3 ways to increase the motivation of flex workers

Postdate: 30 October 2017

Self-employed entrepreneurs are happy. This is concluded in the Labour and Labour Conditions Survey from TNO and CBS. Temporary employees, with 66% job satisfaction, are the least happy with their job. This is reflected in a high lapse and lower productivity.

Three psychological basic needs
With 81%, self-employed entrepreneurs with staff are the most satisfied with their work. This is not without reason. Entrepreneurs have a large degree of freedom. They consciously choose a field of expertise that they support, and they voluntarily follow the uncertain path. They are intrinsically motivated and do not see their work as 'work'. Scientists Deci & Ryan mentioned it already in their theory about motivation: to become intrinsically motivated, autonomy, competence and social solidarity are important. In other words: appreciation, feedback, enough challenge, opportunities to develop yourself and freedom to make your own choices.

The need for certainty is the main motive
Flex workers and temporary employees dangle below the satisfaction ladder. We can split this latter group in two. On the one hand the temporary employees who are consciously 'flexible'. Think of students with a job. They are just as satisfied as permanent employees because they are not looking for job security or appreciation from a temporary manager. On the other hand, you have the temporary employees who have a temporary job because they cannot get a permanent job. Perhaps they see a temporary job as a stepping-stone to a permanent job and get disappointed again and again. Especially within the latter group there is dissatisfaction, because their need for certainty is very high. [1]

Less motivation and high lapse
Approximately one third of the employment contracts in the Netherlands are currently flexible. In order to keep flex workers optimally employable, we require a vision for good employment practices for flex workers, says Stichting Arbo Flexbranche. [2] Even if there is no permanent job within easy reach, it is important to motivate the flex worker. Frustrations due to a lack of permanent work can lead to temporary workers being less involved, not staying long and performing less well. Not to mention the industrial accidents that appear twice as often among temporary workers than among permanent employees. [3]

Three tips for more motivation
How do you improve the motivation of flex workers? This is a shared responsibility of the employer, employment agency and temporary employee. However, it is most effective when the temporary employee takes charge. This is not different as when having a permanent contract. The employment agency and employer must encourage and support this process.

Tip 1: Give the flex worker autonomy.
Guide them in making long-term goals. Let them take as much responsibility as possible by giving them freedom of choice and choosing their own path. This counts for the employment agent who places the temporary employee, and the employer. This may concern, for example, the choice for a new placement, the necessary additional training and working hours.

Tip 2: Make sure that the flex-worker feels welcome.
In an ideal situation, no distinction in approach is made between flex workers and permanent employees. This promotes good contact between a flex worker and manager and his or her colleagues. A flex worker will feel at home in an organization where no distinction is made.

Tip 3: Let the flex worker work on his / her competence.
Do not only limit yourself to work-related training. Mental and physical fitness proved to have a positive effect on motivation, productivity and absenteeism. Flex workers who can cope well with stress, are well equipped, have good social skills, and are physically healthy, want to take that extra step and are more loyal. By giving them control over their own mental and physical health, they will also take more charge in their work situation. Here they will not only benefit on a personal level, but also in their future careers.

[1] CBS;TNO, 2017. [2] Stichting Arbo Flexbranche , 2017. [3] NCRV, 2017

autonomy     competence     employer     flexwerkers     gelukkig     ondernemers     productivity     sociale verbondenheid     uitzendkrachten    

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