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Many an article or book has been published on this subject and they give some answers.

They are generally about good communication, about exemplarity, empowerment, recognition, rewarding, incentivising and such more. Employees generally consider the above as a given and will react only

However, when delivering to professionals in various industries, I became more and more convinced that the real question must be different.

When talking to these different people, I often asked them the question about why they got up in the morning, about what makes them tick. Answers were personal development, family, joy in life, life fulfilment, right balance.

All things considered most of the above, the employer has little impact on and it is the employee that is the main motivator.

Research has shown that the main DE-motivator is the employer and that is a huge responsibility. The main demotivating factors are cited as being the following.

  1. Unsupportive or pre-conceived Boss
  2. Rightful recognition or credit not given
  3. Unpleasant or unqualified co-workers
  4. Bad communication
  5. Micromanagement
  6. Job insecurity or lack of perspective
  7. Gap between earnings and effort
  8. Lack of vision

In fact we see that staff will start thinking about moving when they do not find the below attributes in their workspace. Although we can state that some responsibility is shared amongst all within the enterprise, the main responsibility lays with the Boss, the Manager who must provide. It is the role of the manager/owner/boss to take away most if not all limiting factors in the workplace, although we rarely see a boss remove himself for the good of the company.

Let’s look at those factors again :

  1. Unsupportive boss We all know those that cannot seem to recognise individual talent. However, over the years, most probably under pressure from the new generations, we see this factor declining in importance. More and more leaders and managers are aware of the problem and have adapted. Some companies decided to ditch the formal appraisal system and to go for continuous feedback as their method of choice, with the added benefit that it costs far less to implement and organise as it’s more a company culture than a formal process.
  2. Credit not given This factor is still present but is challenged more and more, again because the workforce today is more outspoken, more assertive and will accept no credit being taken away from them. Keeping star performers in the company is also about sharing their achievements within the group and sometimes with customers also, with newsletters and testimonials.
  3. Co-workers One’s colleagues are an essential part in the workplace experience. We are full of the customer experience, but the employee’s experience is just as important and his/her relationship to others is part of that. It will be the managers’ job to make sure there is a good balance between colleagues. Selecting people according to personality will improve the cohesion of the group as well as the direction of the group
  4. Bad communication This will probably never go away and what is bad communication? By understanding what makes the people in the team tick, by understanding their personalities, many communication issues can be resolved. We use a system called “Insights” to better understand how we can interact with our colleagues and thus avoiding most of the problems linked with communication.
  5. Micromanagement Letting go is difficult, and more difficult to some. I had this when I first became GM, having been promoted from a more operational role. One must learn to let go, one must learn to trust the others and the most difficult of all : one must accept that the others are going to make mistakes or do it differently.
  6. Lack of perspective Job security does not exist, but we all want to understand our role in the company and we want to understand the plans of the company. By informing people of what is going on, whether positive or negative, one can achieve their understanding of the situation. When people understand, they will have the ability to project themselves into the future and decide, whether or not they want to be part of this story.
  7. Gap between efforts and earnings Most people never earn enough, at least that is what they say. But I’d like to reverse the way we look at this and relate effort to pay. Many a time I have seen my employees, and others, ask for promotion or for added compensation, but the efforts they were willing to throw in didn’t match their ambitions. What do you do when one comes to you demanding the promotion to head of department, but at the same time he’s never been on any of the online trainings freely nor is he willing to move his planned weekend because of an overload of business?
  8. Lack of Vision I would rate this one at the top of all demotivating factors. Over the last 3 to 5 years, we’ve been involved in mandates about customer service and hospitality mindset amongst other things and we’re amazed, time and again, that the vision and the values of the company are not well communicated. Of late, I was delivering to a group of retail specialists and I asked them to tell me what the vision and the values were of the brand they were selling. Only a minority could explain, and fewer could tell me how this translated into their daily operations. When the captain isn’t clear as to how and why to steer the ship, then how will he be able to inspire the people around him?

Conclusion : it’s a never-ending story and instead of looking at how to motivate people first, let’s look at not demotivating people and then, on top of that, think about positive stimuli.

All these, critically important points, are really part of a company’s culture and we’re regularly asked to assisting companies with these. It is our experience that when vision and values are well understood, well communicated and become  part of the DNA of every employee, the individual companies that we have worked for make leaps in customer satisfaction, therefore improving their achievements.

Photo P.Verbeke 4×6

Pierre Verbeke Senior Consultant at Lausanne Hospitality Consulting SA

With a passion for hotel operations, Pierre, as Senior Consultant, will add his know-how in hotel openings and project management to the experience of the team.

Pierre has an extensive career in hotel operations, pre-openings and rebrandings. He is first and foremost an operational person having managed several hotels in Belgium and having set up many pre-opening teams in different countries.

He also has gained a wealth of experience opening hotels for a large Hotel Operator in various European, North African and Eastern Europe countries. He is particularly at ease with project management and knows how to deliver the highest quality of service within the agreed timeframe.

Pierre has experience with leased, managed and franchise properties and understands the various demands from owners, investors, operators within the different projects.

Pierre is an alumnus of Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne. He speaks Dutch, French, German and English, with some notions of Spanish.

Pierre likes to spend time with his two children and his wife, he also appreciates good food, good wine and the outdoors. But above all, Pierre likes to travel and discover new people and new situations.