May 28, 2024

How Wellbeing Supports Motivation

Small plants sprouting through soil
"Wellness is one of the foundations of human motivation. Without it, nothing we do to motivate higher levels of performance will be effective."

We hear so much about wellbeing and wellness in the workplace, mostly how low levels can lead to fatigue, illness and burn-out. There is plenty of evidence to support these views and the cost to businesses in the UK has been estimated at about £19 billion per annum. Less is said, however, about wellness as a foundation for sustainable performance.

Sustainable performance at both the individual and organisational levels requires a solid base to build on. In the 1940s, Abraham Maslow identified a hierarchy of psychological needs which described basic physiological requirements and our fundamental desire for security as the foundation levels of motivation, without which higher-order motivational factors such as self-esteem, performance and self-actualisation cannot be achieved.

Two decades later, Frederick Herzberg developed his model of motivation which identified two sets of factors; one set which leads to job-satisfaction and another which causes dissatisfaction, he called the latter hygiene factors. Herzberg described how these hygiene factors don't deliver high-end performance-enhancing motivation, but without them there can be no motivation at all. They are a fundamental, foundational requirement.

In the MindAlpha model of motivation, wellness is one at the core of our foundations of motivation. It covers our physical, mental and social health, life-balance and the need for a solid support network within and outside the workplace. Our research has shown how, without these foundations, the higher-order motivational factors which allow us to perform to the best of our ability and to continue to grow and develop are nullified. Wellbeing is a fundamental requirement for performance.

"The relationship between wellness and motivation works in two directions; things that demotivate us can damage our wellbeing, but lack of wellness also undermines motivation".

Our research has also shown that the relationship between these foundations and higher-order motivation works in both directions. Certainly, a toxic culture in an organisation can cause stress and anxiety and undermine general well-being. However, we have also seen how stress outside the workplace can damage people’s perception of the organisation. This can create a downward spiral of declining wellbeing, motivation and performance.

For these reasons, it is paramount to stay on top of employee well-being. It is not just a “nice-to-do”, it is critical for the sustainability of performance at the individual and the organisational level.

MindAlpha's Motivation Metrics (TM) can help you measure and track the level of these foundations of motivation. This not only helps identify wellness issues, it also predicts the direction of travel in the higher-order motivational factors, reducing the risk of being trapped in a downward spiral. Our unique life-balance framework can help people improve the return they get on their personal resources, while  our diagnostic tools can assist the work you and your wellness providers do to support your employees and help them perform to the best of their abilities.

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