In the following paper I will identify what employee motivation is, why it is important, who it is important to, and how it affects the workforce as a whole. I will also touch on the subjects of whose job it is to motivate, the benefits of motivation and what actually motivates employees. Through out my research I have discovered many different theories and opinions as of to what “effective motivation” is, and how it is to be applied in the work setting.
This is the result of my findings. The job of a manager in the workplace is to get things done through employees. To do this the manager should be able to motivate employees. But that’s easier said than done! In spite of enormous research, basic as well as applied, the subject of motivation is not clearly understood and more often than not poorly practiced. To understand motivation one must understand human nature itself. And there lies the problem! Human nature can be very simple, yet very complex too.
An understanding and appreciation of this is a prerequisite to effective employee motivation in the workplace and therefore effective management and leadership. There is an old saying you can take a horse to the water but you cannot force it to drink; it will drink only if it’s thirsty – so is with people. They will do what they want to do or otherwise motivated to do. Whether it is to excel on the workshop floor or in the ‘ivory tower’ they must be motivated or driven to it, either by themselves or through external stimulus.
Are they born with the self-motivation or drive?
Yes and no. If no, they can be motivated, for motivation is a skill which can and must be learnt. This is essential for any business to survive and succeed. Allow me to ask a very simple question: Are you really happy with your job? Or is it just a way to pay the bills? If so, you are not alone. In fact, half of all employees only put enough effort into their jobs, to keep their jobs. 70% of employees are less motivated today than they used to be, and another 80% could perform significantly better if they wanted to. What does all this mean you ask?
It means people are unhappy at work, and many overlook the importance of a fulfilling work life. Not only is it important for employees to be content, their happiness is important to their employers as well. Disgruntled employees perform considerably poorly compared to content ones. Motivated employees work more efficiently, producing better products or services in less time. Whereas unmotivated employees waste time and generally take longer to accomplish the tasks assigned. When employees are motivated, they invest time, effort and brain power into producing the best products or services possible.
They take pride in their work, meaning they will give a company a better name out in the market simply by producing a superior product. Unmotivated employees, on the other hand, will put in the bare minimum effort resulting in poor customer service and low quality products. Improved productivity and higher quality services and products equal monetary gains for an organization, possibly freeing funds to be used as benefits for employees or company improvements. If employees are motivated, a company will be able to retain more of them.
Every time they hire a new employee, they have to invest time getting that person up to speed on the job requirements, integrating that person into the workforce and figuring out exactly how that new person can contribute. Existing employees have a wealth of knowledge about the company and how projects work. They are also already accustomed to working with the other employees at the facility. By retaining employees, an organization can save money and time. Employees that are motivated are happy; smiling is contagious, which leads to a better work environment.
Companies these days are offering interesting, sometimes even outrageous benefits to keep their staff motivated. Some offer great health plans, a 401k-retirement plan, or extra vacation time. Others have company parties, picnics and other rally-boosting events. Some companies take their staff out to movie premieres; some engage in go-carting to create a fun atmosphere. Sure, it’s nice to have a company parking spot, your cellular phone bills paid, and free lunch Fridays, but these types of benefits are better at attracting and retaining employees. A free lunch will not magically create a healthy work environment.
However, these morale boosters can be steps on the road to motivated employees. The question employers are trying to figure out is, if benefits keep employees happy, then what makes them productive? The problem is that employers lose focus of the difference between high morale and motivation. I am not saying to get rid of the benefits, but get rid of other behaviors that hold employees back. These behaviors vary from company to company, but we all know what they are. Office politics, unclear expectations and being criticized instead of receiving constructive feedback are all things we hate and that hinder our progress.
Things like appreciation and taking pride in your work, as well as social interaction and fun in your work, are all contributors to motivation. Personally, I would rather work in an environment where there are no politics, employers are honest with their employees and have nothing to hide, and are committed to the overall productivity of the firm. Here is a list of items that are considered to be detrimental to employee motivation: * Create an atmosphere full of company politics. * Develop unclear expectations regarding your employees’ performance.
Create a lot of unnecessary rules for employees to follow. * Plan unproductive meetings for employees to attend. * Withhold information critical for employees to perform their work. * Provide criticism instead of constructive feedback. * Tolerate poor performance so your high performing employees feel taken advantage of. * Treat employees unfairly. * Underutilize the capability of your employees. While some of those are worse than others, they will vary across companies and individuals. Any company that actually makes an effort to rid themselves of these annoyances is on the right track.
It just goes to show that it does not take a lot of money to tap into an employee’s natural ability. Here are some active measures companies can take to motivate: * If your employees do routine work, add some fun and variety to their routine. * Provide employees with input and choice in how they do their work. * Encourage responsibility and leadership opportunities within your company. * Promote social interaction and teamwork between employees. * Tolerate learning errors by avoiding harsh criticism. * Promote job ownership. *
Develop goals and challenges for all employees. Provide lots of encouragement. * Make appreciation part of your repertoire. * Develop measurement that shows performance increase. With the rapidly changing competitive environment, key employees are becoming younger and with a variety of skills and accomplishments. This means that if they are unhappy with their work environment, they are more than willing to move on. For employers, the speed of business is such that employees that join their company learn so much and become so valuable that employers need to do whatever it takes to keep them content.