Category Archives: Motivation

What’s The Drive For Motivation?

What is it that drives employee motivation? More specifically, what is it that causes an employee to WANT to do his or her job? After all, the answer to this question is the key to the motivation of employees and employer happiness. And, even more important than knowing what it is that motivates an employee is whether or not this motivation is something that will cause an employee to go through the motions of doing the job or in still actual desire for a job well done in the employee’s mind.

The answers to these questions and more are what should always be on every employer’s mind if they are to create effective, productive workforces. A lack of motivation is a true killer, as anyone certainly knows.

Can an employee be truly motivated in the current climate?

There are currently a lot of reports being done looking at the quality of life employees have. According to a recent article in peoplemanagement almost a third of workers say their standard of living has dropped in the past six months (data from the employee outlook survey), 46 per cent of people have had their pay frozen and 20 per cent believe they’re in danger of redundancy. Many people have commented on how they think this situation should be managed with consistent and high quality leadership being mentioned above most. I feel that this situation needs to monitored more closely.

If an employee has worries outside of work, increased stress levels and is in a state of nervousness is it possible for a business to fully motivate them? Businesses have a big task of surviving and making themselves more efficient during this time of uncertainty and are therefore in a catch 22 position for how much stability and certainty it can provide its employees.

Demotivated staff are harder to work with and it would be nearly impossible for them to increase productivity, but by businesses focusing on motivation, being as open and honest and increasing team work this should enable a greater chance for survival. Employees often think that they are made to pay while the people at the top don’t get affected during difficult times. By educating employees and providing tools for them to see the bigger picture it will help them to be motivated and see that they are not alone in these uncertain times.

Is HR going too far?

Time and time again I read about equality and diversity for example in February 24th edition of peoplemanagement magazine in the news section there is a feature discussing the number of women in senior management and boardroom level jobs. Surely HR should be driving these types of restrictions or recommendations out of our businesses as true equality and diversity should not be monitored or restricted.

I am a firm believer of best person for the job role based on competences and their team working skills, not due to their culture, look or gender. It is only natural that we have a higher percentage of “traditional business men” working in more senior jobs and at board level, succession planning and development is not a quick fix. We have a greater number of “traditional business men” within the work place at all levels and it will take time for the best to filter through regardless of who and what they look like. I believe that it takes a long time for someone to gain the skills needed especially at a senior level so the idea of promoting people into these roles just to meet diversity or equality targets worries me.

Until we get to the stage were everyone is interviewed in a sealed box and their voice is altered by a computer there will always be questions about was it 100% fair. We are always going to have these discussions but if there is no realistic solution shouldn’t time be spent doing other things. We can keep gathering data but what does it get used for and what competitive edge does it give a business?

As a person who on paper fits into the “traditional business man” profile it concerns me how positive discrimination is deemed ok and we are being driven to employing people to meet targets. For years we dealt with the change in business and had to change our working practices and measures to make sure it was fair for all, yet it seems like now we are the ones who are being discriminated against.

The motives behind motivation…

In Mike Poundfords letter featured in the People Management Magazine commenting on Rob Briner’s “Terms of engagement column and “Engaged in conversation” feature, 30 July 2009” it states that “engagement is a voluntary act” and that the organisation can not engage people, “it is up to the individual.” The letter highlights that there are a numerous reasons why it is up to the employee e.g. financial, social and ethical reasons.

Without seeing the original feature I can’t really comment fully on the complete feature but ending in the letter with “personal aspirations are aligned with organisational purpose” signalling that engagement is difficult for an employer to drive.  I believe it highlights another reason why motivation is one of the main aspects of HR, if an employee is motivated it does result in engagement.

Motivation is still not just about pay…

Published recently in the People Management magazine issues were highlighted in and with the NHS Agenda for Change pay contract. The new pay system for NHS staff failed to deliver cost saving or an increase in productivity, according to the National Audit Office.

A report by the spending watchdog said that productivity in the NHS continued to fall despite the introduction of the new Agenda for Change pay contract.

It amazes me that many HR professionals still believe new pay changes will increase employees motivation/productivity. Whether we like it or not most employees believe that they are due a pay increase year on year, the main argument being down to inflation. Pay raises also show that the business is in a strong position.

We are currently in a difficult situation with the state of the economy and I believe this makes certain aspects of HR easier. It would be quite brutal for an employer to tell its employees that having a job during the recession is a motivational factor but in honesty it would be close to the truth. Personally, I believe that at a time when businesses are spending money more wisely it would be better to use this basic approach and build on it to develop a true motivational scheme.

Employees have a vast range of needs and if an employer wants to work with the employee then they will motivate them without spending money.

Self Motivation

We all put objects in our way and come up with excuses for not feeling up to it but really we can do what we want if we have the self motivation. I’m a believer it is mind over matter but to a point were it becomes unrealistic.

 I think self motivation can be achieved via a couple of different options; 1. In order for us to feel self motivated we have to want to do it because we think it will be enjoyable and also rewarding. 2. The self motivation comes from a fear of what will happen if we don’t achieve the task.

How Many Different Types Of Motivation Are There?

I believe that there are three main types of motivation – “Natural”, “Fear”, “Booster”, which are each driven by two sub types – “Attitude” and “Incentive”.

“Natural” motivation is the most common type of motivation and happens the most often. It is the motivation people get when naturally motivated.

“Fear” motivation happens often within the workforce when under pressure to complete a task.

“Booster” motivation  is normally self driven to overcome a task you have set yourself.

For information on “Attitude” and “Incentive” motivation please see previous article – “Two Types Of Motivation”, Jan 2008.


Two Types Of Motivation

Motivating an employee is a daily task for managers, but it is important to recognise the two sides of motivation…

Attitude Motivation – Thinking and Feeling
Incentive Motivation – Providing a reward.

When planning to motivate an employee “Attitude Motivation” and “Incentive Motivation” need to be utilised in harmony to fulfil maximum motivation.

“Attitude Motivation” should be used during the task and “Incentive Motivation” applied towards the end. Therefore as the employee carries out the whole task they are motivated at each stage.

What you use to motivate your employees will change depending on the conditions of the task in hand e.g. time length and desired affect from the motivation.

“Incentive Motivation” will tend to comprise of small but more meaningful solutions e.g. “Once you have completed all the preparation for the team meeting, you can have the afternoon off.”

“Attitude Motivation” will tend to comprise of a wider range of solutions that individually would have a smaller affect e.g. “ In order to complete all the preparation for the meeting, you can use the administrator to help put together the presentation and we will cover your normal duties.”

When both types of motivation are used together they make it achievable to fulfill your employees motivation level.