Employee motivation plays a critical role in employee performance and productivity. There are many factors that can affect this motivation, both positively and negatively. The purpose of this paper is to explain in detail the underlined factors that affect motivation and to through research provide evidence that will support my belief in how more effective employees are if they have the right motivation to perform. Also showing how motivation can increase performance as well as overall productivity of employees. These things will be key in management and the way they motivate their employees.
Factors Affecting Employee Motivation—What Management Needs To Know Many companies don’t see the need to recognize the factors that affect the motivation of their employees. They look at the employees the same as just another tool in the tool box for completing the overall objective/product that their specific company creates. This paper will look specifically at what factors affect the employees’ motivation and how critical it can be for management to recognize these factors to ensure higher productivity, larger profits and a more loyal work force.
First we will gain an insight on exactly what motivation is by obtaining a clear definition. Next, by identifying what the factors are that affect motivation we will be able to determine what can be done to ensure motivated employees. Finally through research we will examine the correlation between motivation and productivity, increased profits, and a much more loyal workforce. Through this essay and the research that has been accomplished we’ll discover how important it is to understand as a manager how to motivate as well as what it is that hinders the motivation of people.
First you must have an understanding of what motivation is. Motivation is defined as the mental process that arouses an organism to action. In other words there must be something that gives you the drive to do the things that you do. For many people these drives can come from a multitude of different reasons and what drives each person is different. For some, it is as simple as being motivated for an incentive; others are motivated by inspiration or trust from their leadership, their strong belief in a product or organization or just from knowing where they stand within an organization.
The reasons presented here are not all inclusive and there could be many more factors that affect employee motivation but through research I have found that these seem to be the most popular influencing factors. From the time that we are young to the point we are in well-established careers we have always been given incentives to do things. As a child you were probably told that with the right behavior you will be able to have a treat or get a toy. This is an incentive program that your parents may have used to condition you to behave the way they wanted you to.
Whether you were given awards or treats, it taught you that if you behavior exhibits the desired result then you would get something you also desired. Now in adulthood and in your careers you are still given incentives to output the desired result. Your management uses the same concept to get their employees to perform to the way they want them to by using incentives. Sometimes for the right incentive we have even done things that we didn’t really want to do but there was something in it for us so we overcame our personal feelings or opinions and did it anyway.
Incentives come in many different forms. The most common is monetary incentive. It is said that money is what makes the world go around. For many people this holds true today. People do many things for money and this is also why organizations use monetary incentives to motivate their employees. Monetary incentives can come in a couple of different forms; pay increase and bonuses. Both of these incentives work very well to motivate because people can put into perspective how money will help them to get the things they desire.
The things that otherwise with their regular pay they would not be able to achieve. We as people are guilty of always dreaming of what it would be like if we had more money to be able to do all of the things we can’t afford to do. We look at money as an opportunity for an improved lifestyle. For the employer it is also something that is easy to do because it requires little effort on the part of the manager. Even though pay increases and bonuses would be great and for the easy for the organization to give to increase employee motivation is can have its downfalls.
If people are motivated for the opportunity to receive a bonus then this is all that they work for. The problem occurs when that organization is not in a position to be able to give the bonuses any more. Then you end up with a person that is even less motivated than what you probably started with. If money was the only factor motivating the employee and now you take that away now the employee has no reason to do the best possible work because there is not pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Most likely you now have a very disgruntle employee.
Pay increase and promotions can produce the same problems in the end. Pay increases at some point will have to end unless your employees will end up running the organization and taking the job of the management. It is good to promote and give pay increases with those promotions but like bonuses they will have to come to an end sometime. If you are using this for an incentive to do better work or to be motivated to do such work then this will only work until there is no longer a position to move up to and no more pay increases are available.
Money is something that can eventually run out but recognition can give employees an inside drive that will stay with them for a long time and won’t cost the organization a dime. The problem still is that even though employers have decreased the amount of financial incentives as motivators, many companies have also curtailed the use of non- financial motivator such as praise or recognition because it takes time and commitment from senior management (Dewhurst 2010). A lot of businesses use recognition to keep their people motivated to continue to do their jobs well.
Giving recognition is a very critical factor towards an employee’s motivation. It specifies the way that a company gives its employees reward and status for his/her work activities (Danish 2010). Even though recognition for peoples work does not put more money in their pockets it makes people feel like someone is actually noticing the things that they do, and for many that is all they need. Probably the most known corporation to use recognition as a form of incentive to increase motivation is the United States Military. Military members are recognized for all things that they do.
They are given anything from certificates to plaques or even medals as public praise in front of their peers for the tasks they accomplish. This type of incentive for organizations is a fairly easy thing to do. The cost is very minimal and this is something that you can always use as an incentive that will never reach a peak such as monetary incentives. Even though cost effective and easy, that doesn’t mean there are no flaws to this type of incentive either. Using recognition as an incentive to motivate people is a program that must be used in a fair and equitable way for all employees.
If a corporation recognizes its people for their accomplishments that is ok, but the one time that they fail to recognize an employee when they have equally had great accomplishments then that could make that person shut down. This could have catastrophic effects on one’s motivation. It may make an employee feel as if it doesn’t matter how much they do they can never seem to add up. They will begin to question their efforts and ultimately decide that it is not worth working so hard for. Some people need this pat on the back to make them feel like their efforts are appreciated.
When they feel they are needed they tend to be more motivated and feel as if they have a stake in the organization. This motivation can also increase productivity as well as morale giving the employee a strong confidence or belief in the company they work for. Believing in the organization you work for can give many, the drive to do an outstanding job. This sense of your company being number one and feeling that you have something to do with that can be motivation enough. It makes it that much easier to get up in the morning and go to work when you feel like you are going to work for the best company there is and you are happy to do so.
People that really believe in what they are doing and are excited about what they do are usually self-motivated but this will never work for all employees. Employees that have a sense of pride in what they do and the company they do it for will only enhance the employees’ motivation and performance (Byrne 2007). When trying to come up with ways to motivate your employees you will hope that all could be self-motivated be and require little help getting there but the reality is motivation comes from many sources and it is up to the management or employer to discover where.
Making this determination can come from simply doing employee evaluations. Employee evaluations give the employer and employees an opportunity to sit down and discuss what factors motivate them to do their jobs to the best of their ability. People need to know where they fit and if they are doing what is expected of them. Through evaluations it can give the employee a sense of knowing those expectations and set goals to reach. Some employees need to set milestones or goals. During evaluations supervisors can let the employee know where they stand in their performance and what they can improve on.
In a way it will be constructive criticism on their performance as well as assist the employee in setting new goals to reach both professionally and personally until the next evaluation. Continuing the evaluations at least annually will allow the employees to be rated against their peers and be given feedback on their accomplishments. This can be beneficial in a couple of ways. First, the employee will know what the expectations are and how they measure up and second, if the employee is not measuring up it allows for the supervisor to make corrective actions to get the employee back on track.
Most people like to know up front if they are doing the things that need to be done and if they are meeting the expectations of their leadership. Leadership can play an enormous role in motivation. No one likes to go to work for a dictator and they want to feel as if they are accepted as a member of the team. This is where good leadership plays a role in employee motivation. It is very common to walk into a work place and see the clicks that have been formed within. We see that all of the time, and if you are not part of the click you don’t get treated as an equal.
In my own experience I have stood by and watched people get rewarded and recognized for many of my same accomplishments, but mine would go unrecognized because it was up to the same supervisor to make the nominations for the recognition. Because there were people that the supervisor was friends with, I would end up taking a back seat to his closer friends. This lack of equal treatment hinders motivation and makes one think why bother to go above and beyond; it won’t make any difference. That will lead to someone becoming demotivated to do anything more than just showing up to do their job.
Leaders also have the ability to create motivated employees in many ways, one of which is to let the employees explore many different tasks within the workplace. Some employers would think that by having someone come in and do the same task every day would create a very proficient and productive employee. You would think this would be true but so many times this is exactly opposite of the truth. Employees that come to work and do the same exact job day after day get bored with their job.
They can become very good at what they do because it never changes but only to a point. Once they have done it for a while, the employee can become complacent which could be worse than a lack of motivation. Complacent workers tend to make more mistakes because they lack focus and attention to detail to the task at hand thus costing the company more money to correct mistakes of the bored worker. Most times within a section there are multiple task for completing whatever it is that that specific company or organization produces.
Leadership should take advantage of this opportunity and move their people around into different tasks so that way it will eliminate the boredom of the same old thing day in and day out. “Job rotation is a job design approach widely used by many companies at various hierarchical levels. By adopting the human structure of the company with technical processes, job rotation is the consequence of effort and determination. In Turkey it can be said that it is companies with a majority of foreign capital who have successfully applied this technique with the aim of improving workers performance.
To reach this goal the first condition is to ensure that job rotation practices generate the expected effect on an employee’s motivation. From this angle, decreasing monotony, preparing the employee for management, defining the most productive job/position and increasing the level of knowledge and skills are the functions by which the said motivational effect will be achieved” (Kaymaz 73). Job design has an enormous amount of impact on motivation which ultimately leads to an increase in overall employee production and performance level (Grant 2010).
Utilizing this option will also give them a more versatile and productive employee. If the employees are all familiar with all of the different aspects of the job then there will also be less operational down time when employees are absent. Leadership or management is in a great position to be able to create a motivated workforce but if not careful can cause disastrous lack of motivation. People need to be given the space to do their jobs and the trust to make decisions in regards to those jobs. The term “micro-manager” comes to mind.
Micro-management doesn’t give employees the authority to make decisions, leaving them unproductive, unhappy, and demotivated (Katcher). No one likes to work for someone that is constantly over their shoulder watching their every move. Employees need to be trusted to do their jobs otherwise it can make them feel as if they are just an extension of the boss, doing everything they tell them to do, step by step. If the employee feels that they have no responsibilities then they may become unmotivated. Employees need to be given the opportunity to give their inputs on how to accomplish the tasks.
It will make them feel as though they are important and they are needed as a member of the team. Empower your people and trust in them to make decisions and your employees will be motivated to do great work. They will also look at their leadership as being out for their best interest because of the mentorship it has provided them. In a study of the correlation of effective leadership and its effect on employee performance results showed that there is a relationship between the two. More effective leadership regardless of the style of leadership used yielded a higher performance output (Durrani 2011).
Mentoring the employees to one day be great leaders themselves rather than just manipulating their employees to accomplish the tasks they require to be done. Another failure of leadership is using lies or trickery to try to motivate their employees. Simply stated, it is easy to talk the talk but leadership must be able to walk the walk in order to build credibility (Sheridan 2011). While promising people things in hopes to motivate them and create the performance you are looking for, if you don’t follow through with what was agreed to then this will backfire and cause a lack of motivation.
This is seen a lot in the corporate world in regards to promotions. People are promised positions and all they have to do is whatever they are asked to do by their management. Then once they have completed their part then all too often that big promise of a promotion is no longer up for discussion. Too many times of being lied to will surely demotivate the employee and make the employee have little respect for the employer. The employer will also lose credibility from the employees that work for him or her. A corporation with a staff of unmotivated employees has disaster written all over it.
A motivated workforce can prove advantageous for the corporation or organization. The old saying, “take care of your people and they will take care of you” holds very true. By creating a motivated workforce a company can be more productive. Motivated employees want to do the job and they want to do it to the best of their ability. They are driven to do it and happy to be there. This alone will automatically increase production or if in a crunch they will easily step up to the plate without hesitation because they feel they have a stake in the success of their company. Motivation provides an environment where employee optimal performance is possible. Perhaps the most significant impact of increased employee motivation is that of increased productivity. ” (Nadeem, 206). The motivated employees want to see the business succeed and in turn by meeting this deadline increases their motivation and accepts the company’s successes their own. If they fail they will accept failure as their own as well. This creates a loyalty for the organization which produces more efficiently and creates larger profits.
When your employees are motivated to such quality work this creates an atmosphere of fewer costly mistakes which means that the organization will gain larger profits. The employees will also be working more efficiently because of their increased level of morale and be able to put out more product more quickly. “Eighty-five percent of managers believed that an employee’s level of motivation can have a significant effect on an employee’s performance. ” (Longenecker 10).
Through the research that has been accomplished I have concluded that there are many factors that do affect employee motivation and that this motivation is key to the productivity and effectiveness of an organization. First by understanding exactly what motivation is and what kinds of things can influence this motivation. This paper goes in to extensive detail about what these factors are such as incentives, whether they be monetary increases or bonuses, or recognition. Also it has be determined through research that leadership/management has a huge role to play in employee motivation.
Leadership has the ability to affect motivation by using job rotation techniques and also by putting in place a system of fair and equitable recognition for their employees. This paper has also proved true that, employee motivation has a large role in how productive and successful a business will be. If management will take the time to learn and understand how to use the techniques that I have discussed in this paper then they will increase the production and profits in their corporation. This not only benefits the company but the employees as well.
Motivated employees are happy employees and this drives morale. When morale is high within a corporation that is when you achieve the best results from employees. Companies that are unable to put into place these techniques or are unable to achieve a high level of motivation amongst their employees may fail to achieve higher levels of performance, production and overall success. Having motivated employees has proven to increase all of these aspects therefore it’s importance is monumental and management must incorporate and vary these techniques to stay on the leading edge.