When it comes to tracking and motivating employees - most companies still have it all wrong, despite all research and recommendations widely available in project management and project tracking literature. But lack of expertise, software or knowledge in how to motivate great behavior within teams is not the only reason why companies fail to motivate employees. Even the “best companies to work for” still get it wrong – with time, motivation deteriorates.

Specifically, research reveals that the majority of employees are quite enthusiastic when they start a new job. However, in about 85 percent of companies employees' morale sharply declines after their first six months — and continues to deteriorate for years afterward. This finding is based on surveys of about 1.2 million employees of the 52 Fortune 1000 companies from 2001 through 2004, conducted by Sirota Survey Intelligence (Purchase, New York).

We believe that companies indeed are doing a lot, very much, to motivate their employees, but what they may be failing to realize is that it is not enough to motivate. It also necessary to remove any demotivating factors to achieve great employee engagement and to allow them to perform at their best. Demotivating factors we consider in this book are not common “hygiene” factors or Maslow’s pyramid lower levels, but rather – factors related to self-realization, control, feeling of being appreciated, treated fairly, connected to and important for the company’s bigger goals.

If we examine individual motivation factors and challenges, we will be able to apply our analysis to groups of people – teams or companies – to understand how group dynamics boost or kill motivation.

Taking the financial component out of our motivation equation, we end up with “intrinsic” motivation factors (e.g. personal fulfillment etc.). These factors include:

Social recognition and respect: We all want the people around us to say that we do our work well, that what we do is important for the world around us.

Feeling of accomplishment: It is very important to see how our work contributed to completing the project, “getting things done” for the team in general, to sustain a feeling of progress and self-worth.

Taking responsibility:Taking responsibility means that we stop looking for excuses, are not as susceptible to external influence, take a strong stand for what we believe in and what we want to accomplish. It is like playing chess - if you lost, it is because you did not plan your strategy well in advance, there is no one else to blame.

Taking and acknowledging your ultimate responsibility for something means that your actions will determine the outcome. If you can clearly, visually, see the sequence of actions you have (or haven’t) taken and the outcome, you will have all information required to do better next time. While nobody is ideal and everyone has their personal and professional limits, as soon as you acknowledge that you know how you can improve – you accept full responsibility for not improving if you decide not to improve. Acknowledgement and available tools make lack of improvement a personal decision, not an act of fate or someone else’s fault. As a result, self-motivation is being maximized.

Providing clear, unambiguous, cause-and-effect view into one’s actions and their outcomes is a very important aspect of successfull project tracking software.

You can think of it this way: if you knew for a fact that 3 workouts per week will keep you fit, and your calendar consistently showed you only went once for 3 months – it is clear why you are not fit and the responsibility is on you. On the other hand, if you received a weekly report of weight loss that showed progress towards your goal healthy weight – you’d be motivated by progress and would attribute success to yourself as well.

While there is no one-size-fits-all perfect way to manage and track projects and people, all of which may have different needs, backgrounds, and expectations, by creating an environment that promotes job satisfaction, managers are developing employees who are motivated, productive and fulfilled.