How Can You Increase Employee Motivation

Last Updated
August 22, 2009

Managerial Actions for Increased Motivation

As we stress in this article, motivation is achieved through different factors with different people. It is therefore important that you find out these factors for each employee which can be put into action once identified. The best way of identifying these factors is to issue an Employee Appraisal.

If your business has a small number of employees that you can supervise and control easily, then you will probably have an idea what motivates each person and therefore not have to use the appraisal process to determine such factors (although you should use one for other reasons that concern the performance of your employees). If your business does have a large number of employees that you cannot control at any one time, then you may decide to delegate the task of identifying motivational issues to assistant mangers or immediate supervisors of the employees, etc.

For further information on delegation, visit The The Art of Delegation article.

For you to motivate your employees, you have to identify which approach to take: do you offer a financial or non-financial incentive? This will depend on what factors motivate the staff member but it may also be restricted by your company budget which cannot compensate for any wage increases or bonuses and therefore non-financial incentives have to be introduced. Poor pay may lead to staff being diss atisfied at work and therefore any non-financial incentives will not be effective for motivation. It is therefore important that you find the right balance between the two.

Financial Incentives

Increasing motivation through financial rewards is a method that is most common when businesses rely on the quantity of the output of employees. For those employees involved in production, you could issue a piece rate system where they are paid for each individual product they produce. In which case, they would be motivated to produce as much as possible in order to achieve a high pay: but ensure your quality control is effective to ensure customer focused areas are not traded-off for quantity. You could also introduce a commission payment scheme if your business relies on selling your product or services through the means of personal sales (telephone, door-to-door, etc).

You may even introduce fringe benefits instead of increasing wages or salaries such as company cars, private health, or interest-free loans from the business. These benefits are often valued higher than wage increases and can be less expensive for the business to provide.

Another financial incentive is the offer of a share of the company profits, say, 5%, which is split between your employees. This incentive can influence team working in the business but you may find that people benefit from other people’s work if they do not pull their own weight to help increase efficiency. It can therefore be said that profit sharing does not encourage motivation in all employees although it is highly effective in businesses with few employees. This is because they know that their performance will make a difference and will be evidenced by an increase in the business profits.

Sometimes staff may only have motivation to get a task done quickly without care to the quality of the outcome. In which case, you can introduce quality related bonus pay which determines their salary. This salary will be up for review twice a year and reflects their value in the business with respect to, for example, the standard they complete tasks as well as personal sales records, achievements, and so on. This will give the employee the motivation to complete tasks to a high standard and a desire to further excel in the future in order to gain a higher salary: and of course, the feeling of achievement (priceless).

Non-financial Incentives

You may feel that money is not an effective motivator in your business although it may have some effect in the short term: your employees may also see factors aside from money as prime motivators. For whatever reason you decide that non-financial incentives are more effective in your business, there are many forms in which they can be given.

You can increase motivation by giving employees more responsibility so that they feel their contribution is more valuable to the business and that their role is of higher importance. Further, you can promise the chance of promotion if they reach a certain standard or target. We briefly introduced the process of appraisal which is a huge motivator to employees. This is because they will be recognized for the value they add (or do not add!) to the business by reviewing their progress and achievements over a certain period.

The following are also motivators that can be introduced in your business. To some degree they can also be seen as processes that reduce job dissatisfaction:

Job Enlargement
This involves expanding the job of an employee that has them doing more work of a similar nature to what they already do. This may be allowing them to complete the whole t ask instead of just part of it, for example, packaging the products as well as manufacturing them. This process ideally removes the boredom out of the job by eliminating the repetitiveness out of tasks and allowing them to complete the whole process, further increasing their responsibility.
Job Rotation
This involves allowing employees to change the nature of their job periodically. For example, you may give the employee administration duties one week, marketing the week after, and then back to their original job of sales the following week. This cycle will then be on going. The purpose of this is that the employee, again, is satisfied by reduced boredom and also motivated by the achievement of increased skills. The business owner gains from cross-training and the potential for feed-back and improvement ideas.
Job Enrichment
Similar to job enlargement, you can enrich an employee’s job by expanding their tasks to give a higher level of responsibility in the nature of work they do. For example, they can be given the responsibility of ordering materials and making delivery arrangements instead of just manufacturing the products. This will not only expand their skills, but also give them an increased challenge (responsibility).

Summary

Without motivation in the workplace, your business will suffer from the lack of efficiency that your employees may fail to apply. This is because they have no incentive to perform tasks to a high standard or complete them on time. It is therefore important that you give them something to work for as a reward for their high level of performance, all being essential to the success of your business.

Everyone is motivated by different things and a majority of these factors are not money orientated: instead they react more effectively to incentives that offer personal recognition and achievement. In which case, you should determine what motivates individual people and further determine whether a financial or non-financial incentive is the solution.

There is a fine line between factors that motivate people and factors that prevent job dissatisfaction. In other words, some things do increase the level of efficiency in employees by reducing job dissatisfaction but are not motivators themselves. This is because your staff need to eliminate unhappiness in their job before they can begin to be motivated and this usually, and some say must, begin with an *acceptable* wage that they can live on.

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  1. Motivation in the Workplace
  2. Motivation in the WorkplaceHow Can You Increase Motivation?
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