Employee Motivation Essay Example

Every business is expected to yield profit. However, raising profits can only be possible if the managers and workers perform their duties with their best efforts towards achieving a common goal. A workplace where the employers and employees are dedicated to their work and meet their deadlines without being supervised can score better proceeds. In the competitive business world, each organization yearns to succeed and improve the quality of its services and raise performance levels. Employee motivation is what makes an employee willing to improve personal performance and effectiveness, resulting in the provision of the high-quality outcome at the workplace (Berrin & Bauler 182). It is divided into intrinsic motivation (internal factors), such as a feeling of enjoyment brought by the work, and extrinsic motivation (external factors), such as rewards. This paper will research on employee motivation types, factors affecting it, its importance, and techniques applied in motivating employees.

Types of Employee Motivation

Intrinsic motivation is a feeling that comes from within a person. It is self-driven and comes from the inner feeling of an individual rather than being imposed by someone or being triggered by a particular reward (Kovach 59). When a worker feels motivated by the work, it is referred to as intrinsic motivation. It is the job itself that motivates a person, especially when it is enjoyable and includes an understanding of the reasonable goals. One can be intrinsically motivated by the work environment. For example, if the environment is favorable, an employee is more likely to feel at peace with the work thus driving him/her to work even more. On the contrary, if the environment is unfriendly, the employee is more likely to be discouraged to work. In fact, he/she will not like the idea of going to work. Intrinsic motivation may be generated through job satisfaction. Most employees feel gratified with their job when they are permitted to have control and liberation and to contribute to innovations on their job. Intrinsic inspiration can also be prompted by an environment that emboldens the exploration and learning. Intrinsic motivational factors can be accomplished by job design that encompasses job simplification, job rotation, job enlargement, and job enrichment.

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Extrinsic motivation is a type of motivation that is affected by the external factors to self-motivate an employee (Kovach 62). These factors usually drive an employee to reach a particular goal either willingly or unwillingly. They originate from the management, and the employees can either react to them positively or negatively. Thus, employers should use external motivators that generate a positive response from the workers. The examples of these factors are punishments and rewards system. When a punishment is set for not achieving a particular target, employees tend to do their best to hit the target. Likewise, when a reward is given to those workers who meet an objective, they will be motivated to work harder to reach the target and get the award. However, in some cases, a punishment produces a negative result; for example, some employees may cheat in their results when they are given a precise target to achieve, making the organization calculate its performance rate on false information. This information will include data that supports the improvement but no financial proceeds to support it.

Employee motivation is important because it facilitates the sustainability of the business organization by enhancing its improvement. Without motivation, whether intrinsic or extrinsic, it will be challenging for a business to succeed and prosper in the future. Thus, a key to the development of any company is motivation. People cannot be forced to work well but rather be motivated to perform better than before.

Employee Motivation Techniques

The following are techniques used to create and increase motivation of employees: fashioning a positive work environment, celebrating achievements made by employees, offering job security, providing incentives, training, surveys on employees, and promotions to best performers, and, lastly, sharing profits with the workers. A positive work environment motivates the employees because they feel free, comfortable and welcomed at the workplace. Promoting teamwork and sharing of ideas between employers and employees result in enhanced job performance (Berrin & Bauler 223). Bonding is necessary at the workplace because employees will learn to work together to achieve a common goal and promote healthy competition among workers. A manager should be a good mediator when a conflict arises at the workplace and eradicate conflicts as soon as they arise. As much as teamwork creates a positive work environment, employees should be reminded to work independently to perform their assigned task.

Recognizing and celebrating achievements made by the workers motivate them to perform better than before (Berrin & Bauler 228). Naturally, people like to be recognized for their achievements; the same regards a workplace setting. Awarding workers with the certificates of accomplishment, vacation days, and employee of the month or year titles, giving trophies and gift vouchers are ways of recognizing and celebrating the efforts of the employees. When an employee is honored and known for an excellent work done, he/she will be motivated to do their best. However, if his/her achievements are not recognized, they will be discouraged because their efforts have not been celebrated. There is no need to make a success if you are not going to be known for it.

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Setting goals to be achieved by the end of a specified time gives an employee a reason to strive to attain a particular target (Berrin & Bauler 237). Professional goals encourage competition between workers thus motivating them to reach a particular objective. However, the goals should be reasonable that is an employee can achieve that. When goals are not set, it is difficult for employees to know what is expected of them; thus, they will feel relaxed at their job. On the contrary, when a goal is set, they are made aware of what is expected of them. Setting specific goals and time limits will motivate the employees.

Incentives boost employee motivation because when an incentive is put in place, it lures the employees to work harder and smarter (Berrin & Bauler 255). Those include cash prizes, gift cards, parking spot and office space. Employees are more likely to be motivated if their efforts are rewarded.

Conducting surveys to get feedbacks on how employees feel about the management if they face any problems will provide possible solutions to the problems. This technique can determine if there is a barrier in the workplace and allows the managers to solve the problem. If there are no barriers in the workplace, employees will be motivated to work because there is a peaceful co-existence (Berrin & Bauler 228). A survey can be facilitated with questionnaires. These questionnaires should be filled by employees anonymously for the protection of their identification and making them feel free to share their feelings and ideas.

A promotion granted on performance motivates employees to perform better. When an employee sees a reward or promotion for good job performance, they will be motivated to work their best. When one worker sees his/her co-worker being promoted because of performing well in his/her duties, he/she will be motivated to do the same to get a promotion (Berrin & Bauler 250). Promotions come with a monetary increase in the salary, bigger office and better rank in the office. Acquiring a status through the promotion motivates the promoted employee to work at his/her best not wanting junior workers to think that their senior employee cannot handle the assigned new tasks. It also encourages other employees to copy the behavior of the promoted employee to achieve the same success.

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The managers should motivate their employees by encouraging them to get more knowledge by sending them to seminars and workshops. This technique enables the employees to acquire new knowledge that helps them advance in their job. Training is very important because it ensures that employees are knowledgeable about new technology or any new way of performing a job. New work is made easier after undergoing a well-constructed training; the training also works as a refresher course for the profession (Berrin & Bauler 262).

Providing job security also motivates the workers to work better. A worker who is at a company that offers job security is calmer, relaxed and has trust in the business, unlike an employee who is working in an organization with no job security. An employee has faith in an organization where job security has been offered hence will do what is expected of him/her by the employers (Kovach 64). Unlike an employee who has no job security, whose managers may dismiss him/her any time they wish too, he/she will always be anxious and tensed because of being unsure at which point the employment will be terminated whether he/she works at his best or not.

Sharing of the company’s profits is also another way of motivating the employees (Berrin & Bauler 259). When the profits of a corporation are reflected in the employee’s salary, it will make him/her want to get more profit for the company to earn more. The more profits they make, the more money they get. That is salary plus profits made by the company. Financial gains mostly motivate employees. When they release an input, they expect an output to them by the management.

Theories of Employee Motivation

These theories support the techniques of motivating the employees and are divided into process and content theories. Motivation content theories concentrate on the exact thing that motivates an employee (for example, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, McClelland’s Achievement Motivation, Herzberg’s Two Factor Theory, and Alderfer’s Modified Need Hierarchy) while process theories look at how behavior is instigated and sustained; they include Vroom Expectancy Theory and Adam’s Equity Theory.

Herzberg’s Theory is also referred to as Hygiene Theory. It is a two-factor approach that states that two different factors influence satisfaction and dissatisfaction (Herzberg, Mausner, & Snyderman 288). Herzberg ’names the factors that influence dissatisfaction as dissatisfiers (maintenance and hygiene factors) while factors that influence satisfaction are called satisfiers or motivators. Dissatisfiers include working conditions, policies, job security, and status while satisfiers include recognition of achievements, responsibilities, and growth. Dissatisfiers do not have the same impact on job satisfaction but rather influence job dissatisfaction. These factors will not motivate an employee, but their absence in a workplace will influence job dissatisfaction (Berrin & Bauler 188). To motivate workers effectively, the management should work on providing good hygiene factors that ensure the staff’s job satisfaction thus motivation.

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Maslow’s Hierarchy Theory of Needs arranges the interdependent needs of a human being from the basic need to the highest level of requirements (Berrin & Bauler 184). The author concludes that once a person has satisfied the lower level of need, the next level of requirements motivates him/her to work harder to attain it. The most fundamental needs are physiological, for example, shelter, food, air, and clothing (Maslow 372). They are the key needs to sustain life, and when they are not met, it affects a person physically. Once a person can sustain his/her life, he/she can be motivated to achieve the next step; but if he /she cannot afford these basic needs, it will be difficult to move to the next level. Employees should be able to afford these necessary basic needs with their salaries to be motivated to get to the next level. Safety needs are the next level, where employees feel a sense of having security, feeling peaceful and orderly at the workplace (Maslow 380). Social needs comprise of friendship, a sense of belonging to a certain group, love and acceptance in a certain environment. Employees usually want to fit in a particular group at a workplace or feel accepted and loved by the others. To satisfy these needs, they tend to work harder to reach a target that will allow them to be identified and accepted by others. A person will strive to reach that rank. Esteem needs generate motivations only when the lower needs are satisfied. They include self-esteem, freedom, and self-confidence. When an employee satisfies these needs, he/she feels capable, in power and worthy to be in that place. However, if the needs are not met, an employee will lack esteem and will feel inferior to the others. What is more, he/she might not be able to tend even to the duties. The highest need is self-actualization that includes creativeness, self-realization, and self-fulfillment (Berrin & Bauler 185). When an employee realizes his/her potential, he/she feels the satisfaction of oneself. This process serves as a continuous motivational fact because when an individual completes one need another need arises.

Alderfer’s Modified Hierarchy of Needs is a modified Maslow’s Hierarchy Theory (Berrin & Bauler 187). Alderfer agrees with Maslow that human needs can be arranged in levels but instead of categorizing them in five, he reduces them to three levels of existence, growth and relatedness. According to Alderfer, two levels can be achieved at the same time. It is not necessary to move from one stage to another (Berrin & Bauler 187). A person can attain the highest level of need without fulfilling the lower needs. Thus, in these two propositions, he is not in agreement with Maslow’s theory. When an employee satisfies growth needs, he/she will have the desire to meet relatedness needs. The fewer existence needs are met, the more desire a person will feel to fulfill them.

In McGregor X-Y Theory, X stands for autocratic management while Y is participative management. X theory assumes that external motivation is achieved through punishment or threat while Y theory believes that an employee is internally motivated with a good environment. X Theory assumes that people dislike work and, therefore, have to be pressured to contribute to a company’s goals. Y implies that although punishment can motivate a worker to work, it is not the only way because employees are self-motivated. Employees can get motivation from within themselves because of good environmental factors surrounding them at a workplace.

According to McClelland’s Need-Based Motivation Theory, human beings have three needs: achievement, power, and affiliation (Berrin & Bauler 190). In his research, McClelland found out that businessmen have a desire for achievement motivation. According to him, motivation achievement can be taught through training by teaching an employee to act in terms of achieving a motive (Berrin & Bauler 190).

Locke’s Goal Theory illustrates how setting specific goals to induce high performance and setting more challenging goal increase performance efforts. Through employees’ participation in making goals, they will set higher goals and be motivated to achieve even more to gain superior performance. Workers will set reasonable and attainable goals since they are the ones expected to reach the objective unlike when employers set unreasonable goals. In this theory, for a goal to be achieved, there has to be an effort to achieve it. When the goals set are unreasonable, there will be no motivation to attain them. Thus, it is important to involve the staff in setting the goals.

Skinner’s motivation through positive reinforcement suggests that stimuli trigger behavior. Thus, in a business set up, any factor that results in behavior change is a motivational change (Berrin & Bauler 205). The change can either be positive or negative. Skinner advises managers to use positive reinforcers such as promotion and salary increment to promote motivation in the workplace. Managers should also solve problems in the workplace to create a peaceful environment that will motivate employees. The staff can only be motivated if there is a positive reinforcer.

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Vroom’s Model Theory asserts that effort leads to performance and performance leads to either positive or negative rewards. Positive rewards motivate employees while negative rewards do not motivate them. Employees’ work effort is based on what they are expecting to gain at the end of it thus the expectancy theory (Berrin & Bauler 203). Ensuring the staff expects a pay rise and promotion will motivate them to work harder on achieving the set goals. When there are no reward expectations, a minimum effort will be put since there is no potential gain at the end of it. No one wants to work for free unless it is charity. Work is believed to have some payment after its completion; thus, an extra work of achieving a goal should have an extra bonus to the salary. If the management considers bonuses, its staff is more likely to be motivated.

Adam’s Equity Theory illustrates how employees seek fair treatment at the workplace in cases of rewards and the rate of their efforts (Berrin & Bauler 195). Employees base their judgments on comparing themselves with people around them or with persons of the same profession. They will feel undermined if they realize that they are contributing more than the other employees and are not being rewarded the same way. The level of motivation is based on the percentage of fairness that has been found out by the employees. When employees believe they are treated equally, they will be motivated; but when they believe there is unfairness; they will be discouraged. Unfairness can cause the staff to be hostile, disruptive and silent.

This paper has critically explained the concept of employee motivation and the various advocated theories used to motivate employees towards helping the organization to accomplish its goals. Theories of employee motivation suggest that there are many variables influencing how employees perceive their work and are motivated to achieve a high level of performance. Concepts of fairness, hierarchy, motivational effects and external motivational factors all give tools to help to analyze motivational influences and come up with strategies to increase levels of motivation at a workplace. Although most theories seem to conflict, they do shed light on those areas of motivation. Motivation is a vital area in the study of organizations and management, and it cannot be ignored even with the presence of many unanswered questions and conflicting theories.

Employees are the most important resource in an organization and, for this reason, they should be treated well and should always be motivated. Well-motivated employees are always ready to work hard towards achieving the set goals of the organization. Employees individually and collectively contribute to the attainment of the set goals for sustainable competitive advantage. It can be achieved through various ways including providing safe working conditions for employees, rewarding the employees well according to the work they do, and providing training programs to sharpen the employees’ skills.