By definition, employee motivation is a factor, or factors, that cause(s) an employee to pursue work tasks or goals.
Motivated employees are essential to the success of an organization.
To put it simply, employee motivation is a critical aspect at the workplace which leads to the performance of the department, and the company. Hence, motivating your employees needs to be a regular routine.
There are companies that sadly fail to understand the importance of employee motivation. Research shows that many companies have disengaged employees with low motivation; only 13% of employees are engaged at work. [Source: Gallup]
In short, an employee’s motivation is a direct result of the sum of interactions with his or her manager.
The word “motivation”, in psychology is the intention of achieving a goal, leading to goal-directed behavior.
In this view the general conclusion is that leadership is motivation and motivation is leadership, and that the two elements are inseparable. However, interestingly, no one has actually conceptualized motivation in a useful way to demonstrate and analyze the connection between it and leadership.
While motivation clearly comes under personality and emotion, leadership comes under cognitive psychology. But basically, belief is the solution to the problem.
Employee Motivation At Work
Optimism is that which leads to achievement.
Nothing can be done without hope and confidence and this is where emotional aspect comes in.
Now by finding something positive in every situation, ninety-five percent of the emotions are determined by how one interpret events to oneself.
No one else ‘makes us angry.’ We make ourselves angry when we surrender control of our emotions and attitude.
What someone else may have done is irrelevant as we are the one to choose and not them. What they do is merely put our attitude to a test.
This is where the cognitive psychology comes in.
The mind, if properly controlled, can do just about anything. You can think your way through adversity, you can think your way through problems. It is a powerful instrument which very few use to a maximum. And if the mind thinks with a believing attitude it can do amazing things. As a result of this the confidence improves and it is widely believed that confidence is contagious.
Now on the other hand, it is not so easy to acquire and then maintain this productive attitude.
It takes considerable experience, work, and time to find where your head needs to be in order to control such a situation, and to bring them into the lives of those you affect around you and this is what leadership is all about.
When you continuously communicate and act upon the organization’s mission, values, and goals, naturally your employees will be motivated to live the mission and maintain a high standard of behavior and productivity. This communication must start at the top and be communicated and acted upon at every level at every opportunity.
One of your organization’s top employee motivation values should be – Respect.
When you allow an employee to disrespect other team members through words or actions, you are not only destroying your organizations values but it could also lead to organizational and team turmoil, not to mention productivity issues.
For instance, extending common courtesies such as a “Good morning” or a nod as you pass workers in the hallway says to them that they are not invisible to you and has an immense effect in reward terms.
The second employee motivation value should be – Recognition.
One of the two powerful words important in employee motivation are the words – Great Job.
By recognizing the work of others, you motivate them to keep working. You’ll find that regularly giving verbal or written praise for a job well done goes a long way in making employees feel appreciated. If workers feel that they play an important part in the company by the work they provide, they are much more likely to seek ways to improve their performance.
The third employee motivation value should be – Reward.
While cash incentives are a sure way to put a smile on an employee’s face, there are other creative ways to motivate employees through such similar thoughtful gestures. For example, a Dinner at a local restaurant once-a-month or a birthday party would have great impact on their mode of functioning.
When working with top organizations, the more the organizational values are communicated and reinforced, more success the organization will achieve. This creates a motivated work environment and rewards employees based on the mission.
Another factor to remember is to be careful how you use your words.
Well, words do hurt.
The best advertising copywriters, political experts, speech writers, and screen writers are paid hundreds of thousands to create emotions with words, so that the end user is persuaded to act in a certain way. It is important to realize that once we say something that is hurtful can alienate our fellow employees and we may never be able to take it back.
We should all be careful with the words we use. It should be positive or motivating towards your fellow employees and thereby showing respect toward my team members with the words you use.
Also always encourage positive, motivating behavior and recognize good behavior whenever you can. Recognize the person(s) exhibiting positive behavior in team meetings and send him/ her personal memo/ letter from the CEO, etc. As a result of which, most of the employees will start emulating such a behavior. So always set an example by displaying your best motivating, respectful, and positive behavior.
On the other hand, also be prepared to take corrective action when you have employees who display inappropriate behavior. Make sure that you, as a Manager, document all discussions relating to such unacceptable behavior. Confer with HRD to receive expert advice on the next steps in the corrective action procedure. Then start implementing the corrective action and follow-up to ensure there is a positive change in their behavior.
Be timely in your follow-ups so that there is no lapse in time between the next situation of unacceptable behavior and the next level of corrective action. Try to immediately motivate and reinforce positive behavior changes.
Remember, if you show you are quick to take action for unacceptable behavior, this sends a message to your team members that you respect them as individuals and more so as team players. This would make them far more motivated because of your actions.
Apply these basic fundamentals and you will create a motivated workplace that achieves team and organizational goals.
As a closing line….. It is of great importance for you to realize that all your repetitive thoughts create ideas, which in turn create actions and which over time creates character. And if you allow too many negative, improper, incorrect thoughts to dominate you, the chances are you will never succeed…
Now something on the lighter side for the day…
Reaching the end of a job interview, the Human Resources Manager asked a young engineer who was fresh out of engineering, “What starting salary were you thinking about?”
The Engineer said, “In the neighborhood of $125,000 a year, depending on the benefits package.”
The interviewer said, “Well, what would you say to a package of 5 weeks vacation, 14 paid holidays, full medical and dental, company matching retirement fund to 50% of salary, and a company car leased every 2 years – say, a red Jaguar?”
The Engineer sat up straight and said, “Wow! Are you kidding?”
The interviewer replied, “Yeah, but you started it.”