8th October 2020

An engaged and motivated workforce is the key to a world where mental health is no longer an issue

9th July, 2018

Max Hunter, Chief Joy Officer & Judith Raymakers, Partner of Max Hunter & Partners

Spontaneously, what would you prefer: to put on sun-tan cream before going into the sun and have healthy skin, or go unprotected and put after-sun lotion on your burning red skin? The same goes for mental health issues at work, it is way better to prevent instead of healing them.

What causes mental health issues in the workplace? Imagine going to work every day without feeling motivated to do so. Getting out of bed every morning, hoping the alarm didn’t go off. Some people will get through their entire working life like this but most will start developing headaches, shoulder or neck pain, feel tired all day and will not be able to concentrate. Companies lose a lot of money when this happens to their workforce. Not only will absenteeism increase, people will start underperforming, will “check-out” and have a negative influence on those around them.


Looking at your workforce, do you see the signs?


Here are the 4 keys to releasing the motivation in your (and indeed all) people:


1.     The need to Belong.

Are there any individuals that seem to be isolated, not integrated in the team? If you want to understand how they feel and how it impacts their moral, think about prisoners that are punished by being isolated. No need to say any more. People want to “belong”.


2.     The need for autonomy.

Do you create the framework for your people to make their own decisions, are they in control and allowed to do the job you pay them for? Or do you have a culture where decisions are overruled by the next person up the line? No one will stay motivated and invest time in their work under these conditions. It feels like driving a car during a driving exam, you are observed and corrected and can only hope that it is over as quickly as possible. People want to do be accountable, feel that it is “their thing”.


3.     The need to feel valued and seen.

Have you ever been at an open air concert, where a new band performs and a lot of people are curious to hear what they bring. And then, more than half of the audience leaves after the first song, showing clearly that they are not interested in this performance. What’s happening with the musicians’ passion? How do they feel when people don’t want to “see” them anymore? Are they still proud of what they are doing?


4.     The need to be growing and developing

Another strong impact on motivation is the possibility for people to be able to grow, to make a career. Either by climbing up the ladder or by learning new things and becoming better in what they do. This means that mistakes are OK, they are to be learned from. At the core, this is how our race developed; by trial and error our ancestors learned and created what we see around us every day. People at work have the same basic need to learn and become better in what they do, they have the need to “grow”.


Above are the 4 key human psychological needs for people in the workforce to become and stay motivated: belonging, being seen, being accountable and growing. We call these “the Roots and Fruits”. With the roots and fruits in place, your company will thrive and work-related mental health issues could be a thing of the past.



Max Hunter, Chief Joy Officer & Judith Raymakers, Partner of Max Hunter & Partners

Max is passionate about ensuring people are fully motivated at work. As Chief Joy Officer on Loylogic's executive management team, his focus is on what makes the company a truly great place to work. Using this experience and his 15 years in business, Max also runs his own company that helps businesses create motivated workforces using his unique ‘Roots & Fruits’ methodology. This combines an understanding of psychological needs to release human motivation, a toolkit of solutions and the key to making changes stick. Max, originally from Manchester before getting a PhD from Leeds University, now lives in Hamburg.

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