Team meeting

Businesses in the UK missed the mark when it came to motivating their workforce in 2015, according to new research which showed that over a third (34%) of employees said they could not name a single occasion where they felt motivated at work last year.

The study, conducted by Red Letter Days for Business, reveals that despite a quarter (24%) of staff saying ‘yes’ they felt motivated at work in 2015, nearly half of the UK workforce collectively felt neutral or negative feelings towards their job.

More than a quarter (27%) said they sat on the fence and had no feelings towards work. Seven per cent claimed the job was 'all work, no play' in 2015, and the same number said their employer asked too much of them. Five per cent said they did not enjoy any aspect of their job last year.

The research showed that the 25-34 year olds were the most motivated to work, with 39% saying they are motivated. Red Letter Days for Business said it was the most likely age group to work their way up the career ladder.

Less than a quarter (24%) of 35-44 year olds said they were motivated in 2015, falling slightly to 23% for the over 55s. Just 21% of 18-24 year olds responded positively, while the 45-54 age group was the least motivated with just 17% of those surveyed saying 'yes'.

Bill Alexander, CEO at Red Letter Days for Business said: “It’s worrying that only a small percentage of each age group could say ‘yes’ they feel motivated at work. What’s more worrying is how little 18-24 year olds are driven – this is our workforce of the future therefore employers need to do more the nurture this talent.”

Respondents were asked what did motivate them last year, or what would have motivated them. A good work/life balance was the biggest factor with 45% highlighting it. A quarter said a good boss who is very good at their job. Less than a fifth (19%) pointed towards motivating colleagues and 17% a boss who praises regularly. And 16% said a positive office environment.

But, with a free text box in which to answer, more than a third (34%) said they could not recall a single moment when they felt motivated at work during 2015.

"It's concerning that such a large percentage of our workforces had difficulty naming a specific time when they felt driven," said Mr Alexander. "However, we must note that out of the employees who could remember an occasion the top responses fell into one of four categories: achieved, challenged, gained knowledge and recognised."