Understanding employee motivation [Archives:2004/792/Education]

November 22 2004

By Ms. Lakshmi Devi P K
Asst Brand Manager
Mam International Corporation
Sana'a – Yemen
[email protected]

Employee Motivation has been defined as: the psychological process that gives behavior purpose and direction; a predisposition to behave in a purposive manner to achieve specific, unmet needs; an internal drive to satisfy an unsatisfied need; and the will to achieve. Motivation is operationally defined as the inner force that drives individuals to accomplish personal and organizational goals.

Why do we need motivated employees?
The answer is survival. Motivated employees are needed in our rapidly changing workplaces. Motivated employees help organizations survive. Motivated employees are more productive. To be effective, managers need to understand what motivates employees within the context of the roles they perform. Of all the functions a manager performs, motivating employees is arguably the most complex. This is due, in part, to the fact that what motivates employee's changes constantly. For example, research suggests that as employees' income increases, money becomes less of a motivator. Also, as employees get older, interesting work becomes more of a motivator.
At one time, employees were considered just another input into the production of goods and services. What perhaps changed this way of thinking about employees was research. This study found that employees are not motivated solely by money and employee behavior is linked to their attitudes. In human relations approach to management, the needs and motivation of employees become the primary focus of managers.
Employees have five levels of needs: physiological, safety, social, ego, and self- actualizing. Motivator or intrinsic factors, such as achievement and recognition, produce job satisfaction. Hygiene or extrinsic factors, such as pay and job security, produce job dissatisfaction. The employee effort will lead to performance and performance will lead to rewards. Rewards may be either positive or negative. The more positive the reward the more likely the employee will be highly motivated and vice versa.
The employees strive for equity between themselves and other workers. Equity is achieved when the ratio of employee outcomes over inputs is equal to other employee outcomes over inputs. Those employees' behaviors that lead to positive outcomes will be repeated and behaviors that lead to negative outcomes will not be repeated. Managers should positively reinforce employee behaviors that lead to positive outcomes. Managers should negatively reinforce employee behavior that leads to negative outcomes.
The factors in motivating employees are the following:
– Job security
– Sympathetic help with personal problems
– Personal loyalty to employees
– Interesting work
– Good working conditions
– Tactful discipline
– Good wages
– Promotions and growth in the organization
– Feeling of being in the know of things
– Full appreciation of the work done.

Interesting work and employee pay appear to be important links to higher motivation of employees. External stipends, monetary, and non-monetary compensation options such as job enlargement, job enrichment, promotions, should also be considered. Job enlargement can be used (by managers) to make work more interesting (for employees) by increasing the number and variety of activities performed. Job enrichment can be used to make work more interesting and pay can be enhanced in exchange for higher-level responsibilities to a job.
The effectiveness of extension is dependent upon the motivation of its employees. Knowing what motivates employees and incorporating this knowledge into the reward system will help identify, recruit, employ, train, and retain a productive workforce. Motivating employees requires both managers and employees working together. Employees must be willing to let managers know what motivates them, and managers must be willing to design reward systems that motivate employees.

An appeal to all managers in Yemen
Determine what motivates your employees. Please do not lose your best employees by your stubborn decisions! Employees are not SLAVES; they are the real assets of the company. Please respect them.