Career & Finance / Fulfillment

Going Against Demotivation

Attrition is at an all time high within the next few months, once everyone gets their 13th month pay this November/December. The top reasons for the attrition is “demotivation” – which is seen as a trend for employees who have spent at least 2 years in their current company. Inspired, I wrote this. Hope this helps anyone who reads it. May not give a “good vibes” feel, but it’s reality. 🙂

Regardless if you’re five years into the ladder or barely three months, we all can reach the point where we feel defeated and demotivated due to various reasons at work. Lucky are those people who get their dream jobs the first time, but for those who are slugging it on an “alternative” career or industry, every day may become a challenge to go in once the spark is gone.

Here’s the basic rule for new hires. Following our labor code, you are required to render 6 months of work before you are allowed to take a paid time-off or a vacation leave. Otherwise, your pay gets deducted with every absence. Some industries are lenient and allow its new hires to use their accrued leaves upon their third month. The thing is, taking a “break from it all” won’t be the solution for your demotivation especially on those crucial months. Some people slug it until the 6th month, but some decide not to go with it anymore as it is not worth it.

Demotivation comes in many forms, fueled by many reasons.

Slacking from work, or being tardy most of the time may be a tangible sign of losing one’s interest. One may go through denial and say, “Nah, it’s just a bad day”, when in fact, it has been weeks since the deadline. It may also be in the form of non-excitement. With sparkly eyes, motivated employees immediately say “YES!” to a big project, and always look forward to an incoming change. Those who have lost their will have the tendency to shrug it off, and feel disengaged. Employee Surveys? Meh. Focused group discussions? What for. The level of excitement decreases as the days drag by.

While there is no perfect cure for demotivation, you can definitely determine the reason and know what triggered it, and act accordingly.

Is it how your boss treats you?

If so, set a meeting with your Human Resources team to ask for the best approach. Your local HR may be able to help you sort things out with your boss. When reporting this to HR, be as objective as possible and cite specific incidences to document things. If it escalates and if things turn sour and personal, you will have the necessary documentation to defend yourself.

If you have an open-door culture, you may set an appointment with your one-up, which does not coincide with your performance appraisal schedule. Take time to reach out during your coaching sessions and tell him or her what didn’t work, what works, and what can be improved.

NEVER gossip with your colleagues to find common ground, unlike what most resort to do. Find your courage, speak up and do the right thing.

Remember, your boss is HUMAN too. He or she may just be having a bad day when it happened. If it is chronic behaviour, though, it needs to be addressed. You may be the only one speaking up – take one for the team, if you want change to happen.

Is it how your teammates treat you?

Being new in a group may make you feel left out. Some may have already formed their tight friendships and alliances, and it’s up to you to “prove” yourself to them. If you are with a group of people your senior but happen to be at the same rank, there’s a slight possibility that they’re viewing you as another competitor for the next step on the ladder. Chill- being territorial is a natural human behaviour.

Instead of going all out with the entire group, talk to each new colleague separately. Get to genuinely know how they work, and make yourself handy if there’s an opportunity. Your goal is to make them feel that you can be trusted, and you’re one of them – not another competition to tick off.

Going out with the team is NOT necessary, but it is a very good way to get to know everyone outside of work. Think of it as an arrow penetrating a solid armor through a hidden unfastened seam- use this as a way to unravel who they are so you could foster better relationships at work.

There are rules when it comes to bullying and harassment, and this is generally frowned up and prohibited. You may file a very strong case if they don’t stop despite you confronting them. Document every instance or exchange if you can, and seek the help of your boss, or your HR team. They should be able to provide you advice on how to proceed with work, or at least give you options to be transferred if there’s a way.

Is it the benefits and/or pay?

If you’ve been with a company for quite some time and you felt you’ve accomplished enough to ask for an increase, do so, but make sure to back your claims with proper documentation. Enumerate the projects you’ve successfully worked on, your credentials within your team, compile the compliments you received from your counterparts or clients- this will come in handy during these discussions. Some companies have a scheduled 2x a year performance review- bring it up on those times and make sure to sell yourself well – with true facts as your back up. Don’t gloat, however, as this will quickly backfire on you.

If you feel that your appraisal wasn’t fair, talk to your one-up and raise your questions. Ask why you were given a lower rating, as opposed to a rating based on your credentials. It is your right to know your performance appraisal results – don’t just say yes, and agree to a 3, when you could have had a 5.

Speak with your one up about your expected salary increase and ask, “If you were to get someone on the same role, will you be willing to pay X amount to him / her?” If your boss’ answer is yes, then you’ve got your answer- they would rather get a new resource who would start from scratch, than develop an internal talent, which tells lots about the way they plan things.

Is the company cost-cutting? Cost cutting measures are usually implemented if the company’s spending is almost the same, or higher than its savings, or if the team is undergoing expansion therefore any budget is allocated to new projects or heads. There’s nothing your one-up or HR could do about this, but you CAN do something. Knowing that the company’s expanding presents new opportunities for your growth- find a new role which could suit you- while an immediate increase may not be feasible especially for secondment roles or lateral transfers, having a new opportunity is a much better option than staying stagnant.

Is it how your team works?

An obsolete way of recruiting people is through their “team fitness”, basing one’s employment on how the team “ideally” works. Ideal processes may not match those from real life. This sets the expectations incorrectly for whoever new’s joining.

The best way to address this is to discuss your expectations, and the team’s expectations with your one-up. He or she may be able to give you a more comprehensive run through on how the team works rather than rely on the initial information from HR. Having an on-the-ground knowledge of what -really- is going on helps greatly, especially if you’re new.

What if it’s the other way around? You’ve been with the team for a long time, and a new member just isn’t getting the rhythm? Let your boss know about this opportunity, and perhaps take initiative to talk to your new teammie to keep him or her on the loop for the real scoop. However, if you feel that your new member is a slacker, document all escalations and confront him or her- tell him that he’s not doing his part to keep the team afloat and be as objective, but caring, as possible.

Is it the changes?

Changes could leave one off-guard, especially if it’s a huge re-org or overall change on how you work, and how the enterprise functions. Ideally, there are several focused group discussions and campaign sessions your communications or HR team does prior to these changes. If you feel lost, let your one-up or Communications / HR specialist know. They will be able to give you advice on what you can do next to make sure the transition is smooth.

Be the grease that lets it flow, not the cog that makes it stop. Strategic changes are something that the corporation has thought through for the benefit of the business. However, if the said changes are rather “inhumane”, and puts you in such a risk, then it is your right as an employee to escalate this to HR, or as you see fit, look for another role.

And lastly, is it the role?

Have you been in Customer Support for over five years and you can’t see any new developments? Are you stuck in corporate branding when you really specialise in 3D design? If there are no internal opportunities for you to move on to, remember- there’s a WIDER world out there for dozens opportunities who may have been looking for you. If you feel that you already maximised your talents and capabilities on your current role and there’s nothing the company could give you (and vice versa), start updating your profile and portfolio and start the search.

Do not let go of your current role until you have found a replacement that you’re more sure about. Once you find a suitable match, here are some good questions you could ask yourself: 1) Will I be able to stay in this company twice as long as I will in my current role? 2) Is the package (compensation, benefit) more competitive than my current one? 3) Are the development opportunities clearer and more defined? 4) What will be my regrets if I left my current employer? 5) Are these “what ifs” easily brushed away once I transfer to my next employer?

Taking the step further in by deciding to stay inside your current company takes the same amount of courage as stepping out there in the open and looking for a new job. If you feel as if you’ve lost your purpose and you have no juice in you to continue with your current state, use these questions and scenarios to assess what you really want to do, and take it from there. Hope this helps!

About the Contributor

Vanessa Zambale is a secular-humanist who thinks for a living, writes with her passion, and lives to give and love. She is currently based in Cebu as a Communications Specialist while sidelining as a Social Media Marketer. She fancies living in a musical and proclaims herself as the Mother Of All Rabbits. While at it, Vanessa likes having her White Chocolate Dream or African Sunrise Tea Latte over meaningful conversations about humanity.

This contributor is a customer of The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf®.

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Artwork by Tanya Ahluwalia. For more of her works, visit her website

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