We’ve all had those jobs we loved or hated. What made the difference?

Possibly it had something to do with motivation, a many-faceted complex of attitudes, relationships, suitability for tasks and a host of other things.

Employee motivation has a direct impact on long-term profitability. Countless anecdotal and formal studies have shown the link between the quality of the work environment and the financial viability of most commercial enterprises (an internet search will provide you with innumerable examples of empirical studies).

In the world of business consulting, those who ask the right questions are the first to quickly uncover the truth about the motivational “temperature” of your operation and the factors that contribute to the positives and negatives.

Simply put, when your team does not feel motivated to perform, your bottom line will suffer. Inspiring and motivating teams is vital to success, so that’s probably why it’s such a challenging and continual process. The smart manager also recognizes the need for help. An outside view is helpful from time to time, especially when there’s change happening. A business consultant can help to remind and refocus management approaches to motivation.

Corporate training or business consulting can be a huge help in managing change. Save time and money by bringing in an expert outsider who has seen the inner workings of a lot of companies. They can function as a change agent and say things that insiders may not be able to for various reasons.

Here are some examples of a few of the searching questions a business consultant might ask; think about how you would answer them:

How are tasks flowing?

Take a close look at the way tasks are assigned and completed. A large backlog can demoralize even the hardest worker, so find ways to keep to-do lists to a manageable size. Discuss it with your teams and identify bottlenecks. Are tasks being given to the right people- those who can do them quickly and well? Is there good communication about start and due dates, priorities and collaboration? The goal is to empower confident, fully trained decision makers at all levels of production.

Does everyone understand how they fit in?

In smaller companies its a lot easier to link every activity to the bigger picture. However, as you grow there’s a gravitational pull away from that tight integration of motivation and purpose and people often feel like their daily tasks don’t carry as much meaning in terms of the company mission. Expressing gratitude often can go a long way to easing the “cog-in-the-wheel” attitude.

but there must also be regular and intentional attention paid to highlighting the ways that even the most mundane activities impact the entire company.

Encourage your teams to believe in the mission of your company. Try this: ask each person in your sphere of influence to name your company’s purpose in four words. Then ask how their role contributes to that mission and what future development they or training opportunities they need.

Most of us can tell if a manager really cares. Great leaders with authenticity know how to blend toughness with concern. Finding that balance will go a long way toward alignment of shared purpose, understanding that any difficult work is made easier if the worker knows he or she is noticed, listened to and valued.

Why am I here?

Some of us can hang in there quite a while for that paycheck at the end, but high performing companies know that’s not something you can depend on for long term success. 360 interviews, surveys and regular feedback sessions are useful for discovering something about the pervasiveness of a “grin and bear it” mindset there is in your people- if you can get honest answers. The worst thing management can do is ask for input and then respond in ways that ignore it, or not respond at all. It’s a sure-fire way to kill honest feedback for a long time.

The best companies among us are those make the work environment a positive and healthy place for everyone. And yes, it does positively affect the bottom line. Finding and eliminating the demoralizing aspects of your workplace will reap long term rewards; and in the end, don’t you want to spend your weekdays in a place you enjoy rather than dread?