Unmotivated Employees Organizational Success 9362


Leaders must be on guard forunmotivated employees as the organization’s failure or success can be linked toemployee motivation. In today’s dynamic andrapidly changing healthcare environment the cost of unmotivated employees issignificant to organizations that strive for excellence. As hospitals and health systems make the shift to value-based careand a focus on quality, employee engagement is more imperative than ever. According to Horrigan (2013), only 30 percent of employees areengaged and inspired at work. Absent orunfocused employees result in lost revenue, reduced productivity, unnecessaryemployee turnover, a negative organizational culture and poor patientsatisfaction. Employee motivation is amajor component of organizational success. This assignment will discuss this multifaceted problem and examinehow leaders can implement organizational change to motivate, empower and engagestaff.

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Organizational Problem

People in every single organization have different personalities, attitudes, beliefs, and values. Therefore, as leaders, we must utilize different approaches to motivate them.People choose to enter a career based on their personal interests, preferences, and evaluation of opportunities (Porter- O’Grady, 2015). Employees initially invest in their success and select an opportunity that aligns with their needs and goals. When the employment opportunity is not congruent with their interest’s employees are often unsatisfied and ineffective in their career.  Additionally, many careers such as nursing have high rates of burn out due to lack of autonomy, heavy caseloads, inadequate salaries and frequent conflict. Many employees also do not understand the significance of their role within the organization. Not understanding the organizational vision, mission, and goals or having a having a lack of congruence with the values or mission fit can be detrimental to the organization’s success.

Managing unmotivated employees with less than optimal work performance can be time-consuming to a leader. These are the employees that are always late, put in the bare minimum effort and constantly complain. This behavior if unaddressed causes resentment amongst the rest of the team. Often employees are not engaged in the workplace because they do not comprehend the significance of their role in the organization or the importance of the work they are performing. One of the most important functions a leader performs is motivating and engaging employees.  Conrad, Ghosh & Issacson (2015) suggest that there are three things people seek from their work- equity- to be respected and treated fairly; achievement – to be proud of one’s job, accomplishments, and employer; and camaraderie – to have good, productive relationships with fellow employees. The environment that leaders create to motivate and engage employees must be one that is constructive to positive energy. When the leader fails to establish this environment a dysfunctional organizational culture arises which promotes unmotivated employees.

On an annual basis, hospitals with the least engaged nurses pay $1.1 million more in malpractice claims than those with the most engaged nurses (Decker, Mitchell, & Rabat-Torki, 2016). The cost associated with unmotivated employees is not only financial but can be cultural, emotional, psychological, spiritual or physical. Organizations must consider the costs are associated with employee turnover and dissatisfaction and develop a process to improve employee engagement.

Organizational Theory

One theory applicable to the management of unmotivated employees is the contingency theory. This theory asserts that managers make decisions based on the situation at hand rather than a one size fits all method. The contingency theory also suggests that there is not just one right way to lead and influence and the leadership style must be matched with various situations. The leadership style is dependent upon the nature of the situation or task (Hoffman-Miller, 2013).  As with the management of unmotivated employees, the lack of motivation can be multifactorial. Unmotivated employees can be present due to a lack of respect, abuse of power, poor attitudes and powerlessness to name a few. According to Boehe (2016), the contingency approach is defined as identifying and developing functional relationships between environmental, management and performance variables. As motivation of an employee can be individual to each one, the leader’s style must be congruent to the situation.  If the leader’s style is not consistent with the situation, generalizations can be made about his or her effectiveness. An organizational culture that fosters employee engagement through recognition and achievement can be accomplished through application of the contingency theory. To mitigate the negative impact of unmotivated employees the leader must use a variety of skills to engage and motivate the workforce.

Organizational Change

Motivationhas been defined by Conrad, Ghosh & Isaacson (2015) as the psychologicalprocess that gives behavior purpose and direction; a predisposition to behavein a purposive manner to achieve specific, unmet needs. Whenemployees are actively disengaged or unmotivated they tend to drag other employeesdown with them. Stoyanova & Iliev (2017) describesemployee engagement as a personal sense of purpose and focus of energy,personal initiative and efforts to achieve organizational goals. Employee motivation and engagement can be linked to job satisfaction andproductivity.

Onetechnique organizations can use to create motivated employees is employeeengagement. Fostering employee engagement will add valueto the patient experience and the success of the organization as a whole(Decker, Mitchell & Rabat- Torki, 2016). Creating ateam atmosphere through employee engagement can be cultivated by acknowledgingthat mistakes happen and utilizing the situation as a learning opportunity. With the learning opportunity, the leader can focus on implementingsteps to further avoid repeated mistakes through collaboration and feedbackfrom the team. Employees that are connected to the team ofpeople they are working with have healthy communication patterns that allowthem to accept and apply constructive feedback, express fears doubts, askquestions and participate creatively with other employees and the manager.

Consistentand timely communication from the leader with the team regarding goals thatneed to be accomplished and empowerment of employees to reach those goalsimprovement engagement. According to Stoyanova &Iliev (2017), young people expect to have open and honest communication withthe leaders of the company. Employees that understand why thebusiness exists and what the goals are that need to be accomplished are morelikely to work harder to achieve the goals when they know what theircontribution means to the success of the organization. Establishinga clear and well-communicated vision based on core values and recognizingbehavior in employees that support the organization’s vision provides employeesa sense of meaning and purpose in their jobs and allows employees to takeownership of their role in achieving outcomes.  Settingclear expectations, with clear goals along with the time and resources toachieve the expected results can empower employees to contribute to theirteam’s success. As a leader, showing appreciation andrecognition to employees for a job well done is underutilized. Reinforcing positive behavior and rewarding good performance throughappreciation costs the organization very little but provides a considerablepayback.

Investingin employees through staff development with coaching and mentoring is importantto cultivating trust with the leader. Investing in the employee’sprofessional goals through offering continual learning opportunities not onlyincreases the depth of knowledge in the employee but also improves patientoutcomes and establishes a healthy, trusting employer-employee relationship. Employee development assists organizations to grow and employees toremain engaged by removing the sense of complacency and allowing them to growin their jobs.

Lastly,creating a sense of belonging through team building activities can strengthenbonds among employees on the team and lower the risk of conflict or misunderstanding. According to Taylor (2015), individuals strive for a sense ofpurposefulness and meaningfulness in life. In anenvironment when employees have a mental and emotional connection to those,they work closely with engagement and motivation to achieve outcomes isimproved. 

Implementingthese changes within an organization is not an easy task and requires aconcerted effort from multiple layers of the organization. Creating an atmosphere of employee engagement requires a daily effortfrom the CEO to the nurse manager to be attuned to their employee’s behaviorand proactively implement the discussed strategies. Failure oforganizational leaders to develop and implement a strategic plan using thesedeliberate components produce the negative consequences associated withunmotivated employees.


Motivation is not a result of one preferred “one size fits all” management approach but rather, a systemic discovery and assessment by management of motivation needs and wants and fulfillment of various crucial motivation elements (Conrad, Ghosh & Isaascson, 2015). Leaders that are perceptive to their employee’s behavior and the dynamics influencing their behavior can implement organizational change to improve motivation and engagement. Organizations with employees that are entirely engaged have higher levels of employee retention, reduced turnover, improved performance and better outcomes due to improved communication, teamwork and culture that empowers employees.


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  • Taylor, B. M. (2015). The Integrated Dynamics of Motivation and Performance in the Workplace. Performance Improvement54(5), 28-37. doi:10.1002/pfi.21481




Approximately 250 words