Motivation: A journey from CAN DO to SHALL DO
“Motivation is the art of getting people to do what you want them to do because they want to do it”
– Dwight D. Eisenhower
Motivation cannot be meted out externally, but it is an intrinsic desire in the human beings to achieve the target goal through performance or activity. Keeping employees motivated is a complicated and tough, but, worth trying for. Motivated employees are efficient, creative and can help increase overall profitability and bottom-line results. Organizations must be proactive and have the right strategies in place to keep employees motivated.
To generate an urge in an individual to perform goal directed behavior, it is important to differentiate between motives and incentives. Motives are expression of person’s need while incentives are external to the person. Incentives are made part of work environment to encourage workers accomplish task but motives on the other hand leads to goal directed behavior. When an individual joins an organization, he brings with himself physiological and psychological needs. The later needs are very difficult to fulfill as they vary from one to another. Various hierarchies of needs (as suggested by Maslow) interact with environment to shape on-the-job wants that are basis of motivation. Perception and equity or fairness further effect on-the-job motivation.
Though motivation is an intrinsic urge, yet the organizations can guide the way and mean to satisfy that urge by introducing a team motivation where the individual idiosyncrasies take back seat and team goals become target. The challenge is to create an environment where individual idiosyncrasy can be pushed back and team spirit gathers the force.
This can be done by giving equal weightage to organizational goals and individual goals. Below are some of the strategies that have proved very effective.
Motivate employees to continue developing their skills by encouraging them to take ownership of their jobs. A manager must share resource and referrals and provide opportunities for increased responsibilities and career advancement. Continuous learning is one of the best employee motivators.
Create a fearless environment where mistakes are praised. Though it sounds uninviting but it help in creating a culture where people are ready to give their best without being scared of failure.
Before she became the COO of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg was a vice president at Google whose responsibilities included managing their automated advertising system. When she made a mistake that cost Google several million dollars, she admitted her error to co-founder Larry Page, whose response sums up the company’s attitude on failure: “I’m so glad you made this mistake,” he said. “Because I want to run a company where we are moving too quickly and doing too much, not being too cautious and doing too little. If we don’t have any of these mistakes, we’re just not taking enough risk.”
Support performance development by creating a development plan during the performance planning cycle. Managers must take care to provide timely behavioral feedback and discuss ways to improve it. Managers must act as a mentor not as a task giver. In fact, managers must be trained on how to coach, motivate and reward their employees.
Organizations must take care to eliminate factors that lead to low motivation such as lack of appreciation, negative reinforcement, unrealistic expectations, lack of trust, difference in values, personality type and style. IBM and Infosys rejection of bell curve system for employee appraisal emphasizes on how these organizations are looking for positive reinforcement and not forcing employees for some maddening rat race. An environment where employees are competing with themselves is much better then employees competing against each other.
Communicate extensively about present and future vision of the organization and how each
employee adds to the organizational success. This will help to channelize employee’s energy into helping organizations achieve their goal.
Involve employees in solving business issues as they want their organization to succeed. As these employees are much closer to the problems, they can better evaluate the situation and can suggest what will work in the given situation and what will not. Sometime they can also suggest innovative idea to deal with a given situation. This will also help to create environment where employees are positively involved in solving organizational problem.
Recognize effort and praise employees as they satisfy their intrinsic urges and help to develop loyalty which further motivates them to work harder. This will also help in aligning organizational values with that of individual values. They should not only be praised for achievement but also for failure, for taking risk.
Make parting employees your ally as this will help to create an external pool of resources. Both employees and the organization will have a fall back option in the time of need. This will also give employees liberty to try out new things without being fearful of losing connects with his previous organization.
The interplay among empowerment, recognition and motivation needs to be well understood to influence and persuade employees toward task fulfillment. Above given markers will help organizations to keep their strategies right and to create a motivating work environment powered with a motivated work force.
Senior Consultant, People Management Practice,