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Motivation In The Workplace


Category: Social Issues

Autor: anton 08 March 2011

Words: 2930 | Pages: 12

Motivation in the Workplace

According to Stephen P. Robins and Timothy A. Judge (2009), motivation may be defined as "the processes that account for an individual's intensity, direction and persistence of effort toward attaining a goal". Hence, motivation is an important factor in every individual's life because no matter the source, motivation leads to positive lifestyle and it will increase employee's efficiency and effectiveness within the workplace. Moreover, it should be clearly understood that the task of every manger in the workplace should be mainly to motivate their internal customers who are the staff, as managers need to get things done through them in order to deliver high quality to external customers. However, although it seems like a very easy term which may be applied by just increasing employee's benefits, it has been clearly noted that not every employee is motivated by the same factors. Hence, in spite of enormous research, the concept of motivation is yet not well comprehended and is sadly practiced as managers fail or simple do not bother to understand the "human nature itself". An understanding of the human nature should be a prerequisite that should be followed by every manager. Researchers have shown that well motivated employees are more likely to be productive and creative. Hence, it contributes to the reduction of turnover in the workplace which may be defined as "the voluntary and involuntary permanent withdrawal from an organization" (Stephen P. Robins and Timothy A. Judge, 2009, pg 29). This paper examines what motivates employees in the workplace and studies how companies can best satisfy their employee's needs. In addition, it will also discuss the critical role that the motivation concept plays in the workplace and it will also provide some recommendations to increase incentives at the work place in order to create a motivated environment and will discuss the two types of incentives that may be used by managers.

Significance of motivation in the workplace

As previously discussed, motivation, plays an immense role within an organization. Motivation is important in order to be able to attain the organization's goals and to accomplish long and short term objectives (Sabah Karimi, 2010). Therefore, it is of highly significance that managers ensure that employee's values regarding the organization are appropriately aligned with the organization's mission and vision statements. This will help to create motivation as employees will be identified with the company's values. Hence, highly motivated employees will lead to higher productivity within departments or the company overall, improve work quality as employees would feel as someone care about them. I am personally driven by self –development and self-fulfilment which turns into better results in my work.

It has been clearly noted that a motivated workforce leads to a happier workforce. This turns into consistent provision of quality products or services, lower absenteeism which is "the failure to report to work" (Stephen P. Robins and Timothy A. Judge, 2009 ,pg 29), lower turnover as employees will feel motivated and attached to the company, hence, remain with company for longer periods, increases creativity and ultimately contributes in the creation of a more enjoyable work environment.

Moreover, "Motivation is important for business because it's the strong, driving force that can mean the difference between failure and success in business" (Kimberly Gail, 2010). Therefore, a poorly or not motivated employee will see no value in achieving the organization goals which will turn into poor productivity and sometimes lead to chaos. Therefore, understanding the immense significance that motivation plays in the work environment is vital in order to create a working environment in which all can excel and prosper.

Type of theories

The understanding of motivation has been studied in depth throughout the years. Many researchers had have researched many theories in order to understand "the human nature itself". Some of these theories have had a higher level of credibility and are easy to apply within the workplace and others on the other hand have simply failed. Some of the most noticeable researchers include; Abraham Maslow (hierarchy of needs), Douglas McGregor (Theory Y), Frederick Herzberg (two factor motivation hygiene) and David McClelland (achievement motivation).

Theory Z or hierarchy of needs

According to Stephen P.Robbins and Timothy A. Judge (2009), this theory refers to " a hierarchy of five needs; physiological needs, safety needs, social needs, self esteem needs and self actualization in which, as each need is substantially satisfied, the next need become dominant. The basis of hierarchy of needs theory is that human beings are motivated by unsatisfied needs and that in order for individuals to satisfy higher needs they need to satisfy some of the factors for lower needs. Therefore, it is important that managers are clear in which level of the Maslow's hierarchy is each one of their employees so they can understand and fulfil the active needs of their employees.

The safety needs which are the basic needs include living a safe area, medical insurance, job security and financial reserve. Once an individual has satisfied these needs he can move on to social needs. Social needs are related to interactions with other and it includes friendship, belonging to a group an d giving and receiving love. After a person feels like they belong they can move on to esteem needs. This includes recognition, attention, social status, accomplishment and self respect. When all these levels have been satisfied, individuals can move on to the highest level of Maslow's hierarchy; self actualization, which deals about reaching one's full potential.


When applying Maslow's Theories within the workplace it is important that managers understand that everyone has different needs and that every member may be on different levels of the hierarchy of needs. However, this theory posses very serious implications to enhance workplace motivation. These may be accomplished through compensation plans, role definition and company activities.

• Physiological needs : this include in the provision of lunch breaks , provide medical insurance for workers and their family members, pay salaries that allows workers to satisfy their essential needs and so forth.

• Safety needs: This may be attained by providing a working environment which is safe, in addition, provide job security and provide medical insurance for workers and their family members.

• Social Needs: managers should generate an environment of acceptance and belongingness. Managers may also reinforce team groups to attain social needs.

• Esteem needs: Recognize achievements by recognizing employees of the month, assign important jobs to employees to make them feel important and valued.

• Self actualization: offer challenging works and assignments which enable innovation and creativity.

McCelland's Theory of Needs

This is a theory "which states that achievement, power, and affiliation are three important needs that helps explain motivation" (Stephen Robins & Timothy A. Judge, 2009, pg181). These needs were divided into three segments , such as, need for achievement, need for power and need for affiliation.

• Need for achievement: under this needs it falls people who wants to excel and those who constantly strive for success. Individuals with need for achievement would not want to perform low risk activities as are not sufficiently challenge and would not want to perform high risk activities either as they don't see it as "one own effort". High achievers should be given challenging duties with achievable goals. However, it is important to provide feedback to high achievers as money is not an important motivator to them.

• Need for power: this refers to reinforce other subordinates or co-workers to behave in manner in which they would have not behaved otherwise. Individuals with need for power want to constantly direct others. Therefore, managers should motivate individuals with need for power by grating them the opportunity to manage others.

• Need for affiliation: those with a high need for affiliation have a high desire of interpersonal relationships. These types of employees are perfect for customer service position and client interaction.

Advantages of Motivations

Motivation as previously discussed is the art of continuously encouraging people to work through extrinsic and intrinsic factors in order to attain a common goal. Without motivation employees would not valued and hence productivity will be affected. Therefore, we will now discuss some of the great advantages that implications of motivation can bring to the workplace environment.

Firstly, a positive motivation philosophy within a company it will help to provide job satisfaction, this may be defined as "a positive feeling about a job, resulting from an evaluation of its characteristics" (Stephen Robins & Timothy A. Judge, 2009, pg79). Hence, a satisfied employee will be more likely to be more productive and better performance within the organization. "A review of 300 studies suggested that the correlation is pretty strong" (Stephen Robins & Timothy A. Judge, 2009, pg 88). In addition, job satisfaction decreases the statistics of individuals to miss work. Hence, costs to cover for absenteeism in order to meet productivity would decrease as employee would feel motivated to perform their task on a daily basis.

Secondly, immense changes can occur to an organization's culture through motivating employees. Motivation has the potential to create a potential perspective which will turn into greater productive, a more friendly and collaborated team within an organization and moreover, quality oriented employees. This would help in motivating employees to put more effort into it due to the personal s result of the value they would feel about the company.

In addition, motivation has the potential to create a positive environment, better along among co-workers, decrease turnover and absenteeism. Motivation has the power to promote harmony within the work environment. promote work place harmony. Motivation is the key that drives work force into success and creates staff retention as it decreases turnover and increases company loyalty. All these advantages discussed are immensely important in today's competitive market and would certainly have a significant impact on increase profit gaining and growth development. Therefore, approaches to promote motivation should be carefully studied and develop to ensure that this goals are met.

How to increase employees' motivation

Motivation in a workplace may be achieved through numerous of factors. However, as previous discussed, it is important that managers identify the level of need that each employee is in order to drive motivation towards success. This can be achieved through a process called Employee Appraisal. CBS Business Network site defines a performance appraisal as "a face-to-face discussion in which one employee's work is discussed, reviewed, and appraised by another, using an agreed and understood framework.". This would help to determine what motivates each employee and to find out if there is anything that can be done to make them feel more valued.

After collecting this information through the employee appraisal, managers would need to identify which approach better fits the organization. This is either financial or not financial incentives to motivate employees. This well depends on employees preferences and motivating factors and the budget that the company is willing to make available for bonuses or to increase salaries.

Financial incentives

This method of increasing motivation through financial incentives is mostly common in organizations where companies depend on level of productivity produced per day or per hours. For those employee involved in this sort of organizations a Variable – Pay program. This approach is defines as a "a pay plan that bases a portion of an employee's pay on some individual and/or organizational measure of performance".( Stephen Robins & Timothy A. Judge, 2009, pg 228). This would help to resolve when employees feel why they should extra effort when at the end of the day they are given same salary. Therefore, it has as incentive to want to produce more in order to gain more financial rewards. In addition, it may be also be given instead of increase in wages fringe befits can be introduced. This is employee's benefits which would be given to add value to their salaries such as health benefits, company cars, etc which sometimes may be more valued by employees rather than increase in salaries. Another financial incentive that may be given is a shared of business profits for a certain period of time. This will motivate team spirit and employees will work harder to attain company's goals.

Non Financial Incentives

Money sometimes is not an effective method to increase motivation. This may work for short term periods but after a while employees may want other motivators factors to make them feel appreciated and valuable within the organization. Some of the non financial motivators that may be used in order to increase an employee's job satisfaction may be Job Enlargement, Job rotation, job enrichment, job redesign and modifying for schedules through methods such as flex time.

Job Enlargement is defined as "increasing the number and variety of task that an individual performs" (Stephen Robins & Timothy A. Judge, 2009, pg219). This may allow them to complete an entire task instead of just part of it. Hence, increasing responsibilities. This would eliminate the boredom that can be caused by job receptiveness and therefore, motivating employees. In addition, job rotation may be also introduced. This refers to " the vertical expansion of jobs, which increases the degree to which a worker controls the planning, execution, and evaluation of the work"( Stephen Robins & Timothy A. Judge, 2009 pg 219) for example a assistant cook chef in a restaurant may be given the opportunity to order food items instead of only cooking. Therefore, as job enlargement it would help to increase an employee's level of responsibility.

Moreover, job satisfaction may be also attained through job rotation. This refers to "the periodic shifting of an employee from one task to another" (Stephen Robins & Timothy A. Judge, 2009, pg210). For example you would rotate an employee to the marketing department for one week, then to the accounts department and then back to their official department. This would decrease boredom and would also contribute in the achievement of gain of new skills. In addition, it allows them to understand the importance of their jobs to other departments within the organization.

However, employees may be also motivated through redesigning their schedules and by allowing them more flexibility within. This includes telecommunicating and virtual offices, job sharing which allows employees to split hours of work. Employees may be also motivated by treating them with respect and fairly, giving them immediate feedback and by treating ultimately as one important customer.


Motivation is a critical factor that every organization should put into practise . Despite there is not simply answer to how to motivate employee, managers should create a department within the organization that focuses primarily in understanding their employees' human behaviour. Every individual is different and therefore, has different needs. Some may be motivated by greater salaries and others don't find money is enough to go the extra mile.. However, throughout this research, it has been strongly noted that well motivated employees are the key to success for increasing earnings, business productivity. Moreover, a well motivated employee is the right path to lead organizations towards excellence in this competitive market that all businesses in the world are currently facing. If motivation is absent or poor in a workplace it will clearly result in poor quality products and services and therefore, businesses need to adopt motivation strategies that fits their organization's culture. As discussed, there are many theories that can be put into place to better understand human motivation. However, this should carefully chosen as some approaches may not be successful in some companies.

As the manager Shiv Khera said in her article on Motivation Philosophy and the Work Environment, motivation is a "drive that encourages action or feeling. It is a force that can literally change your life' (Khera, 2004). For some organizations, motivation in the workplace has turn into a good approach to increase levels of productivity and loyalty to an organization. It has been clearly noted through numerous of research that a well motivated employee will put more effort on their performance; hence, it contributes to the increase of a workforce's ability to perform better. In addition, poor morale in the workplace would also lead to greater rates of absenteeism and turnover. Thus, low cost or no cost measures should be put into practise to fight such problems.

Employees should be motivated by providing them rewards, improving their working conditions, employee recognition and among others. However, individuals rewards as discussed may bring some negative implications as it creates unnecessary completion and it also lower cooperation between employees because employees will only do what needs to be done to get such reward in some instances. Small thoughtful changes of the organization's human resource design can help to improve employees' performance by simply redesigning jobs through statuaries such as job rotation, job enlargement and job enrichment so employees can identify more with the company and understand the importance of tasks performed by the co-workers. Every manager should understand that motivation is a key concept that is essential for a healthy workplace environment and that managers manage but leaders inspire their subordinates.


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