Effective Motivational Techniques in the Workplace

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Effective Motivational Techniques in the Workplace
Work. Some love it, some hate it, others see it as an escape from reality, and still others view it as passing time, but everyone works to provide for our families and ourselves. Whether rich or poor, work is something that everyone will experience sometime during his or her lifespan. Motivation plays a key role in one’s opinion on work. In this struggling economy, organizations are asking how to motivate employees, as many have had to restructure and develop ways to maximize its resources. Using different motivational techniques together in the workplace can improve overall moral, improve employee job satisfaction, and quite possibly increase performance.

Motivation (in a work setting) is the process by which behavior is mobilized and sustained in the interest of achieving goals (DuBrin, 2007, p. 114). “Motivation is the complex force starting and keeping a person at work in an organization. Motivation is something that moves the person to action, and continues him in the course of action already initiated” (Dubin, 1958). When an individual is motivated, he feels energized or inspired to act, whereas an unmotivated person feels no impetus to do so (Ryan and Deci, 2000, p. 54). It is then clear that individuals have different amounts of motivation. Motivation is a complex process that includes biological drive, extrinsic (external) rewards and intrinsic (personal) rewards.

All humans are born with certain physiological and biological needs such as water, food, shelter, family and security. This innate biological drive motivates man to work until these needs are met. Man was created by God to work in order to satisfy his biological needs. “By the sweat of your face you will eat bread, till you return to the ground” (Genesis 3:19, NASB).

Extrinsic motivational factors are external incentives, rewards, and/or punishments that come from outside the individual and the job itself. Some extrinsic motivators include pay, job security, and title; working conditions, fringe benefits, and relationship (Lussier & Achua, 2010, p. 82). Since these are external rewards, often it is not a sustainable motivational tool, because once the reward or punishment is removed, motivation tends to decrease.

Intrinsic motivation is based on motivational elements that come from within the person through work itself. Some of intrinsic motivators are achievement, recognition, challenge, and advancement (Lussier & Achua, 2010). Since these factors come from the inside of one’s being, they often have a strong influence on achieving goals, as doing something that one wants to do, and doing it well, can be a reward in itself. Essential elements of intrinsic motivation are: 1) the work must carry with it a strong sense of purpose, 2) the work must increase capacity, 3) the work needs to have a degree of autonomy, and finally 4) the work must connect with others (camaraderie) (Fullan, 2011).

Several different theories have been developed to address the diverse motivations. One of the most commonly adopted theories is Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Abraham Maslow developed a comprehensive view of individual motivation (DuBrin, 2007, p. 114). His theory was based on four major assumptions: 1) only unmet needs motivate 2) People’s needs are arranged in order of importance going from basic to complex. 3) People will not be motivated to satisfy a higher-level need unless the lower-level need(s) has been at least minimally satisfied. 4) Maslow assumed that people have five classifications of needs, which he arranged into a pyramid-shaped model with the following sequential model: (top to bottom) (Lussier & Achua, 2010). * Self-Actualization needs

* Esteem needs
* Social and Love needs
* Safety needs
* Physiological needs
He classified them into lower-order needs (Physiological, Safety, and Social) and higher-order needs (Esteem and Self-Actualization)....
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