Motivation in Workplace: Why is it Important?

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Currently, almost all organizations recognize that employees are perhaps the most important asset. In regard to this, they endeavor to provide a motivating workplace in order to remain successful in the present-day extremely competitive business environment. Organizations regardless of their size are striving to motivate their employees through various monetary and non-monetary incentives to retain the best.

Organizations have recognized the contributions and influence of their staff in their effectiveness and productivity. Highly motivated people are more productive since they identify well with the goals and objectives of the organization. They are more creative, innovative, do high quality work and perform optimally. On the other hand, people who are not motivated to carry out their roles and attain their personal as well as organizational goals make it hard for the company to compete effectively. Such people have a high probability of quitting their jobs, performing low quality job and even avoiding the workplace.

Therefore, motivation in workplace is an essential aspect for managers and corporate leaders. They are increasingly looking for ways to motivate their employees by first understanding their needs since they vary from one person to the other. Different people are motivated by different things and acknowledging that is the only way to make them happier. Motivation is the force affecting the intensity, persistence and direction of voluntary behavior. It is a key factor influencing individual performance and behavior. Research shows that motivated employees are willing to exert a particular level of effort (intensity) for a certain amount of time (persistence) toward a particular goal (direction).

Why motivation is challenging
Research has shown that motivation in the workplace is not an easy task. In fact, 92 percent of employers deem it a challenging task. It is based on various reasons. To start with, the current wave of globalization; speedy growth in information technology as well as corporate restructuring have radically changed employment relationship. Such alterations have reduced the levels of commitment among organizations towards motivating employees.

Secondly, in their move to cut costs, many corporations have currently compressed their organizational structure. It means employing a few supervisors who are tasked with monitoring the performance of many employees. While reducing costs is a great strategy, supervisors are however burdened making it difficult for them to perform their job optimally. It is hard for them to effectively monitor all their followers especially the slackers who must be watched closely. It is however worth noting that, closely monitoring employees is a command-and-control approach that may not work well with the current breed of educated workforce. Organizations should therefore implement modern strategies that fulfill the needs of all of their members to make everybody delight in the feeling of motivation.

Thirdly, the generation- X and Y employees have altered workplace expectations by bringing new ones on the table. Although these employees were previously deemed as laggards, the truth is most organizations have not implemented effective strategies of motivate them. Compared to their older colleagues aged 35 and above, a large percentage of the younger staff aged between 25 and 34 feel demotivated. It means that motivation varies from one age group to another and employers must find motivation factors for each to build successful organizations. It is so especially in the current time where the new generation is replacing the older generation, and increasing their motivation potential could create a more productive and successful workplace going forward.

Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation
Some motivation drivers are intrinsic, meaning they come from within. It is fueled by an internal desire to achieve something, and involves performing a job since one enjoys doing it. It is important for employers to identify intrinsic motivators among their staff since offering external rewards in such cases may reduce intrinsic motivation. It means that some employees are passionate about what they do and could complete a task without being pushed.

On the contrary, extrinsic motivation comes from the outside. It is driven by external factors. Employees perform a task to get something in return for instance, a reward. Others perform their tasks to avoid punishments like being fired or given job warnings.

It is therefore important for organizations to understand their employees’ needs to know which motivations tactics best suits them. That is only possible if corporate leaders recognize and envisage employee behavior as that could help them understand what really motivates their staff.

Abraham Maslow has explained this in the hierarchy of need theory. The psychologist has identified and arranged in a hierarchical manner five needs that motivate individuals. They include psychological, safety, belongingness, esteem and self-actualization. The implication of the Hierarchy of Needs Theory in the workplace is that different employees are motivated by different needs and such needs change with time.

Employers should therefore implement appropriate motivation strategies including positive reinforcement, restructuring jobs, treating employees fairly, setting goals, recognition, promotion, providing growth opportunities and giving monetary and non-monetary rewards based on job performance. This in turn helps the organization meet its goal, raise employee efficiency, generate workforce stability and create team harmony.

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