Motivation is one of the main driving forces for the employees to fulfill their tasks in the workplace properly and to stay satisfied with their job in general. Many employers do not realize that a poorly motivated employee is not really interested in the overall company’s success, his/her goals do not match with those of the company. Unfortunately, not all managers understand how important motivation is as well as not all managers know some good ways to motivate people.
Several good motivation techniques are discussed in this paper, particularly: praise and criticism, making the work interesting, and developing new skills. Besides, theoretical concepts that the abovementioned motivation techniques are based on are also covered in the paper. These concepts are Abraham Maslow’s theory that shows a classical depiction of human motivation and Herzberg’s “motivator hygiene theory” that explains what jobs result in employees’ satisfaction and dissatisfaction.
Motivational Methods Paper
Motivating employees to give their best has always been a daunting task for managers and company executives. Indeed, most managers have a remote understanding of what constitutes human motivation (Stephen & Judge, 2007). Historically, the first major understanding of employee motivation was achieved in the 1950s and 60s following extensive research conducted by Fredrick Herzberg (Weightman, 2008). He discovered that the things that kept people satisfied with the job were very different from those that made them dissatisfied (Weightman, 2008). A lot more has been established in the past four decades, however, employee motivation remains as challenging as ever.
In order to motivate employees and increase their work output, it is important to identify approaches that will align their goals to the goals of the business. Studies indicate that most employees spend less than half of their time doing activities that are genuinely productive for the organization, and in most cases, the employer is usually responsible (Goldthorpe, Lockwood, Bechhofer, & Platt, 1998).
This paper discusses appropriate motivational techniques that can be used by a manager who is seeking to effect change through increased employee performance.
Three Motivational Methods To Be Used
Several motivational approaches have been formulated to achieve increased employee work output. This section describes three methods that can be used to increase employee motivation.
Praise and Criticism
As a manager, one should be able to let their employees know when they are doing well, and when they are doing badly. Feedback should be based on clear objectives. The objectives can constitute the achievement of increased performance; facilitate the achievement of different learning objectives and build employees’ self-esteem. It is important to note that any feedback that will not contribute to the achievement of the above objectives is counterproductive (Weightman, 2008).
Therefore a manager needs to ensure the following strategies are adopted. Quick response to the successes and failures of employees should be the norm. The specific reason should be provided on why a reward has been given or improvement has been requested in a certain area. Real feelings should be shown to employees and time allocated for proper employee praising. As a manager, I will strive to avoid getting personal with employees, and I will frame criticisms constructively to help realize
Previous researches indicate that bonus schemes can play a vital role in the fine-tuning of employees’ motivation levels. In order for the bonuses to encourage individual effort, they must be linked to clearly stated objectives. At any given time, each employee should not have more two immediate targets (Weightman, 2008).
Bonuses that are associated with company profits and other achievements can stimulate teamwork development, as long as each individual clearly sees how he/she contributed. Team goals that are required to stimulate effective teamwork involve sales, margins, costs, and employee punctuality.
The setting of bonus targets should be conducted on a monthly basis so as to achieve effective and immediate monitoring of results. As a manager, one is required to identify key areas to be prioritized in the monthly targets. This should constitute tasks that would otherwise be neglected (Goldthorpe, Lockwood, Bechhofer, & Platt, 1998).
Making the Work Interesting
According to several sources, the best way to motivate employees is to make sure that they enjoy what they are doing. In trying to make an employee’s work interesting, it is important that a manager identifies ambitious employees who are contented with their work. Employees who have the capacity to learn new skills are given the first priority when using this method.
Any chance is utilized to make employees increase job satisfaction levels. This can be accomplished by increasing the variety of tasks that are undertaken by employees. This will also make certain tasks to be more interesting. Swapping employees and encouraging them to help each other can increase the team spirit.
Studies indicate that talented employees can be lost if they are not fully utilized, are bored or frustrated. A manager needs to be actively engaged with his employees and this includes asking them to choose tasks that are more rewarding.
Building New Skills
It is in one’s best interest as a manager to help new employees in the progression from the beginner’s level to the higher levels where they are required to take full responsibility. Employees who do not know where to start badly require instructions to develop confidence. This also applies to new employees who have been asked to take up new responsibilities (Stephen & Judge, 2007).
After employees have grasped the basic concepts of a given task, coaching should be conducted to help employees build the necessary skills. Advanced skills should be taught as soon as employees are ready to receive them.
As employees continue to master the skills required by a given task, the role of the manager slowly changes support provision rather than information provision. Continued encouragements will ensure employees develop optimum confidence levels. When employees attain full competence, the trust placed on the results into higher levels of motivation.
Theoretical concepts behind the motivational methods
The motivational methods outlined above are based on theoretical works done by two behavioral scientists (Maslow and Herzberg). Abraham Maslow’s theory shows a classical depiction of human motivation (Goldthorpe, Lockwood, Bechhofer, & Platt, 1998). The theory assumes that every individual has five needs that must be fulfilled for optimum satisfaction. The needs include physiological needs, safety needs, social needs, esteem needs, and self-actualization (Weightman, 2008).
According to Maslow, unsatisfied needs to motivate people to take the necessary measures to satisfy them. The praise and criticism method outlined above utilizes the need to satisfy an employee’s self-esteem. Maslow’s theory stipulates that employees who are rewarded for their performance will post exceeding high performance.
The need to develop employees’ skills is captured in the self-actualization section of the theory. This concept encourages managers to conduct activities that will help to develop the skills and competencies of employees.
Herzberg’s theory “proposed a motivator hygiene theory”(Stephen & Judge, 2007). According to Herzberg, there are jobs that result in satisfaction while others result in dissatisfaction. The theory proposes that employees should be provided with good favorable working conditions that include healthy relationships with other employees and superiors, job security, appropriate pay, and other benefits. The second method (making work interesting) outlined above is based on this theory (Goldthorpe, Lockwood, Bechhofer, & Platt, 1998).
This paper sought to identify three methods that can be used to increase motivation levels of employees, followed by the identification and explanation of the underlying theoretical concepts. The paper has established three (praise and criticism, developing new skills, and making the work interesting) methods that can be used to motivate employees, and explained the theoretical basis.
Goldthorpe, H., Lockwood, H., Bechhofer, D., & Platt, J. (1998). The affluent worker: attitudes and behavior. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Stephen, R., & Judge, T. (2007). Essentials of Organizational Behavior. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall.
Weightman, J. (2008). The Employee Motivation Audit. Cambridge: Cambridge Strategy Publications.