How To Motivate Discretionary Effort In Employees

How To Motivate Discretionary Effort In Employees

Employees these days look for more than just a 9-5 job. They love to work with autonomy and expect genuine appreciation from their employers. As a result, happy employees tend to put more discretionary effort into whatever they do. 

With a culture of trust and loyalty, businesses can see higher revenue growth. Also, employee engagement at the workplace enhances, and the chance of employees switching to your competitors reduces.

This blog will explore the benefits of employee discretionary effort and how you can encourage discretionary behavior at your workplace.

Let us begin!

What is Discretionary Effort?

Every employee completes minimum stipulated hours to earn an income. But, very few employees end up putting in extra effort at work. Instead, they go above the specified hours, work on holidays, and put their best foot forward to complete a task. This voluntary approach towards work is called discretionary effort.

Usually, discretionary efforts do not come with monetary incentives. Some employees get appreciated, while others continue to perform well in the background. Dedicated employees have an inbuilt fire to learn new things and contribute to organizational growth.

Discretionary work comes with various benefits. Let us see how.

Why is Discretionary Effort Important?

Examples of discretion in the workplace include going beyond the regular work hours, taking additional training to gain more skills, or creating more content (like blogs) than what is required.

A discretionary effort has various benefits like creating a culture of trust and loyalty, enhancing business growth, or reducing employee turnover.

Build a Culture of Trust & Loyalty

Discretionary behavior comes genuinely from the heart; one cannot fake it. Unless an employee completely trusts an organization, they won’t be putting in extra effort at work. Therefore, the more the number of discretionary workers, the better is the overall culture of trust and loyalty of your organization.

Enhanced Employee Engagement

Discretionary effort and employee engagement are closely related. Unless an employee is motivated enough to work, they won’t show discretionary behavior. In doing so, they are more dedicated and work in a distraction-free environment. This behavior leads to enhanced employee engagement and higher work productivity.

Increase Employee Retention

Employees who do discretionary work are happier than people who complete a bare minimum amount of work hours. Happier employees are satisfied with your organization and do not plan to switch. Hence, your employee retention increases, thereby lowering your hiring costs.

In the next section, let us understand how you can promote discretionary behavior in your employees.

Top 5 Tips to Motivate Discretionary Effort in Employees

There are various ways to motivate employees’ discretionary effort, like providing the right work tools, genuine appreciation, team collaboration, and more.

1. Genuinely Appreciate Your Employees

How often do you acknowledge and appreciate the discretionary effort of your employees? When you recognize your employees, they feel cared for and valued. As a result, they will continue putting in extra effort at work. Recognition can happen through annual awards, monetary bonuses, lunch outings, etc.

2. Provide the Right Work Tools

The right work tools can simplify work processes and help an employee to complete a job on time. For example, a project management tool enables you to break down a large project into multiple tasks. 

You can then allot these small assignments to different employees and track their progress online. Employees can easily communicate with their peers by sharing the documents on the project management platform.

3. Autonomy in Work

Most employees tend to put in discretionary efforts when given the freedom to work on their terms. Instead of micromanaging their tasks, you can provide external support as and when needed. Let them carve their path while completing a task.

4. Encourage Team Collaboration

Employees who gel well with team members are happier at their workplace. Then, naturally, they are motivated to show discretionary behavior. Hence, encourage team collaboration via peer-to-peer recognition systems, communication tools like Zoom or Stack, or casual games and outings.

5. Provide Training Opportunities

Workplace training enhances the skills of your employees, and they can attain better career growth prospects. When employees see the training opportunities, they feel more encouraged to work with dedication. 

Hence, ensure that you conduct quarterly or annual training programs for your employees. Some companies even have training materials on the company intranet. Employees can learn through these materials at their pace.

Summing Up

When employees are happy with their work, they put in discretionary efforts to work longer hours. In doing so, employee engagement increases and turnover reduces. Further, you can build a culture of loyalty, thereby enhancing business growth.

You can encourage discretionary behavior through various ways like a genuine appreciation of employees to boost their morale. Also, by equipping them with the right tools, you can get work done faster. 

Ensure that you don’t micromanage their work and give them complete autonomy. Greater team collaboration and training opportunities lead to skill enhancements of your employees, thereby boosting their discretionary efforts.

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