Motivation in the Workplace

It’s surprising how many companies and organizations still don’t grasp the concept of “motivation”. If a company provides enough motivation for their employees, productivity proves to be higher and loyalty amongst the workers is much higher than it would be for the non-motivated workers. Now when I say “motivated”, I don’t necessarily mean you’ve got a bunch of people running around going “ooh rah!” and such. Rather, a motivated worker is one that actually wants to do a good job. He’s motivated to put out good work for himself and to help the company do well.

So where are the problems with motivation? Salary, culture, workload, perks, benefits, etc. We’ve all heard of the fun playrooms and culture of the Silicon Valley companies back in the heyday of the dotcom bubble. Who WOULDN’T want to work at one of those places? That was a good draw…however, as the bubble was getting close to bursting, suddenly security would have been a fine motivating factor.

A lot of times management is so concerned about the bottom line that they fail to see the real underpinnings of the company they are running. “We need more workers” will be the mantra. What’s missing here though? The word “good”. It is horrifically frustrating for the good workers that are there to be surrounded by people that just don’t care, are disruptive, and are generally a bad fit for the company. This can lead to the good workers wanting to find employment elsewhere and thus leaving a void…making management say “we need more workers”. Rather than having the 50-50 split of good and bad workers, suddenly you find yourself with 70-30 bad to good.

Compensation (benefits can fall into this category too) is an obvious motivation tool. Pay your workers too poorly and they’ll fail to see the need to stay with a company that won’t pay someone what they feel they are worth. Not only that, but having employees with no benefits only provides for much frustration and resentment when the worker gets sick (they don’t have insurance so they can’t afford to go to the doctor, then they get the double-whammy of not getting paid for the day they missed if they are a contract worker) or are forced to take time off for holidays.

So what can companies do? It’s pretty simple really. Walk around…get a feel for your employees. Are they happy and productive? Are you at least competitive in your pay and benefits? Do you provide them with respect? If a worker feels he and his work is respected, he will more than likely reciprocate that respect in both his work and work ethic. Are you hiring the right people for the job? Granted, there are situations when quantity over quality may provide a better solution, but in the long run you’ll have a well-oiled machine that runs efficiently with higher quality employees. The higher the ratio, the more likely it is you’ll be able to retain the quality that you have.