In today’s hyper-competitive marketplace, understanding what fosters and forwards employee motivation—and, thus, organizational performance—is critical. Based on theories, studies, best practices, case studies and resources about motivation, this solutions-focused research article presents valuable information for the senior HR leader seeking competitive advantage. Introduction
In today’s marketplace, where companies seek a competitive edge, motivation is key for talent retention and performance. No matter the economic environment, the goal is to create a workplace that is engaging and motivating, where employees want to stay, grow and contribute their knowledge, experience and expertise. Motivation is generally defined as the psychological forces that determine the direction of a person’s level of effort, as well as a person’s persistence in the face of obstacles. The direction of a person’s behavior refers to the many possible actions that a person could engage in, while persistence refers to whether, when faced with roadblocks and obstacles, an individual keeps trying or gives up. The responsibility for motivation is three-fold: it falls on the senior leadership, the direct manager and the employee. Numerous factors are involved, from trust, engagement and values (individual and organizational) to job satisfaction, achievement, acknowledgement and rewards. Motivation is essential for working autonomously, as well as for collaboration and effective teamwork. The ultimate focus of the organization is to successfully retain talent, meet goals and go beyond expectations. It is the role of HR and organizational leaders to foster an environment for excellence. Through a foundation of research, theory, studies and practical examples, this article addresses the questions of what motivates employees, what managers need to do, and what supports motivation and, thus, performance. What Influences Motivation?
Motivating employees for better performance encompasses these critical factors: employee engagement, Organizational vision and values, management acknowledgment and appreciation of work well done, and overall authenticity of leadership. Chana Anderson, CCP, SPHR-CA, director of HR and a member of the SHRM Employee Relations Special Expertise Panel, says that motivation is influenced equally by the employee and the company: “Motivation and engagement is truly a 50-50 relationship between the employee and employer. Employees are expected to come to the workplace with the intrinsic motivation and desire to be successful, be value-added and contribute to the obtainment of an employer’s vision. Conversely, it is incumbent upon the employer to provide resources, opportunities, recognition and a cohesive work environment for employees to be successful.” Employee Engagement
Engagement influences motivation. It is reflected in the extent to which employees commit, how hard they work and how long they stay. People join organizations for different reasons, motivated by intrinsic and extrinsic rewards. Intrinsic rewards are reflected in actions believed to be important. Examples include an employee who wants to help people by providing excellent customer service or a senior manager who gains a sense of accomplishment from overseeing a large corporation. Intrinsic outcomes include responsibility, autonomy, feelings of accomplishment and the pleasure of doing interesting work. Extrinsic-motivated behavior includes actions performed with the goal to have material or social rewards, with outcomes such as job security, benefits, vacation time and public recognition. It is the responsibility of managers to motivate employees, with the goal for employees to contribute to the organization. Managers can best motivate employees by offering rewards that are meaningful to them. Vision and Values
Employees are often motivated differently. To develop a work environment...