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Motivation in the Workplace

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Motivation plays a huge role in any organization or company. The level of motivation can directly affect not only the quality of life but can strengthen or weaken the bottom line. Every manager and or leader should know and work to make sure they keep their employees motivated no matter what place those employee’s are in their careers. Managers can keep their employees motivated by identifying individual factors that influence behavior, understanding and applying motivation theories and enacting effective behavior modification that encourages a higher level of motivation for the individual employee. A motivated workforce can make any company or organization a competitive force. Employees who are motivated usually produce at a higher level, create a better product or service and can be fertile ground for innovative ideas. The goal for managers of all levels is to understand individual behaviors and evaluate where improvements are needed. After understanding what areas need improvement the application of motivational factor can be applied using motivation theory. Once the employee is being motivated at a higher level the manager’s task is to take that motivation and use the appropriate behavior modification plan to help employees remain motivated and positively affect the atmosphere and character of the organization. Motivation can do more than just make a company run more successfully or productively. The lack of motivation can to a cancer that can create apathy, pessimism, cynicism, and can stifle energy stunting a company’s growth and just like cancer if not treated can destroy the organization. Managers have the reasonability to examine each individual and the areas they need improvement, apply motivational theories in their behavior modification plan.

Individuals react and differently to different situations. That is why it essential when addressing motivation in the workplace that a manager evaluate their employees on an individual basis to understand where they are personally and organizationally. Managers must know what is needed for an individual before they can find ways to improve the motivation of that person. There are five major stages or levels associated with work-related behaviors. The first work related behavior is joining the organization in which a new employee is getting associated with the group, its practices, and culture and finding their place in that group. The second is remaining with the organization in which the employee has found their place. The third work related behavior is maintaining work attendance this means not only showing to work at the right time but being there when needed. The fourth behavior is performing required tasks this means becoming proficient in the job and contributing more to the group or company. The final behavior is organizational citizenship in which the employee now contributes at a higher level and takes on task where needed and even outside of their duties. Understanding what behaviors are not being obtained can tell a manager if motivation is lacking in an individual and where a manager can work to motivate an employee. For instance if an employee has reached the third level maintaining work attendance but has not been consistently there when needed it is not time to enact a motivational plan that gives the individual more task. Giving this employee more tasks may actually have a negative effect increasing the attendance problem. Knowing that the employee is at this third level a manager can enact a motivation plan that encourages this employee to obtain better attendance and lead them into the next level of performing required tasks. Since individuals are motivated by different factors such as needs and what stage the employee is at it is important for managers to identify the individuals in his or her group before enacting and evaluating motivational theories to the group or individual. Motivation can play an important role in the success of any organization but the motivation of the group is comprised of many individuals motivated by many different factors. Because a manager can not activate policies for each individual the manager must decided knowing each individual where their group is and where motivation is needed.

While employees are motivated by differing factors that correspond where they are at personally as well as professionally those factors are broken down by motivational theories. Motivation theories are essential in creating incentives that will help employees at all levels be more motivated. It is essential that managers know and understand motivation theory before creating motivational incentives. In Maslow’s needs theory hierarchy these individual factors are grouped into five main categories. The bottom levels are physiological needs in which basic needs are motivational factors such as food clothing. The second level is the need for safety this includes a work environment free from hazards etc. The third level is belongingness and this is the personal need to feel a part of the group. The next level is esteem in which the individual is concerned about getting recognition and being appreciated for their contributions to the group. The highest level of Maslow’s hierarchy is self-actualization in which the individual has found there meaning in life and fulfills their role to the fullest ability. While the individual can be at varying levels with each group of this hierarchy they are motivated by factors that fulfill that category. Perhaps and individual feels they are a fully accepted member of the group or company. This individual may be showing signs of low motivation. The incorrect action would be to tell that individual that new security cameras where being installed to protect them. The correct action would be to assign them a task in which they would be recognized and rewarded for their efforts. Because motivation plays such a major role in every organization the need to group individual behavior and needs are needed. Maslow’s hierarchy provides managers guidelines to take the individual needs of their employees and create plans to increase motivation by identifying types of plans that would be effective for the individuals.

Behavior is a byproduct of motivation or the lack of motivation. When motivation is high in an employee behavior usually falls in line with the group’s culture. When a negative behavior is displayed by a motivated employee little action is needed. On the other hand when employee motivation is low negative behaviors are bond to appear. A manager must now apply what they have learned about the individuals and use motivation theory to enact the proper action that will motivate the employee who is not being motivated. The contingencies of reinforcements give managers guidelines to choose the right action to motivate and change behavior. There are two main reinforcements that motivate employees to change their behavior, positive and negative reinforcements. An employee can be enticed to correct a negative behavior by giving an incentive that rewards their good behavior. For example if an employee is consistently late a reward can be given at the end of the month for the employee who works the most hours. If a negative reinforcement is used punishment is used to correct the behavior. For example the employee can be warned that their continued course of action will results in disciplinary action. The key for any behavior modification is to understand the individual and their needs. If a person is being motivated by esteem than a plan that reinforces their contribution and how that will be acknowledged is a much more effective reward than a lunch certificate. Managers have a difficult job in ensuring that there employees have high motivation but because of the effects that motivation has on a group or company is so important this is a task that deserves all the time and attention that can be allotted to this task. To change a behavior an employee must be motivated to do so. By finding out the individuals needs and apply positive and negative reinforcements to the group motivation can and will increase and the success of that task will have long lasting effects on the success of the group.

Motivation is a complicated subject to understand because we as people are so individual. That is why when a manager approached the issue of motivating their employee’s they must take into account the individual. It is important to understand where the individual is in their personal development and career. Finding out what behaviors the individual exhibits can help the manager understand is motivation is an issue that needs immediate attention. Once a need has been discovered by a manager then an evaluation must be made using motivation theory to discover what it is that motivates his or her employees. After the manager knows what motivates the group and individuals in that group a plan can be put together that utilizes both positive and negative reinforcements to effectively motivate the individuals in that group. Higher levels of motivation within an organization can create an environment that makes it a fun place to work where individuals feel obtain what they need by behaving in ways that benefit the group. On the other hand if motivation is an issue that is neglected because of its complexity or any other reason the results can be devastating on the long term health of that group. Managers act as the doctors diagnosing the problem and creating effective treatment. If the treatment is carefully prescribed a weak company can become strong and vibrant once again. No other issue has as far reaching effects in so many areas as motivation does in the workplace and careful attention must be made to ensure that those effects are positive and enable further growth.

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Source by Travis Eck

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