The importance of motivation in the workplace

Career Advice
07 February 2018 | Career Advice | Guest Author

Motivation is one of those buzz-words that we hear a lot, but we often don’t think about what it is or what it means. Very rarely do people spend time actually considering what their motivation is to do well at work or in life. Employee motivation is also one of the key elements of productivity, so we’ve taken the time to examine motivation and understand it’s importance in the workplace.

What is Motivation?

Motivation is simply the reason that someone will act or behave in a certain way, or their desire for something, or sometimes even more importantly, their desire not to have something. When you want to get employees to do something, you have to give them a good reason if you want to elicit a certain type of behavior from them. Motivation can come in many forms and can be positive or negative. Finding out what motivates your employees to do well is the key to good management.

What Does It Do?

Motivated employees exhibit increased productivity and more pride in their work. Turnover rates are significantly lower when motivation is high, and overall performance is improved. The benefits of having a motivated workforce can be measured in increased employee commitment, improved job satisfaction, and more efficiency in the workplace. The positive effects of good motivational strategies will be felt by both the employee and the company.

What Motivates People?

There are many ways that people can become motivated. The most obvious things are compensation based; competitive pay, a good benefit’s package, employee perks, and paid time off. Other motivations are based in less tangible things like pride, recognition, achievement, and personal development. Some motivations are even based in negatives, like the desire NOT to be fired or reprimanded. Finding a good balance of motivating factors is what determines an employee’s willingness to do the work that they are capable of.

How Do I Improve Employee Motivation?

External Motivators- What You Give Them

The first place to start when evaluating your policies is to ask what is it that makes your employees want to come to work each morning. The primary answer will almost always be compensation packages. Make sure that you are offering a competitive salary and benefits plan. By taking away some of the stress that people feel if they are wondering how to pay the bills or what will happen if they become sick, it frees up their mind to focus on creative tasks and getting things done. You can also look into more task-based rewards, like employee incentive programs where they are rewarded for meeting objectives.

Internal Motivators- How they Feel

You can also begin small, with a simple reminder once in a while that you noticed a job well done, or an annual recognition banquet; public recognition is a great way to not only motivate the employee that has done well, but it shows others that they too will be rewarded for doing well. But be careful: inconsistent or unfair recognition for some but not others can have the opposite effect. When people take pride in their work they will consistently produce better work, and setting goals is a good way to help them.

Employee-Specific Motivators- Things They Need as Individuals

One last thing you can do is to discuss employee motivation with each employee at their annual review. Finding out what motivates people in ways specific to them is helpful. Someone may tell you that they are looking to advance their career and pairing them with a mentor may help to increase their motivation. Someone with a disabled family member might want more flexibility in their schedule or the ability to work from home occasionally. If that motivation helps to increase their productivity and give them a reason to increase their loyalty, you both win.

Employee motivation is more than just a concept; it is what drives good employees to do great things. Understanding the importance of motivation within your workforce is one of the most important parts of running a successful business.


Meagan Weekes works at Bizset.com as a Content Manager. She enjoys sharing career tips and her broad work experience. She specializes in developing business ideas, career advancement and networking.

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