A Step-by-Step Guide to Measuring Workplace Motivation

Workplace motivation is essential not just for productivity but also for the wellbeing of employees. Get started with these tips

November 2, 2023
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Workplace motivation has always been a tough nut to crack for HR leaders, and with the challenges of today’s evolving work climate, it’s not going to get any easier in the short term.

According to research from Future Forum, 42% of the global workforce suffered from burnout in 2023, representing a steady increase from 38% in 2021. That means that the workers of today are more likely to feel negative about their work, and experience symptoms of stress and energy depletion. As a result, commitment, engagement, and motivation in the workplace plummet.

But before you feel all doom and gloom, don’t worry. There are ways to address this, and a solid HR team can step up to the challenge. In this article, we’ll cover top tips for improving workplace motivation and safeguarding employee wellbeing, along with practical advice on how you can get started. 

Benefits of a Motivated Workforce

The advantages of workplace motivation are many, and essential for a business to enjoy long-term success. Let’s explore three of the most standout factors:

  • Increased Productivity: When we feel motivated, we’re much more likely to engage with our work. It means we’re able to avoid productivity traps or distractions, and maintain a steady work cadence throughout the day and week.
  • Better Wellbeing: Stress affects the brain’s cognitive functions; people struggle to remember important details or deadlines, find it harder to concentrate, and let their emotions control how they communicate with one another. A motivated workforce avoids these struggles and finds relief in team cooperation.
  • Lower Staff Turnover: Motivated employees are generally happier in their roles, meaning they’re less likely to jump ship should another opportunity become available. This not only saves money from being wasted on endless recruitment cycles, but it also means you’ll be able to hold onto your industry’s top talent.

What Metrics Can be Used to Measure Workplace Motivation?

Project Completion/Quality

If you ask a project manager, the best way to measure employee motivation would be by evaluating their output. If they’re completing work on time and to a high standard, then it must mean that everything is fine… right?

Well, this approach tends to produce a murky picture of motivation. Just because an employee has met their targets, it doesn’t mean that they’re truly happy in their roles. It could be that they’re planning to hand in their leave next week, or that their productivity has declined over time to hover at the bare minimum of just getting the essential stuff done on time.

The veracity of this approach also depends on how effective your objective-setting is. For example, if your employees’ monthly targets are unrealistically high, then it would be unfair to conclude that they’re simply ‘unmotivated’ for not reaching them.

On the whole, measuring productivity is important, but you’ll need to take a more holistic view of employee satisfaction to understand how motivated your team truly is. Using employee or candidate management software makes it easy to gather data in one centralized place, while your HR team focuses on measuring motivation in other, more nuanced ways.

Workplace Incident Rates

A prime indicator of employee motivation is how many workplace incidents are being reported to your HR team. From minor-level incidents like gossiping, to serious incursions like theft, bullying, or harassment it’s a clear sign that something is wrong in your company’s culture.

It’s also something of a positive feedback cycle, with one employee’s toxic behavior tending to have a ripple effect on the rest of the team—in turn bringing everyone’s mood and motivation down. So, the best course of action obviously is to nip antisocial behavior in the bud. And, while you’re at it, it’s worth measuring how many incidents are reported each month to gain insight into motivation levels.

Working Hour Patterns

Humans are creatures of habit, so when we switch up our work patterns, there’s usually a clear explanation. Some common reasons include parenthood, moving house, or suffering from a health condition.

Sometimes, however, a change in work patterns can be an indicator of mounting stress and burnout. Your employees may feel their motivation fluctuate from day to day and begin calling in sick much more often than usual, or suddenly request more work-from-home days.

In times like these, it’s important for employers to check in on their staff and ask if they’re feeling comfortable in their role. Regardless of what a person is going through outside of work, it’s vital to make them feel valued and supported in your organization. And if you find that what’s driving their behavior is something that happened at work, then it’s clearly HR’s job to get to the bottom of it.

The good news is, HR leaders can easily monitor their team’s working hours with productivity monitoring apps. Applications like time-tracking software or a call tracking system provide an overview of work patterns/behavior for both office-based and remote workers.

Employee Satisfaction Surveys

One of the most direct ways of measuring workplace motivation is to simply ask your team how they are feeling. Surveys are the popular choice here, as they’re essentially the invitation for an employee to speak their mind on how they’re feeling, what they’re happy about, what could motivate them further, etc. 

They also offer a great degree of flexibility. For instance, you could make them private to encourage employees to share what they truly think, or make them personalized with follow-up conversations.

Some organizations use the ‘Employee Net Promoter Score’ (eNPS) metric to measure employee loyalty and satisfaction. You could implement a system like this, based on survey responses and productivity/retention stats, and track the trends in workplace motivation each quarter.

5 Steps to Measuring Workplace Motivation

  1. Set SMART Objectives

It’s almost impossible to judge workplace motivation without a set of benchmark metrics. To get started with this, use the above-listed methods to gain a sense of your current employee satisfaction, i.e., productivity rates, workplace incidents, working hour patterns, satisfaction surveys, etc.

From here, you can set SMART targets—Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound—which your organization can refer to each quarter in the year ahead. This provides a way for HR leaders to measure progress and change the course of action if things aren’t working.

It’s important to engage your employees in this process. Be transparent, welcome their input, and prove to them that you’re doing this because you genuinely care about their wellbeing—not just out of a hell-bent desire for extra productivity!


Image sourced from gartner.com
  1. Invest in the Infrastructure to Track Motivation Metrics

Tracking motivation metrics is entirely possible with spreadsheet software like Excel or Google Sheets, but that doesn’t mean it’s a desirable solution.

In fact, most HR departments these days are using specialist software to monitor remote employees and their productivity. Whether it’s a training system for teaching new skills, or a performance management software for tracking project completion, these programs come equipped with reporting capabilities that provide instant access to the relevant metrics.

As you seek to measure workplace motivation more effectively, consider incorporating a project management tool into your HR software suite to streamline project tracking and ensure that your team is working efficiently.

Don’t get bogged down with old, unreliable infrastructure—unlock the potential of the latest HR software with a cloud modernization strategy.

  1. Emphasize Personal Development

Employee motivation is heavily correlated with opportunities for professional development.

It makes sense—everyone wants to feel that they’re getting something out of their work in the long term, beyond simply getting paid. So, if HR teams want to hold onto their best staff, they need to sponsor this journey and prove that these opportunities exist within your organization.

You could create personal roadmaps, organize webinars with industry experts, provide your staff with the latest and greatest learning materials... Or, you can implement something like a ‘buddy’ system where your struggling staff members are linked with more senior mentors.

Mentoring is a great system for learning because everything is done in-house and both the mentor and mentee can gain new skills from it. That’s not to mention the boosts to staff morale from forming workplace friendships. It’s not just limited to office-based teams, either, thanks to software like screen sharing, video calls, or remote access to a computer with RealVNC.


Image sourced from deloitte.com
  1. Invite your Employees to Share Feedback

Changing a workplace’s culture for the better requires dedication and leadership from HR, but that doesn’t mean it’s their jurisdiction alone. Business leaders should always encourage their staff members to speak their minds about company policies.

The hard part is convincing employees to be honest and not just say what they think will appease the higher-ups. It requires a culture of both transparency and confidentiality, and you need to actually act on the feedback that you receive. Sometimes, getting started is as simple as having a regular conversation with team members and thanking them for their input. For a more formalized approach, implement a system of regular feedback surveys.

  1. Personalize your Approach

Many HR leaders fall into the trap of assuming every employee is the same, when in fact everybody has different work styles and motivators. It’s crucial to review your progress with individual staff members and shift tactics when burnout starts to creep in.

Using ATS software like Oleeo can help HR leaders on this journey. It consolidates employees’ details in one place—from personality types to work preferences—which makes creating a personalized action plan much easier.


Image sourced from apa.org 


To wrap up, workplace motivation is pretty much HR 101, but that doesn’t mean achieving it is a simple task. For business leaders to make a real positive change in their workplace culture, it requires a long-term commitment to transparency and professional development.

Equipped with the right tools—such as those provided by Assembly—and cultural mindset, you can succeed at boosting employee motivation in your organization, helping you to enhance productivity and retain talent in the long term.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is Assembly SOC 2 compliant?

Yes, at Assembly, security is a top priority. Each quarter, we have ongoing security work that is everyone’s responsibility. While we maintain a strong security posture, it was important for us to prove to our customers that we do everything we claim to do. This led us to pursue a SOC 2 Type II report that would provide evidence of our compliance with industry gold-standard security practice.

What's the ROI for employee recognition?

There is study after study showing that employee recognition leads to increased engagement. This in return creates an environment where employees are happier and more motivated which increase productivity and reduces voluntary turnover significantly. In order to filled critical roles, companies tend to spend nearly twice the value of an annual salary. Assembly is an investment in your employees that supports your bottom line.

Does Assembly offer longer-term contracts?

Yes, we will offer contracts for companies with longer-term agreements to help larger customers have more certainty around future costs.

The minimum agreement term is a 12-month subscription.

Does Assembly offer onboarding support?

We do and for FREE! Any new customer needing further support to get started with Assembly to ensure you're set up for success can request custom onboarding support. Improving your employee experience is about much more than just using our amazing software; it’s about transforming your business to create a workplace that people love. That’s much easier to do with the personal support and advice from our passionate people experts.

Is there a free version of Assembly?

Yes. We offer a completely free plan for up to 50 team members. This plan is intended for teams or organizations that are looking to get started with an employee engagement tool. Keep in mind, this plan is limited in features.

All customers can open an Assembly account for free and get started without a credit card. Then you can change plans as necessary.

How much do rewards cost?

At the time of redemption (when your employees exchange their points for a paid reward) you'll pay face value. If a reward is a $10 Amazon gift card, your cost will be $10. All paid rewards are billed for on a monthly basis.

The good news is that you don't have to pay for rewards upfront because we only charge you when points are redeemed, not when they're earned.

Does Assembly offer discounts?

We offer discounts or educational or charitable organizations. In order to secure a discount, you'll first need to book a demo with a customer support specialist.

For all other organizations, we are willing to consider longer-term agreements in exchange for discounts. To set up annual plans or longer, you will need to book a demo with a customer support specialist.

How do I cancel my plan if needed?

If you're on a month to month plan, you can go here and cancel anytime. If you're having concerns or need help setting up your account for success, you can always book a demo with a customer support specialist.

If you're on a longer-term custom plan, you'll need to reach out to your customer support specialist to cancel your account or email us at support@joinassembly.com.

What customizations are available?

Great question! You can customize your core values to match your organization's to boost and track alignment. You can change your currency from the 🏆 emoji (our default) to any emoji of your choice. You can swap our logo for your own. You can also set up company culture rewards such as, "Lunch with the CEO," "Buy a book on us," and so much more!

Who can give or receive recognition?

While we recommend a peer to peer set up where anyone in your organization can give or receive recognition, you can set up Assembly however you want. If you need to limit the people who can give or receive recognition, that's perfectly fine and can be done from your Admin, here.

What integrations are available?

Assembly connects to the tools your employees use every day to offer an easy, seamless experience with minimal change management.  

Assembly has integrations with HCM/HRIS systems like ADP, Google, Office 365, and Slack. We also integrate with communication tools like Slack and Teams so you and your employees can access Assembly wherever they work now.

What's your average adoption rate?

That depends on the company's permissions set up. That said, over 90% of the employees on Assembly's platform are recognized on a monthly basis. That means nearly every employee across all of our customers are receiving regular recognition from their peers, managers, or leadership. We're extremely proud of this.

Must rewards be set up to use Assembly?

They are not required. You can use Assembly without having rewards set up. However, we don't recommend it if you intend to have a high adoption and usage rate. You can always keep the costs down by offering internal culture rewards that are fulfilled by you internally.

Are points required to use Assembly?

No, you can remove allowances from anyone or everyone. It's up to you but we do recommend using points whether they're worth a real dollar value or not. Companies that use points have a much higher engagement rate even if those points don't exchange for real dollars.

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