Employee motivation takes an understanding of the psychology on what motivates your employees as individuals and as a whole. Managers desire to instill motivation into their employees with the hopes of increasing their contribution toward the organization. Understand what it takes to achieve a highly motivated workplace environment.
Nature of Motivation
According to "Contemporary Management," by Gareth R. Jones and Jennifer M. George: "Motivation encompasses the psychological forces within a person that determine the direction of the person's behavior in an organization, the person's level of effort, and the person's level of persistence in the face of obstacles". Managers have a challenge to motivate people to contribute their focused efforts into the organization. Managers make sure that people receive the outcomes desired when they perform at high levels.
Formulated by Victor H. Vroom during the 1960s, Jones and George define the expectancy theory as "the theory that motivation will be high when workers believe that high levels of effort lead to high performance and high performance leads to attainment of desired outcomes." Three major components exist to determine motivation within the expectancy theory: expectancy, instrumentality and valence.
Expectancy is defined by Jones and George as "a perception about the extent to which effort results in a certain level of performance. Instrumentality is defined as "the perception about the extent to which performance results in the attainment of outcomes." Valence is said to be "how desirable each of the outcomes available from a job or organization is to a person." Therefore, when expectancy, instrumentality and valence are all peaking, high motivation results.
According to Jones and George, a need is "a requirement or necessity for survival and well being." Therefore, need theories suggest that in order to motivate a workforce, managers must first determine what needs employees are trying to satisfy within the organization. They then must ensure that employees receive outcomes that satisfy such needs when performed at high levels and contribute to the overall organization. Examples of need theories are Maslow's hierarchy of needs, Alderfer's ERG theory, Herzberg's motivator-hygiene Theory and McCelland's needs for achievement, affiliation and power.
Equity theory suggests that managers can achieve higher levels of motivation by ensuring employees perceive an equity exists within the organization and that outcomes, such as payments and awards, are distributed in proportion to their time and efforts. Inequity motivates employees to restore equity.
Goal-setting theory suggests managers can promote high levels of motivation and performance by ensuring that goals are difficult and specific. Therefore, it's important for people to accept their goals. By having managers allow employees to take part in the goal-making process, employees are able to more likely accept their goals. Employees can also receive feedback about how they are doing when in the process of achieving goals as well as after achieving goals.
According to Jones and George, "operant conditioning theory suggests that managers can motivate people to perform highly by using positive reinforcement or negative reinforcement."
Examples of positive reinforcement are pay raises, bonuses, praise and promotions. Examples of negative reinforcement can range from a manager's nagging and criticism to or the threat of losing a job. Positive reinforcement should follow high-quality contributing behaviors, whereas negative reinforcement typically follows a poor performance, but encourages employees to perform desired behaviors.
Extinction and punishment are also components of operant conditioning. Extinction occurs when a manager eliminates a reinforcer from an employee's day-to-day work life; for example, a manager may realize that his small talk leads to lack of productivity in an employee, so a manager will stop the small talk. Punishment is described by Jones and George as "administering an undesired or negative consequence when dysfunctional behavior occurs." Examples of punishment are verbal reprimands, pay cuts and firing.
Pay and Motivation
Jones and George describe a merit pay plan as "a compensation plan that bases pay on performance." This can be utilized toward individuals, groups or the entire organization's performance and can include the use of bonuses or salary increases.