Motivating Employees

Topics: Motivation, Maslow's hierarchy of needs, Employment Pages: 7 (2858 words) Published: November 23, 2013

Motivating Employees
Motivation is defined as the reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way. Motivation is one of the most important factors in employee performance and in keeping a business afloat. Workers with hourly wages are motivated to work more hours because working more hours means more money in their pocket. Motivation is an abstract concept, one can not see motivation in another person, only the results of it. Why is motivation important? Well there would be no reason to perform any task ever if motivation was non-existent. Without motivation, progressing mankind would be for no purpose and we would all still be living on caves and have huge beards. If Columbus wasn't motivated to find a faster route to the west indies, the whole course of history would be different and north America may have never been colonized.

There are two types of motivation, extrinsic motivation is the motivation that comes from receiving any physical reward such as money. It can also be the benefits a company provides to its employees to work harder such as free lunch, an employee only gym, etc. Take for example, Google. Google has become one of the most successful modern business due in part to the benefits they provide to their employees. Google employees receive free food during lunch, travel insurance, an employee gym, tuition towards classes that increase your skills needed for your job and even free legal advice/services. These are the extrinsic motivators that keep employees so driven to do a good job at Google. The other type of motivation is call intrinsic motivation. Intrinsic rewards are the way one feels when they have completed a task well and become proud of what they have done. For example, when a car salesman makes a sale, he makes commission from that sale which is an extrinsic reward, but after he makes the sale he will feel good that he did a good job and feel a sense of satisfaction from doing a job well done, which is the intrinsic reward. These two types of rewards are the things that motivate people to do as well of a job as they can at work so they can experience the fruits of their labor every time they do a good job.

Abraham Maslow was a professor of physcology at Brandeis University and in 1943 he developed a theory called the “Hierarchy of Needs Theory: Five Levels”. The theory basically states that people are motivated by five levels of needs which are physiological, safety, love, esteem, and self actualization, as you can see in the figure below, the needs are a hierarchy in the shape of a pyramid. Maslow states that the needs are never really met, but once someone has felt that they have fulfilled one of the needs, the person will focus on fulfilling the next need. In motivating employees, maslows theory is important to managers because it states the need of employees as people not just as workers. Good managers can apply maslows theory to motivate employees by trying to help meet the safety and physiological needs. There are other theories that are similar to maslows hierarchy of needs such as Aldefer's ERG theory, McClelland's acquired needs theory, and Herzberg's two-factor theory. Each theory differs slightly but what they all have in common is the idea that all human being have needs that need to be fulfilled and that the workplace can play a huge role in fulfilling these needs and lead to higher worker productivity. The ERG theory states the there are three basic needs which are existence, relatedness, and growth. Unlike maslows theory, the ERG theory says that all three needs take place at the same time and are not in any particular order. The existence part of ERG are needs that are material and physiological such as food, shelter and clothing. The relatedness part are the needs to have good relationships with other people. The growth part is the need to expand one's importance and skills as a human and live life to the fullest. McClelland's acquired needs theory is very...


Cited: kinicki, , and williams. Management. 5th. The Mcgraw-Hill Companies, 2011. Print
Lipman, Victor. "How to Motivate Employees with 'Outside the Box ' Thinking." Forbes.com. forbes, 16 2012. Web. 13 Nov 2012.

 "Motivating Employees." guides.wsj.com. Wall Street Journal. Web. 13 Nov 2012. .
Heathfield, Susan. "7 Ways to Foster Employee Motivation - Today." humanresources.about.com. about.com. Web. 13 Nov 2012. .
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