Employee Motivation

Employee Motivation

Growth and Performance

A motivated workforce is an important ingredient for successful organizations. Management need to understand the employee motivation process, and application of motivation concepts in the workplace. “Low employee motivation is costly and disruptive. Demotivated employees under perform and exit at the first opportunity.

Research Evidence on Employee Motivation

Gallup research reported that 70% employees disclosed disengagement at work. University of California research studies found motivated employees 31% more productive, 37% higher sales, and three times more creative than demotivated employees. They were also 87% less likely to quit, according to a Corporate Leadership Council study on over 50,000 people.

Bradberry, T (n.d.)

Let’s look at these factors and see how managers can apply them towards organizational effectiveness.

Motivation Defined

“When you offer someone motivation, you give them an uplifting nudge in the right direction.”

Joshi, N (2018).

Motivation therefore is, “the energy that a person expresses in connection with the work”, “the inner wish to make an effort”.

Laergaard & Bindslev, (2006) p43

The Motivation Process

Motivation process starts with an initiation driven by the need to achieve something. This drives towards direction to an objective, with an intensity that aims for optimal achievement. The process is characterized by:

  1. Focus on specific target
  2. Energy, drive and effort towards achievement of object
  3. Persistence that matches the degree of motivation
  4. Task plan for execution to achieve object

Advancers and barriers located in the individual conditions and job conditions drive the motivation process further. The individual and job condition factors can either be barriers or advancers of motivation. Individual factors include job skills, competencies, and personal attributes. The job factors include physical arrangements of the job, job design, compensation and organizational values and culture. Laergaard & Bindslev (2006).

Employee Motivation Applied

For example, possession of skills can be a motivation factor to do a specific task, while lack of skills may be a demotivator. In like manner, the physical arrangements of a job or compensation may either dissuade or motivate towards performance.

Motivation Factors

From the description of the motivation process above, we see that individual and situational factors affect motivation, either by driving or inhibiting it. Thus, human motivation does not have a single causal factor. Different factors motivate different people, and same person will have different motivation in different situations.

Laergaard & Bindslev, (2006), p41 cite a 2005 study on motivational factors in industrial firm and commercial firm. The results for the industrial firm, showed the following employee motivation factors:

  1. Challenging work
  2. Open and honest communication
  3. Results oriented culture
  4. Recognition and credit for achievement
  5. Influence

The results for a commercial, sales driven firm were as follows:

  1. Pay and bonuses
  2. Challenging work
  3. Good working environment
  4. Recognition and credit for achievement
  5. Open and honest communication

The results confirmed that motivation differs with individual as well as situational factors. Reflecting on this, we confirm that different factors motivate different people. Managers therefore need to adopt employee motivation strategy that applies different motivation theories, concepts and models as necessary. A one size fit all approach will not work neither will an all weather approach.

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