Employee Engagement: NEW Motivation tactics for the workplace

Have you ever felt that you self sabotage when you are nearing the completion of a goal? You simply aren’t motivated by the positive thoughts you had at the start of setting out?  Science now says that there is a reason  for this- simply, that your source of motivation changes as you progress towards a goal and it’s natural to switch from positive thinking to ‘avoidance’ thinking.

Researchers from the University of Manitoba in Canada  have found that within the early stages of pursuing a goal, participants would be motivated by hopes, aspirations and positive aspects of reaching their desired outcome – also known as “promotion motivation,”  – led from a positive goal with positive connotations ‘I want to work hard and get a promotion.”

People in this mindset are motivated by positive things, goals and steps.

However, the study showed that as people drew closer to reaching their goals, that people would switch to a “prevention motivation” mindset. Now they would be motivated by their responsibilities, duties and the desire to avoid something negative. Instead of being motivated by the same positive ideas, they instead now may start to think about the disappointment of possibly falling short, and how to avoid things that could derail their progress.

This is critical information for any business wanting to motivate either customer loyalty or employee progress. By recognising the natural ebb and flow of motivation, you can have better luck sustaining motivation in the late stages if you know it’s time to switch tactics and guide people to focus on what to avoid in order to reach their goals.

It’s also great if you’re on a diet. At the start – throw yourself into tactics that drive towards a goal – a new small pair of jeans, and doing more – and towards the end – looking at old ‘before’ pictures of yourself and avoiding going out for meals.
“Generally speaking, people in North America are predominantly promotion-focused, so they are good at starting goals, but not as good at accomplishing them,” says Olya Bullard, PhD, an assistant professor at the University of Winnipeg in Manitoba, Canada and lead author of the study. “My hope is that these findings will help people attain their goals.”

All the findings are available online in the Journal of Consumer Psychology.

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