Motivate employees for motivators :)

We changed the entire area of our terrace in the company premises and converted it into a fully functional gymnasium, managing rights given to a branded company with personal trainers available for 18 hours (BPO). In the first month our HR Manager tried hard to get the registrations for the gymnasium, motivating employees to work out during their break time through posters, danglers & all sorts of promotional activities. However, there were just 7 registrations which included the MD and the VP.

The company decided to give it another shot and kept it functional for the next one month but there was no change, hence they decided to close the gymnasium.

What makes or breaks an initiative in an organization are people’s interests and preferences. Sometimes the HR department thinks that they are launching the best practices in their companies; however they get a major setback when the so called benchmarked best practice fails. And then they ask- “If it worked for the other company, then why not for us?”

The answer lies in the diversity of people and their choices, tastes and motivating  factors. Some will be happy with a sport/games facility in the workplace, but others who may be avid readers might want a library instead, health freaks would opt for a gymnasium.

A forum member also posted a similar story about how the HR department launches new activities and how the employees do not participate in it. Then the entire blame for its failure falls on the HR people and rightly so!

Here are some facts which will help you in introspect on the HR initiatives as you try to put yourself in their shoes and think from their perspectives before launching any new motivational/ recreational/employee engagement activity.

Employee participation: Employee turnover was becoming higher every month, and all other activities were not giving the expected results, so we implemented a system of suggestion boxes at all the floors and asked for agents/CCE opinion on what would they would want the company to do to retain them. We got almost 500 plus suggestions and out of that more than 300 employees asked for similar things- More monetary rewards or gifts. One can also demonstrate in a credible way that the program saves, the organization, money and gets all the senior management support that you need.

We started some new initiatives such as ‘Star performer’ of the week or month, punctuality award, attendance award, and many performance oriented awards and they were given ipods, LCD TV. Employees who won two consecutive awards were given pen drives, Nokia/Samsung/Sony handsets, cameras and anything else they asked for. The attrition in 2 months time came down from 17% to 6 %.

Study their behaviour: Every individual is unique, has a variety of behaviours, value system and that is why their motivational requirement also differs from each other. HR department needs to go down to their level sometimes- feel, think like employees and then start working on new initiatives. Studying the people and their interests and behavioural patterns is very important to get the profitability and performance in the long run.

Communication: To ensure employee participation, the message should be communicated to them properly. Employees are keen to know what is in store for them, so they need to be informed and showed what are the benefits of the program/activity that the company is introducing. Clear communication with well-articulated words can do wonders. Don’t let your employees feel that it is just a passing fad like many others, keep it running, teething troubles will be there but long term benefits will also keep flying. Try it. :)

Incentives: The primary approach to high work and home demands with limited discretionary time for fitness is to move to the “incentive solution”, give incentive to the people to participate on their own terms and in their own time.  Yes, some people would like to join an activity in the evening after office hours. If they want to play a game of Snooker after 7 pm to de-stress then why not, let them enjoy.

Focus Groups: Create some focus groups and re-frame the issue of participation, ask them for their opinions on relationships, connectivity, self-care, sleep, recreation, stress control, stress management, positive attitude, understanding others, communication skills, breaking monotony of work, engagement of employees and then let them decide what they feel is the best for their own teams. Composing focus groups can actually enhance the participation level for various activities which the HR alone may not be able to induce.

So, get going and increase the level of participation with small changes here and there and then measure the results, I’m sure if implemented properly these recommendations can go great guns, says an experienced HR professional.

Ciao till we meet again….. :)

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  • Sreelakshmi

    Good One…

  • Rahul

    Good article. Employee wants to be motivated in their own way and I think alignment of organization’s goal with employee’s goal is very crucial. As rightly said individuals have their on behaviors and value systems and so the likes and dislikes also varies. Herzberg’s motivation theory can be good to practice. In many organizations HRs operate from their own need and think that only having some fun activity is sufficient but the impact is not that high and it happens because employee’s own need and meaning of motivation is not met!! All the points covered here makes lot of sense provided HR thinks about them and then practices based on their work environment.
    Thanks for such sharing.

  • Archna Khurana Sharma

    Hi Rahul,

    Thanks for sharing valuable insights, apart for motivation theories if we( HR professionals) grab some knowledge about personality types, i hope it will bring better results specially in the cases like the one narrated above.
    small steps will make a lot of difference in our approach…then lets get started..

  • Archna Khurana Sharma

    Thanks Sreelakshmi…..for your time and efforts for reading this article..hope it will be of help…:)

  • Gayathri Neelam

    Hi Archana,

    I have always enjoyed all your articles and wondered if I would ever get to see your picture. A face for a write up is good all the time.

    Keep up the good work!!!

    Neelam Gayathri

  • Samina


  • Louisaldous

    Excellent thought. Thanks….

  • ARSofi

    Hi Archna
    Congrats, once again u come up with excellent article…It touched my heart, as I always feel the employees involvement in the activities of the organization should be of utmost importance. I will definitely try few of your suggestions and hopefully I’ll get good results…


  • Secuture Bureau

    I have had the same experience. We invested in the best of equipments, kept a professional trainer on retainership, because employees wanted it. Once set up it was used by some enthusiasts for a couple of weeks then met its natural death. Since it was occupying very expensive real estate space in the office I as the HR head shut it down, auctioned the equipments to employees at the first instance and to outside parties at the second, remodelled the space into a state-of-the-art training hall. This yielded far more value addition to far more employees. This is just to make others think before they leap into such fads just because some people wanted it as some others had it but they did not.

  • Archna Khurana Sharma

    Hi Gayathri…I’m flattered dear…Thank you for such appreciation…
    You can see my picture as well, FB, Citehr, and disqus…even this reply have my picture…:)

    Thanks a lot for the valuable inputs.:)

  • Archna Khurana Sharma

    Thank you Samina…

  • Archna Khurana Sharma

    Hi Louisaldous…

    Grateful to you all for appreciating my efforts…thank you for your valuable time..

  • Archna Khurana Sharma

    Hi Sofi,
    Great!! such appreciations actually motivate us to write even better things.i would be glad if the suggestions can be of some use to you…


  • Archna Khurana Sharma

    Thanks for your valuable contribution here, we all have sailed in the same boat at some point of time in our careers..hope the solutions we share will be useful for people facing similar problems. Thanks again for sharing your experiences…:)

  • Rahul

    I agree Archna, personality types and motivation goes hand in hand. We fall in trap when we try to motivate in our own way though it is very much personality dependent.
    Thanks for your valuable insights..

  • Archna Khurana Sharma


  • Kannanr

    Hi Archana,

    That was a wonderful article on the motivational factors. Would be happy to see more such articles.

    Kannan R

  • Kavita Negi

    Hi Archana,

    Thanks for sharing a wonderful article.

  • Dr.Shweta

    Nice one .. i agree peoples interests and preferences make or break an initiative.. but in a Healthcare Organization which is functional 24×7 it gets pretty difficult to get all the employees together to start or plan something innovative.i always try getting all the employees together for picnics, celebrated days etc but in the process ultimately land up disheartening many employees who are left out due to duty rota.

    it would be great if you could write sumthing exclusively for Healthcare organizations.

  • Simmi Shukla

    Nice article Ma’am,

    Survey or asking for feedback/ Suggestion is the best idea to know what employees really need apart from money. Money can reatain employees for short time but sense of belonging with the company can be enriched with other ways.

  • Archna Khurana Sharma

    Thanks Simmi…

    very well said, money can motivate for short time..actually it works more on the maslow’s theory also…at one point in time our other needs supersede the monetary benefits. Sense of belonging is again a vast topic and here again leaders have to take initiative to keep their employee happy…:)

  • Archna Khurana Sharma

    Hi Dr. Shweta..
    Thank you for the insight and in agreement with your thoughts, i would say that keeping 100% employees happy is a difficult task…but we can always strive for excellence.

    Will do a research of Healthcare Organisation, and then surely come back with some thing…:)

    Keep sharing!!

  • Archna Khurana Sharma

    Thanks Kavita…

    Hope it will be of help…:)

  • Archna Khurana Sharma

    Hi Kannan R,

    Thanks you for appreciating our efforts….it motivates us to write more…

    Keep sharing!!

  • Sanjivrana78

    Hi Archana,

    Very nice article,i realy like it.

    Thanks & Regards

  • Anonymous

    Hi Archna ji,

    Good evening and Gr8

    I thank you very much for sharing your valuable and wonderful article on this motivational factors. It will give me much pleasure if I see more such articles at my mail.
    So may I request you to send me all the articles what ever you have written and what you are going to write ?
    I have some clarification on EPF may I disturbe you regarding the same if yes then plz do not forget to send me a test mail to my id –

    Thanks with warm Regards.


  • Anonymous

    Hi Archna ji

    Once again good evening

    Will you plz share the recent ruling by Supreme Court regarding ‘Provident Fund Contribution not on the minimum wages’. Awaiting for your response plz

    May I request you to send the detail to my id plz if u plz.

    Thanks with warm Regards.


  • Iqbalfateh

    Hi Archana Ji

    Really practical article

    Thanks & warms Regards!


  • Naresh Upreti

    hi archana mam,

    my most weakness english seep king psl suggest me.

  • Archna Khurana Sharma

    Hi Iqbal ji..

    I’m glad you all like the write up. Do share your experiences with citeman.


  • Arun_75s

    Hi madam ,

    The good one .

    Arun Sharma

  • Archna Khurana Sharma

    Thanks Arun..God bless..

  • Kamalakartay

    Who to do manage absents employee

  • Dear Gayathri,

    Please find more about Archna and her picture in the link attached

    Best regards,

  • Archna Khurana Sharma

    Thanks so much Nabomita..for helping me out…:)

  • Ramesh

    Very nice article. I agree with your study and approach.

    Best Regards, Ramesh

  • Archna Khurana Sharma

    Thanks Sanjiv.

  • Archna Khurana Sharma

    Thanks Deepak.

  • Archna Khurana Sharma

    Thank you Ramesh…