Employee Motivation Theories in the Workplace

Subject: Employee Management
Pages: 2
Words: 545
Reading time:
2 min

Employee motivation has been studied extensively due to the need to discover the processes to be put in place to yield the highest performance and dedication from workers. However, people are different and have a varied understanding of what motivates them to do better professionally, which prompted the emergence of other theories of motivation. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, McClelland’s Three Needs Theory, and Herzberg’s Motivation Theory is the most widely applied in the context of employee motivation. From a personal perspective, discussing what motivates a person and what is not can show individual attitudes toward motivation in the workplace.

My personal experience has shown that job recognition, opportunities for promotion, and the feeling of achievement is the key motivators of success. Working at a local coffee shop as a regular waiter, I got treated by my manager very well and was always presented with a ‘full picture of my position in the company and how I could progress when being successful. The overall environment was very welcoming; my manager always recognized my accomplishments, which instilled personal and personal achievement. The motivators in the job align with Herzberg’s Motivation Theory, which suggests that workers have two areas of motivation, such as hygiene and motivators, which characterize a favorable work environment and managers’ efforts to recognize the achievement of their employees (Ozsoy, 2019). In the coffee job shop, I felt accepted and always supported by the management, which made me want to be a valuable worker and advance professionally.

In my first job at a fast-food restaurant, I never felt motivated to do well. There was a very high level of favoritism on the part of the manager, who only recognized the accomplishments of long-term workers who were their friends. Only those employees got promotions and bonuses even though they did not do much of the work but felt entitled to ‘boss’ other workers. The overall environment was unpleasant and stressful, which caused low levels of motivation and high levels of dissatisfaction.

Based on experience, the ‘perfect’ theory of job motivation and satisfaction should be twofold. On the one hand, workers are motivated to do better when the overall environment is conducive to collaboration, support, and good relationships between team members and with the management, which aligns with McClelland’s need for affiliation area of motivation. On the other hand, employees are satisfied and motivated when there are financial and career-building opportunities offered to them, as aligned with Maslow’s self-actualization component of work motivation. In my opinion, Herzberg’s approach is the most comprehensive when it comes to explaining why workers get motivated to do better in the workplace because it combines both environmental and workplace relations motivators. However, it is essential to include the need for affiliation as a necessary indicator because when a person feels connected to their team, they are more likely to perform well with others and look for positive social interactions. Overall, there is no ‘perfect’ theory of motivation that can apply to all individuals, although it is evident that there are several categories of factors that keep workers engaged in bringing value to their organizations. Therefore, when there is a lack of promotion opportunities, even though the general environment at a company is favorable, there are doubts about whether workers remain motivated long-term.


Ozsoy, E. (2019). An empirical test of Herzberger’s two-factor motivation theory. Marketing and Management of Innovations, 1, 11-20. Web.