Motivating employees to work better

A team which is well motivated by its leader or manager is far more effective at work and wholeheartedly engages in projects and all the tasks related to them. Motivation to work is the key to a company’s success, however, the problematic thing is that ev

A team which is well motivated by its leader or manager is far more effective at work and wholeheartedly engages in projects and all the tasks related to them. Motivation to work is the key to a company’s success, however, the problematic thing is that every employee might have different needs, hence, every individual needs a different kind of encouragement to complete more than just his or her standard duties.

An employer who wishes to obtain better work results, sign an important contract, or to gain the favor of shareholders, has to do whatever it takes not to lose his efficient employee who does his work diligently. Moreover, an employer has to find the means to encourage his subordinates to work. Most entrepreneurs claim that the only way to achieve this goal is by money related means, e.g., a bonus, a reward, or a permanent increase in salary. However, there are many other factors that stimulate employees to work more effectively. It is worth to learn other ways of encouragement because it is often the case that an employer does not have at a given moment enough financial resources to increase the level of motivation of his employees.

What stands behind the term motivation?

Before we begin describing the various methods of motivating others, we have to answer a very basic question, namely – what is motivation all about? There is much talk about this term, especially, in the field of enterprises or any other kind of business that involves employing people. However, not many businessmen are able to provide a precise definition of this term, therefore, we will refer to the definition while discussing the various ways of motivating employees to work better. To put it simply, motivating is nothing more than exerting influence upon employees so that they work more effectively. The higher the motivation to work is, the more engaged in the task the employee becomes. In consequence, the whole company has a bigger chance of achieving a spectacular success. Motivating is a process in which a leader, a manager, or an enterprise owner encourages his subordinates to work more effectively. Motivation can also be directed at taking up specialized training programs and general employee development – the broadening of their knowledge and skills.

Now that we defined the term motivation we can proceed to creating motivation programs. The most important thing is to recognize the needs of employees so that we can most accurately motivate them on professional grounds.

The identification of the needs of employees

The manager who is responsible for the creation of a motivation system has to recognize the needs of employees in order to make adequate adjustments to the system so that it meets their requirements. How to learn the needs of subordinates? We can simply ask what they expect, what their dreams are, what would evoke pleasant emotions, and what would encourage them to work more effectively. Apart from that, we can carry out simple surveys that will question employees about their opinions regarding their work and their expectations of the motivation system. Such surveys should be carried out anonymously; there is no need for names. It is enough if employees describe what they think about motivation with reference to their work. The analysis of surveys combined with conversations with employees will create a credible image of the needs of our subordinates and will serve as a basis for the creation of a motivation system.

The aim of motivation

It seems that the aim of motivation is to encourage an employee to engage in his work with full commitment. However, the truth is that the scope of this term is far greater. The goal of motivation is to make an employee feel that the aims of the whole organization are his own because he is a part of the team. Motivating should make him feel that he works in order to achieve something great. If we make use of effective motivation techniques, there is a significant chance that an employee will work more intensively, with absolute commitment, and even overtime. If an employee is willing to spend his free time on his work (in reasonable amounts of course), it means that the motivation system has fulfilled its role successfully.

Sometimes, motivation proves to be much more important than an employee’s skills or knowledge. If there is the perspective to fulfill his own needs during work, an employee will do whatever it takes to meet the expectations of his employer. The willingness to work is more important than a high level of intelligence. After all, high IQ is of no use if there is no will to work.

Types of motivation systems

Generally speaking, motivation and its systems can be divided into two types: internal motivation and external motivation. Another type of division of the term is into positive motivation and negative motivation. We cannot say with certainty which kind of motivation is best. It all depends on the needs of employees, their character qualities, and the policy of a given company. Therefore, we might conclude that, in reference to motivation, everything depends on conditions surrounding a given workplace.

Negative motivation

This type of motivation is effective only for a short period of time. It is based on a system of penalties, hence, it uses fear as its tool. Negative motivation does not cost much and can be swiftly applied. This is why many entrepreneurs make us of this type of motivation. Its main purpose is to evoke the feeling of danger and fear among employees. This fear might be related, e.g., to the perspective of losing employment. Fear makes employees work more energetically. However, this increase in effectiveness lasts only for a short period of time after which an employee becomes indifferent to fear and does not even try to exceed the necessary minimum when it comes to his professional duties. If negative motivation is applied for an extended period of time, it can lead to low self-esteem among employees. We can also say that negative motivation is nothing more than forcing people to work hard, however, the quality of such work is very poor. Somewhere along the way the enthusiasm and commitment of an employee towards his duties disappears.

Internal motivation

This is perhaps the most valuable type of motivation. It is based on the idea that an employee wants to work better and with bigger commitment out of his or her own initiative. This is an ideal kind of employee because he achieves good results and draws pleasure from work. It is hard to evoke internal motivation among workers, and many theoreticians claim that it is impossible to achieve this goal. However, an employer has the opportunity to create such working conditions at a given workplace that would support the development of this particular type of motivation.

How to increase the level of internal motivation?

Here are a few ideas:

Promoting the model of cooperation among employees – an employer rewards behavior that results in good communication and cooperation among all staff member – workers, managers, and directors. Partnership among employees results in more effective work. Cooperation builds mutual trust between workers and, in consequence, makes them feel comfortable with each other. The better the atmosphere, the higher the internal motivation to better fulfill professional duties.

Giving employees more independence – this should be a gradual process. Here, we aim at extending the competences of employees; we allow them to make more decisions. In consequence, they take an increased level of responsibility for their tasks. An increased level of independence is a motivation to action and to achieve better results. The sole opportunity to give our best is motivating; this type of encouragement can be used by an employer. In such a situation, his subordinate gains the opportunity to show others what his capabilities are and what skills he possesses. Thanks to such an approach, an employer can evoke the feeling of self-fulfillment among his subordinates. However, it has to be emphasized that it is the employee himself who should show the will to take up certain tasks. He cannot be forced in any way because, in most cases, overburdening with responsibility results in a contrary effect to motivation.

Creating an atmosphere of mutual trust – if an employer trusts his employees and notices their commitment and eagerness to develop their company, he motivates them to work even more effectively. Trust can also be expressed by giving them a large degree of freedom when it comes to the way in which they are to complete their assignments. What is interesting, such behavior on the part of an employer makes his subordinates more loyal towards his company.

External motivation

Elements of external motivation can be divided into three parts: salary related, non-salary related, and non-money related. The tools of external motivation should be diverse, and they should be applied in relation to the needs of both – the employees and the company.

When it comes to external motivation, we may talk about financial and nonfinancial motivation. The first type is typically associated with money related motivating, however, it also covers other materialistic types of motivation. An employee can receive various benefits which will not be directly related to his salary. Every company should find an interesting financial factor that would motivate its employees to work more effectively.

Nonfinancial motivation is based on rewarding employees not by an increase in salary or by giving additional financial awards, but by making them aware that they are important to their company. In this approach, we make employees sure that their job is solid and they will not lose it. Furthermore, we also work on creating a pleasant atmosphere in our office. Though not money-related, this type of motivation is also an effective means of encouragement.

As we can see, there are many ways in which we can motivate employees. Which of these methods proves to be the most effective one and results in higher employee commitment and effectiveness depends on the company itself and its members. We just have to remember that a reward which is given to all employeesis not motivating. Motivation has to lead to singling out and rewarding employees who show significant commitment to the company’s development.