Who and How to Motivate? Motivational Factors

The title of the article poses an inquisitive question. The answer would be- a person, a team leader or a departmental head who is authorised by the top management to give monetary benefits, incentives, promotions and also non-monetary benefits. These are some of the factors which motivate employees working under them and give good performance and work with efficiency.

Firms or HR managers of corporate groups are increasingly becoming aware of the fact that only a motivated person can do full justice to his / her work.

When times are bad every organization counts on the performance of its employees for growth and success. Keeping an employee working at full potential is the best way to achieve results. It is the ultimate goal of employee motivation programs.

Most companies are adopting unique approaches to motivating employees through fun activities also. Some companies have instituted a wide range of initiatives to encourage and foster employee motivation at workplace, in addition to rewards and recognition programs. A different spot award scheme and Best Interviewer Award was made, they also have many unique Fun at Work Schemes. Other means of motivation include mentoring and grooming initiatives such as discussing career paths through programs. The organization encourages work life balance and a flexible leave policy and support and an open communication channel through open house sessions, monthly newsletters from the CEO, etc. They value good health of their employees through stress management, health camps, parenting, personal counseling, nutrition, yoga, etc.

On similar lines one Life Insurance company took some key initiatives to motivate employees including things like fun at work programs in which they created a Base Camp – a challenging, fun and organized series of spaces, events, and initiatives. Financial Climber Activities for providing tax and legal assistance, career climber activities on presentation skills, time management skills, grooming, etc. Some firms create a fit mind through life skills workshop, personal counseling sessions. They have also launched CEO Awards program, IDEA’s interactive channel for inviting ideas and Talking Talent initiative for identifying building and managing the strong performers.

For many companies motivation programs are built into the system, in everyday practices. The key drivers for motivation in such a case are transparency, stability and well being of employees.

Times of recession act as propelling factors for employees to seek opportunities to upgrade their skill sets in order to add more value to the organization. It has also been noticed that candidates who might have lost their jobs are making use of their time to take up higher studies, so that the additional qualification gives them the edge at the recovery stage. A slowdown is a perfect opportunity for employees to demonstrate innovation and commitment to make sure that the company is able to tide over the crisis. This, in fact, is an opportunity to make a lasting impression on the management and lay the foundation for career advancement.

The traditional motivational techniques are based on a reward punishment psychology and involve the use of performance appraisals and performance based incentive programs. These approaches including management objectives indicate that specific results are best achieved by clearly outlining realistic goals and then suitably rewarding those managers, who achieve them.

Motivational Techniques to Implement strategy

  1. MBO
  2. Incentives
  3. Performance Appraisal
  4. Salary Administration
  5. Recruiting and Termination


Performance –à Techniques (Modern)

  1. Mastery
  2. Approval
  3. Risk and Adventure
  4. Security
  5. Power and influence
  6. Individual Motivational Techniques

Short term Motivational Environment

The mood of the company’s employees which contributes to the way they face immediate problems. Building such an environment involves actions very similar to public relations activities 1) communication programmes 2) morale-building conferences 3) use of awards, language, symbols, gestures etc.

Performance Management

The traditional management by objectives (MBO), performance appraisal etc., should be logically and firmly linked to what is called an integrated performance management process. To the end detailed budgets and programmes should be drawn. Individuals should also know exactly what piece of the organization structure they are accountable for and what goals and objectives they must attain this year to stay on plan. Performance management ensures that rewards and sanctions result from measures of good or poor performance.

In addition to the traditional motivating techniques, the organization should also provide for individual motivators for achieving results competently. Over reliance on bonuses and incentives may not fully motivate individual managers in today’s world. Top management should therefore fully understand the individual differences and devise an appropriate motivational strategy. Individual motivators:

  • Mastery: The act of mastering a new skill or gain control over a challenging problem is most motivating to many individuals.
  • Approval:  Lack of approval can hamper and constrict the performance of talented and bright managers.
  • Risk and Adventure: High visibility positions having risk and adventure are mostly preferred by managers possessing entrepreneurial talents.
  • Security: In order to perform effectively and efficiently managers need to feel that there is little at risk with respect to their careers.

Finally, competitive image: whether company views itself as faster, sharper, and better than the competitors or vice versa.

The boss occasionally must appreciate the good work done by a subordinate. This may not cost the company but the employee may get motivated to keep up the tempo and efficiency.

  • Anonymous

    Motivation, at whatever level, is an illusive ingredient. what motivates one person may miss another. I do believe games, contests and team activities contribute to focus and enthusiasm on the short term. Long term motivation is another matter.

  • Thiya2004

    Nice article

  • arun shukla

    nice approach

  • Amitdas


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    images is quite in-depth and gives a good overview of the topic.