How to motivate employees?

Service Business

A motivated employee is the company's success, because by doing his job in the best possible way, he contributes to the achieved financial results and affects greater efficiency. Therefore, most entrepreneurs-employers should consider how to stimulate the team to work, stimulate the willingness to act and commitment to the duties performed. There are really many ways to motivate employees - many books, guides, articles have been written on this subject, as well as there are many theories of motivation itself. However, it is worth paying attention to several important issues related to engaging subordinates in order to make the best use of their potential and create conditions in which they will also be satisfied with their duties.

Motivation - what is it?

The very word "motivation" comes from the Latin "moveo" which means setting in motion. Therefore, it can be said that thanks to it we move from stagnation and stillness to action, we begin to be “in motion”. More expert psychological definitions talk about the process by which we undertake certain behavior in order to achieve the intended results. Thus, motivation has three essential ingredients:

  • the direction in which we are going,
  • the amount of effort put into a given behavior,
  • persistence in striving for a goal.

Motivation may be internal, i.e. related to the feeling of pleasure in the task performed, or external, i.e. connected with the expectation of a specific reward. Moreover, the employee may be stimulated to act, respectively, by the vision of a tempting raise or bonus for the task performed (wage motivators), or by e.g. pure satisfaction with the performed tasks (non-wage motivators).

Many employers believe that since money is the main reason for taking up a job, a raise will be a sufficient incentive for employees to operate effectively. Therefore, the incentive structure in their workplace is based solely on wage motivators, forgetting that the "cash" is often not a sufficient reason to spend many hours at work.

Different positions, different people ...

When creating a motivational structure for positions in a company, it is worth remembering that what will be the best motivator for some, for others may only be associated with stress and problems. Treating employees as a homogeneous mass can be counterproductive. Taking an introvert who hates such rides for an integration trip, or organizing training for everyone, including outstanding specialists in a given field, are rather not the best ideas. That is why every employer, as a manager, should remember to take into account the preferences of each employee separately. Some may say it is difficult, others may say practically impossible. However, if the business owner cares about success and the team, then he should put some effort into creating the motivational structure.

The optimal motivation system should be tailored to the needs of a specific company (adjusted to the prevailing conditions, salary possibilities, etc.) and individualized. There is no single recipe for motivating employees, so in order to create the best possible working conditions in your company, it is worth getting acquainted with various methods and choosing the most effective ones in a given company.

Internal and external motivation

How does intrinsic motivation work? It stimulates taking actions that are pleasure in themselves. It gives great satisfaction, without expecting any external consequences (in the form of rewards etc.). Work performed in connection with this type of motivation is an activity we like, which challenges and stimulates us, and is adapted to our skills and preferences.

The best way to increase internal motivation of employees is to get to know their individual needs and to choose motivating tools accordingly. Such action will make them feel appreciated, noticed, they will feel that they are the added value of the company and will give even more.Going further, it is worth taking actions that will make employees like their work - take care of the atmosphere in the team, give development opportunities, adjust duties to the preferences of employees.

However, it must not be forgotten that practically everyone, to a greater or lesser extent, also needs external motivation at work. In this case, engaging in specific activities is caused by the expected external consequences, that is, for example, receiving "something" attractive for completing a task. It can be a raise or a bonus, but also a promotion.

Wage and non-payroll methods of motivating employees

Employees can be motivated in two ways - using payroll methods, i.e. in short - salaries, bonuses, raises, and non-payroll methods. The latter includes all other benefits, such as training courses, insurance packages, language courses, holiday vouchers, medical subscriptions, and holiday subsidies. Non-wage motivation may also include issues related to the technical equipment of the workplace, such as new equipment, a comfortable desk, etc. Both these groups are material incentives that make the employee happy, that he likes to come to work and perform his duties. He feels that the company cares about him. They can also be used to stimulate external motivation, as an incentive to act ("The implementation of this project will bring us a lot of income, some of which we will spend on the purchase of business laptops for all employees").

The other two groups of non-wage incentives are more psychological influences. These can include issues related to promotion, participation in decision-making, company management, or typical psychological and social stimuli, such as praise, distinctions, respect, admiration in the eyes of colleagues. Sometimes the best motivator for work is the boss's appreciation, the awareness that what we are doing brings the results expected and noticed by the management.

Remuneration is indisputably necessary to meet the basic needs of the employee. Even the most extensive system of benefits will not bring the intended effect in a situation where a person employed in a given company has a subjective feeling that he earns less than other companies in the industry propose. Therefore, when introducing motivational factors, it is worth remembering that non-financial motivation should always go hand in hand with financial motivation.

Of course, the motivation of a given employee may change - under the influence of boredom with a given task, change of aspiration, personal and family situation. In this case, a lot depends on the boss who, despite the difficulties and changes in circumstances, will be able to maintain the high internal motivation of his employees.

Start with yourself

It is also worth remembering that it is not possible to achieve success by a team led by an unmotivated boss. This is because his attitude is a strong determinant of the behavior of subordinates. The team leader should be an inspiration for his employees, believe in the goals set, be as involved as his subordinates.

To sum up - there are many ways to motivate employees and it is not advisable to limit yourself only to purely wage motivators. It is worth remembering that the cheapest and best stimulus to act in many cases is sincere praise and appreciation of the effects of subordinates' work, as well as providing feedback on how they are doing. It is also priceless to take care of a friendly atmosphere in the team and to take into account the individual possibilities and preferences of all its members.