Motivation theory is the study of understanding what prompts a person to work towards a particular goal or result. It is relevant to the whole of society, but it is particularly important to business and management.
This is because a motivated employee is more productive and a more productive employee is more profitable. In fact, research has shown that happy and motivated employees can increase productivity by around 12%.
So how do you motivate employees and make them happier in the workplace?
Motivation Theories: The Basics
There are numerous branches of motivation theory, but in its simplest form, it boils down to two factors:
Here people are motivated by external factors such as a bonus for hard work or a penalty if the goals are not met.
Here people are motivated by the desire to satisfy human needs. These can include a desire to please your boss or to achieve certain professional or personal goals.
Most people are motivated by a combination of extrinsic and intrinsic motivators. As a manager, you need to understand what this combination is.
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Employee motivation theories: Ways to increase productivity
Since we are all different, there is no way to motivate individual workers.
There are evaluation tools that help you understand what motivates a particular employee. But even better is a manager who spends time getting to know his staff. This means they understand different personalities and can discover their behaviors.
What tools do employers have to improve motivation?
Getting a bonus or raise can be all the incentive some need to work harder. But the reward can take many different forms and could be something as simple as an incentive or paid vacation, gift certificates or rewards for achieving goals, travel benefits, or health benefits.
Employees want to know that you care about their best interests, while employers want to know they can trust employees to do their jobs well. Building a culture around trust creates a positive atmosphere that motivates your staff and fosters productivity.
It’s simple, but recognizing an employee’s hard work can have a huge impact. It can also inspire them to achieve more. Recognition can take many forms, from an informal “thank you” or compliment to an award for the most ostentatious employee of the month or year.
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What is motivation theory? Here a study found that the main reason employees leave their jobs is career development. It makes sense: employees want to use their skills. They also want to acquire new skills. If your company doesn’t offer a clear career development path, it may leave.
And if they don’t leave, they will be far from productive. Fight this problem by talking to your employees about their career expectations and building professional development in your company.
More and more employees want more from their jobs than a salary. The purpose of the organization is a great motivator for many workers, especially younger employees. Engaging your staff with your business purpose can help increase engagement with your business and improve motivation.
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Pros and Cons Of Motivational Theories
The biggest difficulty in using motivation theories to get the most out of your staff is that there is no one-size-fits-all approach.
The financial reward may be important for some employees, but for others, it is a small part of the puzzle. They may be more motivated by the work itself.
Likewise, incentives can be powerful. But beware, if these incentives attract only a few employees, there is no impetus for other staff members to increase their productivity.
Positive incentives, such as a bonus, or negative ones, such as fear of being fired, can affect people in different ways. Some employees will be inspired and continue to achieve results, while others will be consumed with anxiety, which can have a detrimental effect on their productivity.
Ultimately, it’s part of a manager’s job to understand what motivates each employee. It’s not a quick and easy task, but the long-term gains from happy employees and increased productivity outweigh the time and effort to understand these motivations.