The Benefits of Motivation

Motivation is rather obscure isn’t it? Some days you feel it, and other days you can’t seem to get motivated at all. Well you are not alone.  If you are not feeling particularly motivated some days, you can be sure your employees are not always motivated either!

Why is workplace motivation a good thing? Motivation is a powerful energy that drives and excites employees, which results in their maximum contribution. Setting and achieving goals, clear expectations, recognition, feedback, as well as encouraging management all contribute to an increase in motivation. It flourishes in a positive work environment, which is why so many leaders want to learn new ways to motivate their workforce.  

Here are thoughts about employee motivation, what people want from work, and how you can help employees attain what they need for their work motivation.

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Some people work for their love of the work; others work for personal and professional fulfilment. Other people like to accomplish goals and feel as if they are contributing to something larger than themselves, something important, an overarching vision for what they can create. Some people have personal missions they accomplish through meaningful work.

Others truly love what they do or the clients they serve. Some like the camaraderie and interaction with customers and co-workers. Other people like to fill their time with activity. Some workers like change, challenge, and diverse problems to solve. As you can see, employee motivation is individual and diverse.

The bottom line is that almost everyone works for money. Whatever you call it: compensation, salary, bonuses, benefits or remuneration, money pays the bills. Money provides housing, gives children clothing and food, sends teens to college, and allows leisure activities, and eventually, retirement. Unless you are independently wealthy, you need to work to collect a pay cheque.

Motivation – why it is beneficial

Surveys and studies dating back to the early 1980s demonstrate that people want more from work than money. An early study of thousands of workers and managers by the American Psychological Association clearly demonstrated this.

Managers predicted that the most important motivational aspect of work for people they employed would be money. Instead, it turned out that personal time and attention from the manager or supervisor was cited by workers as the most rewarding and motivational for them at work.

In a “Workforce” article, “The Ten Ironies of Motivation,” reward and recognition guru, Bob Nelson, says, “More than anything else, employees want to be valued for a job well done by those they hold in high esteem.” He adds that people want to be treated as if they are adult human beings who think, makes decisions, tries to do the right thing, and don’t need a caretaker watching over their shoulders.

While what people want from work is situational, depending on the person, his needs and the rewards that are meaningful to him, giving people what they want from work is really quite straightforward. The basics are:

Control of their work inspires motivation: including such components as the ability to have an impact on decisions; setting clear and measurable goals; clear responsibility for a complete, or at least defined, task; job enrichment; tasks performed in the work itself; and recognition for achievement.

To belong to the in-crowd creates motivation: including items such as receiving timely information and communication; understanding management’s formulas for decision making; team and meeting participation opportunities; and visual documentation and posting of work progress and accomplishments.

The opportunity for growth and development is motivational: and includes education and training; career paths; team participation; succession planning; cross-training; and field trips to successful workplaces.

Leadership is key in motivation. People want clear expectations that provide a picture of the outcomes desired with goal setting and feedback and an appropriate structure or framework.

What You Can Do for Motivation and Positive Morale

You have much information about what people want from work. Key to creating a work environment that fosters motivation are the wants and needs of the individual employees. The most significant recommendation for your takeaway is that you need to start asking your employees what they want from work and whether they are getting it.

With this information in hand, you’ll be surprised at how many simple and inexpensive opportunities you have to create a motivational, desirable work environment. Pay attention to what is important to the people you employ for high motivation and positive morale. When you foster these for people, you’ll achieve awesome business success.  Celebrate wins…thank your employees for a job well done.