It’s well-established that motivated employees are happy, productive employees. Motivated employees tend to be more resilient. A motivated, productive, and resilient workplace should be the goal of every organization.
Researchers have developed various motivational theories to understand the dynamics of motivation and productivity in the workplace. This article explores some of the most popular motivational theories. We’ll also look at some strategies to enhance productivity and resilience in the workplace.
There have been many different theories about what motivates and drives people when they’re working. Originally, people commonly believed that money motivated all employees. Small businesses struggled to start because they couldn’t match the higher salaries offered by established companies. However, deeper research into the issue made something obvious. Money is important but isn’t a top motivator for many people.
So what drives people to work hard and perform their best? The answer isn’t easy to find. The best motivation theory is as unique as the person you’re trying to motivate. Every person has a unique ranking of motivators. That is to say, there is no “right” motivation approach.
There are valuable lessons to learn from each, but motivation boils down to a personalized plan. These three theories are just a few of many that influence motivation theories today. These create an excellent framework for crafting a motivation strategy for every person on your team.
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Theory
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Theory is fundamental to understanding human motivation. According to this theory, people have a ranking system for their needs. This includes the basics, such as food, water, and shelter. Then goes to safety, belongingness, esteem, and self-actualization. You should progressively meet these needs to motivate employees more effectively.
For example, providing a safe and comfortable work environment satisfies the first two needs. Encouraging teamwork and recognizing achievements fulfills the next two. Providing opportunities for growth and self-actualization through challenging assignments and skill development programs can further motivate employees.
Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory
Frederick Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory focuses on what contributes to job satisfaction and dissatisfaction. According to Herzberg, there are two factors: hygiene and motivators. Hygiene factors are things like salary, job security, and working conditions. These things are necessary to prevent dissatisfaction with the job. However, they don’t directly contribute to motivation. Motivators, on the other hand, have a direct positive impact on motivation and job satisfaction. Organizations should work to provide both of these needs to create a work environment that fosters motivation and productivity.
Victor Vroom developed the Expectancy Theory, which states that the expectation of achieving good outcomes influences motivation. According to this theory, believing that their efforts will lead to good performance motivates people to work harder. This, in turn, will result in valued rewards. To increase motivation, organizations should clearly state what they expect from employees and give them the help and tools they need. Then ensure that the rewards and recognition align with the performance. Additionally, you can offer personalized incentives that appeal to individual preferences to improve motivation even more.
Strategies to Grow Productivity & Resilience
Building on the information learned from these theories, organizations can work out more effective motivational theories in the workplace. We must also balance the importance of a resilient workforce. Resilience is a by-product of a lot of these motivational tactics. When employees are resilient, they’re more likely to think outside the box when presented with an issue. Resilient employees are also more likely to be helpful to others and have a positive attitude. It’s easier for them to find meaning in their work assignments. Finding ways to support your employees this way may feel overwhelming with everything else on your plate. The effort is well worth the reward.
Setting clear and challenging goals allows employees to focus their efforts. Goals also help provide direction so people always know what they should work towards. Goals should be clear, measurable, doable, relevant, and have a time limit. This will help maximize their impact. Goals that aren’t very specific are confusing and difficult to complete. If you can’t measure the goal, you cannot know if you’ve finished it. You want these goals to challenge your employees without swamping them. Make sure to compare goals with past performance to ensure you can achieve them with effort.
Open and transparent communication is vital to employees today, especially Millenial and Gen-Z employees. Regular feedback, constructive criticism, and giving credit for achievements create a positive work culture that motivates employees to perform better. Being transparent about the company’s state, such as leadership’s goals or how well the business is doing as a whole, can help people feel more connected to the organization. This helps people feel like they are part of a community instead of just a company. This leads to more engagement and motivation.
Providing employees with autonomy and decision-making power can improve motivation. This will be more effective if the individual values those things. This can help foster a sense of ownership and accountability. If the person doesn’t value those things, find other ways to empower them by working with their unique motivators. This could be letting someone lead a team meeting or allowing someone to plan a team activity. You could give them an assignment outside their everyday responsibilities in an area they enjoy and do well in. Empowered employees are more likely to take initiative, be innovative, and be more resilient when faced with challenges.
Building trust with managers and colleagues is an integral part of resiliency at work. This one works in tandem with the practical communication portion above. Managers should hold regular one-on-one meetings with their team members. This helps promote a good relationship so employees feel comfortable coming to you. This will also help people feel more comfortable taking risks because they know you have their back. Trust between co-workers is also vital. People on the same team will inevitably have to overcome some obstacles together. Having a good team dynamic and bond will help these issues become opportunities for innovation and creativity.
Continuous Learning and Development
Offering ways for employees to develop their skills and advance their careers demonstrates a commitment to the employee’s growth. Investing in training programs, mentoring, and coaching enhances motivation and job satisfaction. When people feel their employer cares about them enough to invest this time and energy, they’ll feel more engaged. Know your employee’s goals and career aspirations. Then you can help craft a plan for them to work towards. When employees have clear career goals and a plan to achieve them, they feel valued and appreciated. This also leads to the employee feeling more connected to their work.
Recognition and Rewards
Recognizing and rewarding employees for their efforts and achievements helps boost motivation. This also helps create a positive work environment people are excited to participate. You should consider rewards of all types. This doesn’t have to be monetary. If your employee values recognition, shout them out in a company email for their hard work. If someone who values family completes a difficult task, offer them a paid day off to spend at home to celebrate. Even these tiny actions can significantly impact how an employee feels about their work.
Encourage your employees to have a healthy work-life balance. Offer flexible work arrangements when possible, such as flexible hours or the ability to work from home. Promote a supportive and healthy work environment to enhance your employee’s well-being and resilience. Employees who feel valued and supported as humans, instead of just worker bees, are more likely to be productive and motivated. This is also helpful in maintaining employees’ mental health. Burned-out employees aren’t very effective or reliable. People need to be able to go home and rest so they can be ready to work hard the next day. This can include vacation time, sick days, and flexible paid time off.
Motivated and resilient employees are the driving force behind successful organizations. Companies can design strategies to improve productivity, motivation, and resilience by understanding and using different motivational theories in the workplace. Consider these factors and your employees’ motivators to find ways to keep them motivated and engaged in their work. Investing the time and resources necessary for employee motivation can create a positive work environment that improves growth, productivity, and success.