Employees are a huge element of success within every organization. They form the basis upon which an entity sets its goals and an implementation strategy towards achieving them (Bruce, 2012). Organizational leaders often use the employees at their disposal to get things done. In order to achieve this feat, managers ought to ensure that the employees have the right levels of motivation. The element of employee motivation requires effective management of the available resources and strategic leadership (Banks, 2010). In order to achieve the right kind of motivation within every organization, it is important to have managers who understand the fact that the nature of human beings can be very simple and complex depending on the way one is handled.
The level of motivation among employees is highly dependent on the organizational environment and the expected level of productivity. According to management experts, a highly motivated workforce is characterized by high cohesion, great teamwork, as well as clearly defined duties and responsibilities (Muller, 2011). Effective communication is a very important element of employee motivation because it ensures that all workers understand their mandate and are in a position to integrate their personal goals with those of their employer. Strategies for ensuring employees are motivated should aim at improving productivity, creating a smooth running process, the integration of organizational resources, and encouraging employee commitment (Muller, 2011). Studies have established that it is very important for organizational leaders to ensure that their employees have the will and capacity to recommit themselves towards achieving various objectives at any time of asking.
The concept of employee motivation generally entails the values that drive the workforce to put a certain level of effort towards activities in the workplace (Shields, 2007). The methods used by an employer to motivate the employees often determine their attitude towards their job, willingness to give maximum output, and satisfaction levels. Management experts argue that it is very important for organizational leaders to ensure that employees develop a desire for consistency in their performances (Banks, 2010). Therefore, it is necessary for the leaders to be creative enough and come up with reliable strategies for keeping their employees motivated all the time. Although many managers attest to the fact that maintaining high levels of motivation within the workforce all the time is a huge task, studies have established that the secret to achieving the feat lies in building a culture of diversity (Shields, 2007). Motivation is only used as an ingredient for improving performance.
This means that at first, the employees ought to have the ability and willingness to perform before receiving incentives to help them improve their output. In most cases, employees tend to do the things they are hired to attend to or driven to achieve (Banks, 2010). Therefore, the employer should understand the importance of giving the employees enough drive in order for them to adequately, achieve the objectives they have for them. The level of motivation within the workforce is directly proportional to the degree of productivity, job satisfaction, and competitive advantage in the market (Muller, 2011). A highly motivated workforce often pushes an organization and its brand to a very high level, thus making it more dominant over its competitors. In addition, the ability of an organization to keep their employees happy and motivated also helps it in attracting the most qualified individuals into its workforce (Bruce, 2012).
A number of theories have been developed over the years to explain the concept of motivation. The theorists sought to understand and expound on the elements involved in achieving the right kind of motivation within various settings as characterized by numerous particulars. There are four major theories used in explaining employee motivation, namely the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, Herzberg’s two-factor theory, Vroom’s expectancy theory, and Locke’s goal theory. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory was developed by Abraham Maslow, who identified motivation as an element triggered by one’s needs (Bruce, 2012). The needs are classified into different categories, whereby one cannot seek to meet the needs on a higher level without satisfying those in the preceding levels. The primary level comprises the psychological human needs (Silva, 2009).
In the workplace, if an employer manages to pay their employees the minimum wage, then this level of needs is often adequately met. The secondary level involves security, whereby an employee needs to have the assurance that they can afford to live their lifestyle of choice (Bruce, 2012). Employers meet these kinds of needs by offering employees with job security, as well as a working environment safe from occupational hazards and unhealthy conditions. The tertiary level of needs involves the desire to have an identity and social affiliation. Everyone desires to have friends, socialize, feel loved, and be around people they can identify with in terms of goals, desires, and experiences (Banks, 2010). Employers can meet the needs on this level by creating an inclusive workplace environment and employee participation programs. In addition, the employer can introduce a reward system for various tasks, whereby the employees select a winner amongst themselves.
The fourth level entails the need for one to feel confident and assured about themselves, as well as their own abilities (Bruce, 2012). Employers should create job specifications, duties, and responsibilities that match the ambitions of their employees. They should provide them with an avenue to make their life purposeful. The last level entails the need for self-actualization, whereby employees want to work with organizations that will help them grow and fulfill their real potential (Bruce, 2012). The employer can help the workforce to meet these needs by ensuring that they provide all the resources necessary in fulfilling their respective duties.
Herzberg’s two-factor theory was developed by Frederick Herzberg, who identified motivation as an element depends on the satisfactions and dissatisfactions that someone gets out of their daily activities within the workplace (Silva, 2009). Satisfactions are often intrinsic values, while dissatisfactions are extrinsic values. According to the theorists, the employer has a huge responsibility of ensuring that the employees are in a position where they can achieve something, have responsibilities, and be recognized. Satisfaction is often brought about the rewards that one gets for achieving something in the workplace, while dissatisfaction is brought about by the elements that compromise the ability of employees to meet their goals (Silva, 2009). Management experts argue that employers should be strategic when designing company policies on crucial issues such as remuneration, team leadership, as well as occupational health and safety. Great investment should be done on achieving satisfaction because they have a huge impact on the level of performance and job satisfaction (Silva, 2009).
The Vroom’s expectancy theory was developed by Victor Vroom, who identified motivation as an element that is influenced by the goals and their expected outcomes (Silva, 2009). According to the theorist, people tend to be highly motivated when they know the things they want to do and the possible result. It is important to note that someone can have either positive or negative expectations. However, when someone has positive expectations about something, their level of motivation during work is often heightened (Bruce, 2012). Employees need to work with achievable goals because the expectation that they will have a positive ending provides the necessary extra motivation.
Locke’s goal theory was developed by Edwin Locke, who identified motivation as an element that come about when someone works on specific and difficult goals. According to the theorist, specialty helps in increasing the degree of output, while difficulty draws greater effort from an employee (Silva, 2009). He further argues that employers ought to keep their employees motivated by involving them in setting the goals because they will have an easier time accepting and working on them. This argument has been supported by management experts who argue that even in situations where the set goals are difficult, employees still are motivated to achieve them as long as they match up the effort required. Therefore, it is important to ensure that the employees contribute towards setting the goals because it will increase the success rate in terms of their attainability (Silva, 2009).
Techniques for Motivating Employees
Research has established that the difference between success and prolonged success within organizations is the ability of the employer to keep the employees motivated all the time (Lauby, 2015). As earlier noted, achieving this feat is a huge challenge that requires strategic leadership and an inclusive workplace environment that allows employees to participate in setting various goals. Organizational leaders can use a number of techniques to motivate their employees towards increasing their output in the workplace. One of the most effective techniques is developing a reward system (Lauby, 2015). Rewards are a common motivation technique that management experts consider to have the greatest potential. They influence two categories of motivation, namely extrinsic and intrinsic. Intrinsic entail the inner motivations that someone gets from being recognized for a good job (Silva, 2009). On the other hand, extrinsic entails motivations that someone gets from receiving a reward from someone else. This can include money, bonuses, a trophy, or even a promotion. However, studies have established that rewards can lead to conflicting and inconsistent results if they are not handled carefully (Latham, 2012). For example, it is very different to reward someone every time they achieve something and rewarding them based on their ability to improve on previous results.
Management experts argue that some reward systems that have a positive impact on the intrinsic motivation, yet at the same time have a negative effect on the extrinsic motivation (Lauby, 2015). This normally happens when rewards are given for increased performance instead of a particular achievement. Research has also established that employers should be careful when developing a reward system in order to avoid any of the two motivations being undermined. It is important to ensure that the chosen reward has the ability to bring about the two motivations (Messmer, 2011). In addition, it is important to understand the difference between rewarding a team and an individual. Management experts tend to advice on rewarding an individual more than a team because it brings about higher satisfaction and motivation (Latham, 2012). The challenge with rewarding a team is the fact that some individuals tend to give more input than others do, yet they all are rewarded equally. This can easily lead to inconsistencies in terms of performance and willingness to set attainable goals.
Another technique for motivation is employee participation. According to research, employees tend to feel more appreciated and valuable whenever they are involved in crucial organizational processes. This in turn leads to a positive impact on their motivation because the desire to prove their worth and thank the employer to appreciating their input increases (Messmer, 2011). One of the best ways of increasing employee participation is creating quality control programs. This entails engaging the employees in coming up with programs that can help improve the quality of products, reduce the cost of production, and better the service delivery systems (Messmer, 2011). Engaging employees in such programs keeps their motivation high because it places them in an influential position. Such opportunities allow them to influence proceedings within the workplace, thus making them more resourceful. Such programs also improve the kind nature of relationships between the employees and members of the management team.
Studies have established that employees tend to be more committed and motivated to work if they develop a close relationship with their leaders (Messmer, 2011). This mainly happens following the numerous interactions between the two groups. Employee participation can also be enhanced through open book management. This strategy entails sharing certain crucial information such as the financial performance of the company with employees. Studies have established that this strategy plays a crucial role in empowering employees because they feel valued, and at the same time translate the decision as a show of trust from their employer (Messmer, 2011). This leads to increased motivation and productivity. According to management experts, open book management applies in four major steps. First, the employer shares the information they wish to with the employees. Secondly, the employer takes the employees through the information to enable them read and interpret it appropriately. Thirdly, the employees get the right empowerment and resources to enable them use the information at hand to identify the necessary changes and make decisions on their implementation (Messmer, 2011). Finally, the employer appreciates the efforts of the employees by sharing the profits, inform of bonuses, cash rewards, and any other incentive.
Another effective technique of employee motivation is developing programs for balancing work and life (Bruce, 2012). It is important for employers to understand the importance of having an energized workforce as a requisite for prolonged success. In order to achieve this feat, the employer ought to develop effective programs that will ensure the employees strike a good balance between their work and personal time (Shields, 2007). In situations where employees are required to work overtime, the employer should provide good compensation in order to eliminate the possibility of conflicts developing within the workplace. Studies have shown that employers can develop programs within the workplace geared towards helping the employees have a quality life, regardless of the amount of time they spend at work (Bruce, 2012).
A good example is a wellness program, where employees are provided with an exercise facility within the workplace or close to the workstation. This will allow the employees to have their exercise sessions without the worry of being late for work (Thomas, 2009). The wellness program can also involve the services of a resident counselor and a lifestyle coach. Another program that can be applied by employers is flextime, where employees are allowed to either work from home some days or agree on the minimum number of hours that one can work in a specified period (Thomas, 2009). The employer can also come up with family support programs, whereby employees with young children can be given certain days off to take care of their babies (Messmer, 2011). In addition, the program can provide directions that employees can apply if they need time to attend family events. All these incentives play a crucial role in motivating the employees to put more effort in the work and increase the level of productivity.
One of the studies conducted to establish the impact of such programs on the motivation of employees established that male workers are more motivated when they are able to identify with their jobs, while female employees love to identify themselves more with social titles such as a mother, a wife, or sister (Silva, 2009). From the study, it was clear that women enjoy working for employers with flexible hours that allow them enough time to fulfill their other roles, while men a more motivated in organizations that allow them to express their personalities (Thomas, 2009).
A Job design is also another technique that employers can effectively use to motivate employees. This entails the ability and willingness of the employer to design jobs in a manner that the employees will feel challenged and at the same remains interested in achieving the target (White, 2012). According to management experts, employers can apply the concept of job design in four major ways. First, they can engage the element of simplification, which entails allowing employees to specialize in certain areas that they can give their maximum input. Secondly, they can apply the element of enlargement, which entails the employer bringing various tasks together in order to give the employees a wider working variety in terms of tasks to complete (White, 2012). Thirdly, the employers can apply rotation, which entails allowing the employees to handle a variety of tasks within the workplace over certain specific periods. Lastly, employers can apply the concept of job enrichment, which entails giving jobs that have enticing factors that make it easy for one to give their maximum input with every task (Lauby, 2015).
Employees are a major asset to every organization, thus ought to be taken good care of by their employer. One of the main needs that employers should meet adequately in order to get the most out their employees is motivation. This is the main ingredient for prolonged success and competitive advantage within every organization (White, 2012). Although the concept of employee motivation has been widely researched, management experts argue that it is still open to more ingenuity in terms of the techniques that organizations can use to keep their employees happy and interested in their work. Employers can apply a number of techniques in order to keep their employees motivated all the time. In order to apply the techniques effectively, every organization should have strategic leaders who understand the fickle nature of human needs and interests (Bruce, 2012). In addition, the organizational leaders can refer to various motivational theories that offer different perspectives on motivation and the way it can be achieved. It is important to note that the value of a happy, motivated, and satisfied employee cannot be overlooked in a highly dynamic business environment where everyone is striving to get to the top (Messmer, 2011).
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