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6 ways to increase motivation…

Posted on 09 February 2012

Explore two types of motivation: extrinsic and intrinsic. See how motivating your employees could be easier than you think – and cheaper.


If it were nothing but fun, work would be called fun. But work is work, and it is not always a pleasant way to spend a day. Keeping workers motivated and committed to the organization is a challenge, however it is not always about more money or benefits. Sometimes giving somebody more work motivates them. Sometimes all it takes is a new business card with a better title.


Both extrinsic and intrinsic factors contribute to motivation. The extrinsic factors like salary and benefits typically come with a price tag, but they are also mission critical to effective motivation. It might be free to complement a worker on a job well done or remember their birthday, but true motivation requires a budget.


Fredrick Herzberg


Dr. Herzberg was a pioneer in studying job enrichment in the 20th century. He studied factors such as salary, safety, benefits, and job security and found that most workers have a minimum expectation in these areas. Anything subpar will almost always lead to dissatisfaction.


However, if a company does pay well and provides good benefits to its employees, it does not guarantee that workers will be happy. It only increases the chance that they could be [happy]. So as a manager or business owner, you at the very least, should begin with providing a work environment that exceeds the minimum expectation.


Free extrinsic motivators


Sometimes extrinsic rewards can come with little to no cost:

  1. Flex-time.
  2. Remote work agreements.
  3. Honor thy lunch hour. Encourage your employees to get out and relax away from work.


Free hugs


The good news is that much of motivation is intrinsic. In fact, younger generations such as the Millennials, are more interested in some intrinsic factors than extrinsic. For example, they seek work that is “meaningful” and might be willing to accept less salary for a position that better suits their development goals as opposed to their financial goals.


A solid intrinsic motivation program will include:


1. Recognition


Implementing the old “employee of the month” program is up to you, but some believe that these that these types of programs can de-motivate as well. So use with judgment. An alternative approach could be to publicly reward top performers with a new title. Ran out of titles? At the next quarterly staff meeting address the group and tell them how proud you are of their accomplishments – individually. Go around the room. Compliment each and every individual. Don’t be shy.


Private recognition never hurts the group. If you truly think an employee has exceeded expectations, call them into your office and let them know. A private setting will ensure the sincerity of your message as well as avoid conflict amongst the corps.


2. Empowerment


Giving more work to a capable worker can sometimes enrich their job experience. Do not pile on more of the same, rather, introduce the worker to a more senior level within your workgroup or even to another department. If you feel the worker is already working at capacity, scale back on their workload so that they can free up time to explore new work.


Google is famous for their 20% Time Projects. Some of the company’s greatest achievements have come from these roughly eight hours per week where the engineer may choose and pursue any project they want so long as it relates to the work that Google does.


3. Benchmarking


Annual reviews with quarterly or semi-annual touch points are proven to motivate workers to excel towards their goals. Have the employee craft their own vision statement and use the benchmarking time to assist that employee in making progress towards their career goals. Do consider one of the many software packages on the market. They come preloaded with forms and are designed to maximize the benefits of the performance review process, having been developed by human resource professionals.

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