Workplace Recognition and Incentive Programs

Four Keys to Motivation

Posted on October 5, 2010 by Motivo Staff in Uncategorized

Employee motivation is an important factor in any organization playing a crucial role in its success or decline. The keys to motivation lie in satisfaction, recognition, inspiration and appreciation.

An indisputable link exists between satisfied employees and motivated employees. Focusing on satisfied employees is not the same as motivating them, however. Satisfaction is neutral. That is to say the things that are expected in any work place must be present before you can think about motivation. Recall the research done by Frederick Herzberg from which he developed the Motivation-Hygiene Theory. In it he defines the top six factors causing dissatisfaction and the top six factors causing satisfaction, listed in the order of higher to lower importance.

Leading to Dissatisfaction
• Company policy
• Supervision
• Relationship w/Boss
• Work conditions
• Salary
• Relationship w/Peers

Leading to Satisfaction
• Achievement
• Recognition
• Work itself
• Responsibility
• Advancement
• Growth

Management not only must provide hygiene factors to avoid employee dissatisfaction, but also must provide factors intrinsic to the work itself in order for employees to be satisfied with their jobs; setting the stage for greater motivation.

Many people are hungry for recognition. “Three billion people on the face of the earth go to bed hungry every night, but four billion people go to bed every night hungry for a simple word of encouragement and recognition.”— Cavett Robert

Some people are motivated by getting their names on the wall or receiving a public award. This provides “emotional” recognition for their efforts. Workplace recognition helps define the behaviors that are expected in support of the organizational goals.

Finding the right mix of recognition is important to developing a plan for excellence and establishes your ability to measure performance improvement. You may recognize for excellence above and beyond the norm but also consider exemplary performance in areas such as safety, wellness, sales or a host of other measurable and desirable behaviors.

Know where you are leading. Be clear, committed and passionate about your mission. If you are not, how can you expect your employees to be? Explain the mission, the value and importance of everything they do and especially how it impacts the company.

Make sure that employees understand how they each fit into the performance goals and the value they bring to the company. Make the connection between the mission and the individual values and goals of your employees. Be a leader of vision and clear communication and if you walk-the-talk, they surely will follow.

At times, managers inadvertently crush employee motivation by not showing genuine appreciation for the positive actions and achievements of their employees. Senior managers can improve employee motivation by rewarding employees with personal attention. This may consist of a handwritten letter, a pat on the back, or a brief comment in a one-to-one session in which the manager truly listens to the employee to understand them as a person.

Individual, specific and special appreciation is more effective than mass appreciation. Employees want to be seen as individuals with specific talents, abilities and dreams. Showing your sincerity with a caring attitude will help create employees who in turn care about the company.

Not every employee is motivated by the same factor. Use all four – satisfaction, recognition, inspiration and appreciation to guarantee the success of the organization and its employees.