Mind over matter

The words ‘I can’t be bothered’ seem to be uttered from numerous employee’s mouths when the going gets tough, which is why so many employers need to continually review their motivational offering, in order to ensure their workforce remains engaged. Despite the prospect of an exciting year ahead many business leaders are still finding employee morale at an all time low.

The Hay Group 2012 Reward Report showed that organisations are extremely aware that morale levels are in need of a boost. The report revealed that over half of their respondents feel that uncertainty over pay is affecting workplace morale and just over a quarter of respondents stated that their reward strategy is no longer fit for purpose in light of the current climate. It highlighted that many companies are not addressing low levels of morale despite admitting that their reward strategies are out of date. Many employers seem to be resided in the fact that some employees have adopted a ‘defeatist’ attitude. When in fact every single person has the ability to achieve set tasks and goals as deep in our brains we all have our very own ‘motivation structure’.

French scientists from INSERM Neuroscience Centre in Paris have recently identified a part of the brain which drives motivation during actions that combine both physical and mental activity. The study coordinated by leading scientist Matthias Pessiglione carried out over 360 tests with 20 patients. Matthias identified a general motivation structure in the depths of the brain called the ‘Ventral Striatum’ which is capable of activating any effort type depending on the task, in order to boost performance.

Scientists observed that the activity of the Ventral Striatum was activated proportionately to the amount of money involved: the higher the degree of motivation, the higher the activation level. Matthias suggested that the expectation of a reward for carrying out tasks is automatically encoded in the motivation structure. The “motivational centre” connects to different zones depending on the type of activity for either physical or cognitive tasks.

Matthias and his team suggest that once we put our mind to something our brain immediately calculates the expected reward in order to increase our motivation levels in order to achieve set tasks. This compelling research highlights the need for employers to continually engage their employees in order to stimulate their motivation levels.

Ensure your employee’s ‘Ventral Striatum’ is kept activated and provide your employees with high level rewards, to make sure your employees have motivation on the brain this year!

Sophia Tirelli

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