The social and unifying aspect of sports in enterprises

It is often said, "If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together". Being in a group can motivate us and make us want to participate. Exercising together helps to improve communication between colleagues and create group cohesion. For example, a sporting activity allows employees to get along better in the workplace. Sport is also ideal for welcoming and integrating a new employee, as it allows you to get to know your colleagues in a different context.

It is also important to consider the tastes and desires of the employees. If you want to encourage interaction and cohesion, you can offer team sports. However, you should also consider adding individual sports so that all employees can participate.

To go beyond simple sports meetings at lunch or after work, you can suggest original ways to engage in sports, such as:

  • team building; 
  • business-to-business challenges; 
  • other original activities such as hiking meetings.

Sports helps you excel, even at work

It is now known that sport is a vector for many positive factors related to well-being. But it is also important to know that sport can improve motivation at work and consequently generate a sense of achievement. 

Indeed, sports activities develop skills and abilities that are then used in the professional environment. Employees are more motivated to reach and even exceed their goals. Therefore, they put more effort into making these goals attainable.

The conversion between sport and work is also made in the context of difficult times, such as injuries or failures. Overcoming these challenges can help a person move forward in the world of work by knowing how to spring back or keep moving forward, especially for positions of responsibility.

Sports helps to improve employee productivity

Physical activity at work also improves employee and company productivity. In fact, an employee who participates in sports is healthier and therefore takes less sick leave. In addition, it allows them to reduce stress and relieve pressure, which helps them to clear their minds and improve their productivity. Finally, sport at work helps to reduce absenteeism and tardiness among employees, as a motivated employee will get up in the morning with a desire to work.

The benefits of exercise are now being recognized in the world of work. According to a study by Health Canada, an employee who does at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day sees a 12% increase in productivity. This can mean a significant increase in revenue for the company.

Sport is also important for a company's future. Indeed, young workers, who will make up more than half of the workforce by 2020, will be more attracted to companies that offer sports at work. These employees, who will be more motivated and therefore happier, will increase the company's productivity.

How can sports be integrated into the workplace to motivate employees?

There are now many ways to integrate sports into a society:

  • The construction of a gym in the company, to facilitate access to sport for employees, especially during the lunch break, at a relatively low cost. However, apart from the cost to the company, the gym is not very flexible in terms of the activities offered and is not well adapted to the new ways of working, with the introduction of teleworking.
  • Participation in sports events, such as sports team building, sports seminars, marathons and charity races. These events will strengthen the bond between colleagues and improve the quality of life at work. The main problem is the punctuality of these events, which are undermined by COVID-19 and do not promote consistency over time.
  • The regular intervention of a sports coach, which makes sports more fun and friendly, and therefore suitable for less athletic people. It is a simple activity that promotes follow-up among employees. The main drawback is currently compliance with health measures related to COVID-19, which makes it difficult to implement.
  • The payment of sports subscriptions for employees, which offers great freedom of choice of sports activities at little or no cost. However, it limits group cohesion (the employee chooses his or her sport in advance) and requires long and complicated reimbursement procedures.
  • The subscription to an offer of multiple gyms is the most complete solution proposed. It offers employees a wide variety of activities and great flexibility in adapting to health restrictions imposed by COVID-19 (live classes, workshops, partner apps, etc.). It is thus suitable for telecommuting, while employees can meet to exercise together if they wish, in sports facilities near their offices or at home. 

As you can see, sports is a great tool for employees because of its many benefits, but most importantly, it boosts motivation at work. It strengthens team cohesion, it pushes you to exceed yourself and give your best to achieve your goals, and it increases employee and company productivity.

Moreover, there are many ways to integrate sports in the workplace, taking into account the wants and needs of each individual, so that sport remains above all a pleasure for employees.